Recipe: This fermented lime pickle is your new secret weapon

A little bit of effort and a few weeks of patience will reward you with a secret weapon that’ll jazz up all manner of dishes.  

This pickle packs a serious flavour punch and if you’re anything like me, it will fast become a staple on your pantry shelves. It has a wonderful lime scent, is both sweet and sour and has a depth of flavour from the addition of the spices and the brown sugar. Curries will never be the same again! I’m lucky that my mum has a rather large lime tree in her garden as making this pickle is something I look forward to with much anticipation every winter.

FERMENTED LIME PICKLE

Makes about 4 litres

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  • 2kg limes, cut into eighths
  • 10 tablespoons sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 180ml apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 400g brown sugar
  • 600ml boiling water

Before you start this recipe, make sure your chopping board, knife, bowl, utensils and jars are well cleaned. Put the limes into a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt and turmeric along with 90ml of the vinegar. Mix well to coat the limes then divide between two large jars (mine were 4 litres each), cover with muslin or a clean tea towel and leave in a cool dark place to ferment. This will take about three weeks.

Every two days, use a large metal spoon to mix the limes (I pour boiling water over my spoon before I mix the limes to avoid contamination) and check progress. They mixture is ready when the skins are soft and brown.

Once the limes have fermented, grind the remaining spices, either in a spice grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and once hot, carefully add the spices, followed by the garlic.

Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water then carefully pour into the spice mixture. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before dividing between the two jars of fermented limes. Leave for a further week before packing into sterilised jars.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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