What’s So Special About Limepickle?
Talking to a friend of mine over an Indian meal in a Restaurant about limepickle or the lack of it among the condiments available to eat with poppadoms! I don’t remember having been to an Indian restaurant where limepickle was not on offer!
Brian, who is seriously into Indian food, wasn’t too concerned about the lack of limepickle because he doesn’t like it! He does however know that limepickle it is a passion of mine and politely asked me what was so special about it. Well there was an opening I couldn’t refuse!
Different Limepickle Recipes, Flavours And Textures
At one time, most Indian families made their own limepickle, amongst other pickles, to recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation.
Each generation adding or refining the original recipe a little. Enough to produce a unique version of limepickle but keeping the characteristics of the original.
The traditional limepickle recipe on this site is one example!
Dry Salt Is Used To Start Most Traditionally Made Limepickle.
Most limepickle recipes start by cutting up the limes and then adding seemingly fairy large quantities of salt to them to start the fermentation process.
This is known as the dry salting method and is common way of pickling all manner of foods stuffs, particularly fruit and vegetables.
It works by the salt extracting the juices out of the lime to produce brine that starts fermentation process. A by product of the fermentation process is lactic acid and consequently lactic acid bacteria also grow. Both aid the preservation process and souring in the case of limepickle.
In some recipes, vinegar is added at this early stage along with spices. Typically turmeric amongst others.
Adding Spices And Oils To Flavour And Finish The Limepickle
Whatever limepickle recipe you start with as a base, you can always add additional spices to the lime pickle. You can also use different oils. You just need to be careful that any oils such as mustard oil are food grade and not for external use only!
Look at the ingredients in the traditional lime pickle recipe on this site and vary them. Some suggestions are made.
One suggestion I would make is to consider splitting the pickle after the main fermentation has finished into several smaller jars and vary the spices added in the finishing stage. Experiment until you find the ideal taste for you.
One note of caution when experimenting. Mustard in ground form, split seed or whole seed is an antimicrobial agent. Be wary of reducing the quantity of mustard significantly.
Changing The Lime pickle’s Texture
The smaller the pieces of lime you start the pickle off with, the smoother and finer the texture of the limepickle will be.
This because the smaller pieces allow the fermentation process to soften and to some extent dissolve the peel better.
If your recipe uses either whole or split mustard seeds, consider grinding half of the quantity. You will find that the texture is much smoother though the pickle’s taste a little hotter. This can be counterbalanced by reducing the initial amount of chilli and then increasing it to your taste.
Different Limepickle Recipes
The differences between the numerous cuisines of India are significant and reflect the diverse cultures of the various regions. Each has its own specific gastronomic specialities
The influences on the differences cuisines can be prompted by various factors such as geographical location, local culture and what the local produce may be.
Consequently recipes and the end product vary significantly
Lime and other pickle recipes are numerous and very different depending on where they came from. I must have several hundred in my collection. Some I’ve collected on my travels, others have been given to me and so on!
The magic of limepickle is that it is never the same and home produced is definitely the best! It’s not hard to make a good pickle. It just takes a bit of patience.
Other posts about limepickle on this site