It’s the pickle that never ends, it goes on and on my friends…
Yes, it’s true! This is a never ending perpetual pickle and it’s a great way to use up leftover lemons. Whenever you have an extra lemon, just add it to your lemon pickle jar and keep the pickles flowing!
what the heck is a “perpetual pickle”?!
Any time we host a party, we end up with a lot of leftover lemon wedges. Rather than throwing them away, I just add them to my little jar of lemons. Lemon pickle is also known as nimboo ka achar in Hindi and while there are many variations of this Indian pickle, my recipe is is made with just a few spices and is pickled in its own juice. This pickle gets tastier as it ages and is used as an ayurvedic treatment to aid digestion.
My great grandmother did this with her leftover lemons in India, and it’s a little secret that has been passed down from mom to daughter through the generations. My mom tells me stories about how my great grandmother would keep her lemon achar around for 10 years, if not longer. If someone in the family had a tummy ache, she’d give them a spoonful of this pickle to help them with digestion. After many years, this pickle will dry out and turn brittle – mom says she’d eat it like candy when this would happen.
This preserved lemon pickle tastes better the longer it ages – as it ferments naturally. In India, they usually use thin-skinned lemons for this pickle. You can use Meyer lemons or regular lemons – it’s hard to find organic Meyer lemons where I live so I usually just use whatever I can find. When you add your lemon, first squeeze the juice into the jar. Add the lemon wedges and coat well with salt and sugar. I also add carom seeds (aka ajwain aka bishop’s weed) to the jar – you don’t have to do this every time you add more lemon – just add a pinch whenever you think its necessary. These seeds will add a spicy flavor to this tangy pickle.
Nimboo ka Achaar – an Indian Pickle
Carom seeds have a pungent taste… I described them in my gluten-free Indian Biscuit (mathi) blog post as “like thyme… on speed.” Similar to thyme, ajwain contains the chemical, thymol, known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Research shows that ajwain/thymol can help control a variety of fungal infections and destroy disease causing organisms. I just like the way tastes in this pickle.
Eat this pickle as a condiment (ya know, don’t eat the whole jar lol). It should help with digestion, especially alongside a heavy meal. And if you don’t like lemons, use limes!
I can’t wait to hear what you think of…
this pickle that never ends,
it goes on and on my friends,
some people started making it not knowing how tasty it was,
and now they’ll just keep making it forever just because… 😉
- Cut lemons in half and squeeze out all the juice into an air-tight glass jar.
- Slice lemon and place those pieces into the jar.
- Add salt, sugar and carom seeds.
- Shake jar and store in pantry – stir every now and then.
- Continue to add lemon, lemon juice and spices as needed.
If you don’t like the taste of carom seeds, you can make this with just salt/sugar.
You can start eating this pickle after two weeks but it’ll taste better the longer it ages. Keep refilling whenever you have extra lemon and stir the jar every now and then. Make sure to always coat the lemons with juice, sugar and salt.
limes work too!
Make sure you eat this pickle as a condiment – in moderation. A small spoonful before or alongside a heavy meal will go a long way.
Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist or a doctor and so I can’t give you any expert health or medical advice. My “qualifications” end at being a foodie and everything on my blog is just my opinion. The information on my blog should not be construed as professional medical advice (obviously?). Talk to your doc, folks.