This Perpetual Pickle recipe is a great way to use up leftover lemons. 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 rarely use refined sugar – but for this pickle, I do use organic cane 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.
Carom seeds have a pungent taste… I described them in my gluten-free Indian Biscuit (mathi) blog post as “like thyme… on speed” – like 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 think it’s good stuff.
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.
- 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.
limes work too!
If you don't like the taste of carom seeds, you can make this with just salt/sugar.
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.