This easy and oil-free lemon pickle recipe is a bright, tangy condiment for enjoying with your favorite Indian meals. Homemade spiced lemon pickle (or lime pickle) is made with 4 simple ingredients, and is naturally low-fat, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.
Firstly rinse the lemons very well in water. Then place them in a clean plate or kitchen towel and let them dry naturally at room temperature.
You can even wipe dry them very well with a clean kitchen cotton towel or napkin.
Before beginning with the recipe making, do make sure that your hands, chopping board, knife, kitchen towels, bowls, spoons and jar are clean and moisture free.
Later take each lemon and cut four sides but keeping the lemon intact and whole. Do not cut through completely. Cut all lemons this way.
Squeeze a bit of juice - about ¼ to ½ teaspoons from each lemon piece into a bowl. But do not squeeze the lemons too much - you want them to keep their shape and fullness.
Set the bowl of lemon juice aside to use later. Adding some lemon juice helps to preserve the pickle.
If the seeds drop when you squeeze the juice, then remove them with a small spoon and discard. If the seeds remain in the lemon, then simply let them be. No need to remove them.
Making spice mix
In another plate or bowl, take 1 tablespoon carom seeds (ajwain), ½ tablespoon red chili powder and 1 tablespoon salt.
Mix very well and set aside.
Stuffing the mixed spices
Now with your fingers or a small spoon stuff this spice mix in each lemon. Set aside.
Place the lemons in a clean glass jar. You can sun dry the empty jar for 1 to 2 hours if you want.
Now remove the seeds and pour the lemon juice which was in the bowl in the jar.
Add leftover spice mix if any on the stuffed lemons in the jar.
Sprinkle some salt (about ½ to 1 teaspoon) all over the lemons. This is essential so that the lemons don't spoil during the pickling process.
Cover with a lid and keep the jar in sunlight for 4 days. Every day shake the jar.
The tangy lime pickle will be ready after 4 to 5 days and then you can serve it with your meals.
Store the lemon pickle in an air-tight jar in your refrigerator. Do not keep it at room temperature. When you want to serve, remove it with a clean dry spoon. Close the lid of the jar and keep it back in the refrigerator. This lemon pickle keeps well for a month when refrigerated.
Cutting lemons: Don't cut the lemons entirely. Make incision or cut on four sides.
Clean and dry utensils: When making the pickle, ensure there is no moisture on the knife, chopping board, bowl, spoons, and jar. They should be completely dry. Even the lemons should be dry and without any moisture. If you have removed the lemons from the fridge, then let them come to room temperature and gently wipe away any fine moisture droplets from them. You can even sun dry the jar before you place the lemon pickle in it.
Sun-drying: Keep the lemon pickle jar in sunlight for 4 to 5 days or until the lemon pieces have softened and the pickle has matured. Everyday, gently shake the jar.
Scaling: You can make a big batch of this lemon pickle and refrigerate it.
Lemons: Use fresh, ripe, thin-skinned, and juicy lemons. Lemons with thick skin or peels can make the pickle bitter and will take more time to soften.
Lime: You can even make the pickle with limes. If the limes do not soften, let the pickle mature in the sunlight for a couple of days more. If using limes, then go by the weight measurement of 250 grams.
Note that the approximate nutrition info is for the entire jar of lemon pickle.