Make your own lime pickle
Lime pickle is a great accompaniment for curry that can also add a tangy twist to a sandwich, a burger or a bit of cheese. You can buy it ready made which can be ok(ish), but no substitute for your own.
Making lime pickle is a slow easy process spread out over several months. Thats because like a good malt whisky, it needs time to mature; time for all the flavours blend and soften.
I am just about to start making some lime pickle. Why not join me. We can go through the whole process together and I will tell you exactly what to do at each stage.
There are three stages to making lime pickle:
Fermentation: You put the ingredients in a jar and leave them to stand for a few weeks.
Tempering: You boil the fermented ingredients in oil with some flavourings.
Ageing: You put the pickle in jars and leave it to stand for a few months.
You will need a big jar. I use a 3 litre Kilmer jar which usually stores rice. It does not need to be a special fermentation jar with an air lock. It it will need to have a wide neck. The pieces of lime are quite chunky. You could use food grade plastic bucket or box (the turmeric will stain it) or pottery, but avoid metal as it will react with the salt and acid.
Clean the jar or container with boiling water or by putting it through a dishwasher cycle.
No matter how much pickle you decide to make, there is one golden rule. Use four percent salt. Which means, for every 100g of ingredients add 4g of salt.. So if your ingredients weigh in at 1 kilo, add 40g of salt. Salt is a vital part of the fermentation process. So don’t cut it down. If you do your pickle will rot rather than ferment
The simplest way to add the right amount of salt is to gather all the ingredients together and weigh them. Divide the weight by 100 and multiply by 4. A bit more salt is fine. So 10 rather than 7.
How much you make is up to you. But bear in mind that everyone who tastes it will want “just a wee jar.” To make more just double, treble or quadruple the ingredients.
250g fresh limes. Try to get plump juicy ones. You can weigh them in the shop scales.
10g salt. Any salt is fine. No need for expensive stuff.
5g sugar. The bacteria will eat it.
10g / 1 tbs vinegar. I usually use Aspenals unfiltered cider vinegar because it contains bacteria you want. It’s also cheap.
1 tbs ground turmeric
1 tbs dried chilli flakes or fresh chillies . See optional extras below.
You can individualise your pickle by adding some additional ingredients. I find 10-20% other stuff gives a nice mix of flavours.
Fresh Chillies . Choose a mix of red and green to add some colour. Chillies have two parts. The seeds which just have heat and the flesh which has heat and flavour. I usually scrape out the seeds and their attaching membranes with a teaspoon. That lets me add more chilli flesh to get more chilli flavour.
Fresh ginger and fresh turmeric add crunch and interesting flavours. Peel and chop into bite size pieces. (Make tea with the peelings and a chunk of citrus)
Garlic a clove, a bulb, it’s up to you. Peel and add whole cloves or chopped.
Chop all the ingredients into bite size chunks. The limes work nicely cut into eight. While other ingredients can be in quite small pieces.
Put everything except the salt in a large container – a pot will do nicely.
Weigh it all allowing for the weight of the container.
Add 4% salt – for every 100g, add 4g salt
Give it a god mix and put it in your fermentation jar. Turmeric stains everything including your skin, so wear gloves if you can.
Put a lid on the jar. You can leave the lid loose. If you close the lid tightly, open it briefly every day to allow the gas to escape (known as burping it)
The jar will have some liquid from the limes. Don’t worry, that is all it needs. Turn the jar over every day or so to redistribute the liquid.
Put it on a shelf for a month or so. The colour and smell will slowly change as it ferments.
Next Month… Tempering and ageing.
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