Lime pickles are produced in Asia, Latin America and Africa. They are particularly popular in India, Pakistan and North Africa.
It is made from salted pieces of lime packed in a salty, spicy liquor, like a semi-solid gravy. It is brownish red and the lime peels are yellow or pale green with a sour and salty taste. It is eaten as a condiment with curries or other main meals. If processed well, the product can be kept for several months.
Preparation of raw materials
The limes need to be selected and prepared. Only fully ripe limes without bruising or damage should be used. All the limes need to be washed in potable cold water and drained. The limes are dipped in hot water (60-65°C) for about five minutes. They are then cut into pieces in order to expose the interior and allow salt to be absorbed more quickly.
All spices should be of good quality and free of mold.
The prepared limes are covered with a brine solution. This causes water to be drawn out of the pieces by osmosis. It is important to ensure that the surface is covered with juice, and leave for 24 hours. If necessary, the fruits should be pressed down to hold them below the liquid. Once the limes have been placed in the brine, there is a rapid development of micro-organisms and fermentation begins.
After fermentation the limes are dried in the sun until the skin becomes brown.
Packaging and storage
The limes are mixed with spices and oils according to local taste and tradition. Lime pickle can be packed in small polythene bags and sealed or in clean jars and capped. Lime pickle keeps well if stored in a cool place. Due to the high acid level of the final product, the risk of food poisoning is low.
Mr. Mike Battcock and Dr. Sue Azam-Alifao – fao