Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Fictional Food Adventure: Making Amy's Pickled Limes from Little Women

The general push behind most of these recipes is that when reading the story that contains it, you really want to eat what the characters are eating. Not so with pickled limes! When reading Little Women, I was instead thinking, "how on earth did Pickled Limes become such a popluar and sought after treat?" I couldn't get my head around why they would be enticing, but it is in another country and another era altogether, and who knows what thrilled the palates of young people in those days. 

Anyway, I am curious and eager to see what kind of a treat I will be reproducing here. Be assured,pickled limes is not the same thing as Lime Pickle, the spicy Indian Curry accompaniment. I think people might just take these from the jar, wash the salt off and eat them, or use them in cooking. Still not quite sure. I think it might go really well with grilled meat or fish. 

I do love limes, and they are so beautiful. As I was slicing them open, they released such a fresh and zingy aroma. I always think of my Dad when I see limes because he's always loved them so much. I usually throw a few into his basket of presents at Christmas, to brighten things up. At the very least, they are great for slicing and adding to cold drinks. 

I had washed the limes well, and then each one had to be sliced into quarters, but not all the way through, leaving the four parts still joined at the very bottom. 

Then, holding the lime over a bowl, to catch the juices, I poured a very generous amount of salt into the centre and held it tight, squidging it to help the the salt work in and dissolve.

I used fine salt but next time I think I would use coarse salt and use more of it. Then, each lime could be dropped straight into the jar.

When all the limes were packed in, I poured over the escaped juices from the bowl, and  sealed the jar. After 2 weeks it needs to be kept in the fridge. 

Then I did another version with some extra limes, doing it exactly the same way but with the addition of loads of freshly squeezed lemon juice, enough to cover the limes and fill the jar. I couldn't find the nice wooden juicer Andy had bought so I did it all by hand. The combination of citrus juice and salt certainly found all the tiny cracks in my skin!

This was from a recipe I found online, and wanted to try it alongside the other way and see what results I get. This recipe tells you to turn the jar upside down and back every day, or every other day, to keep in a cool place, and use after about 30 days. Intriguing. It all reminds me of a thing that Jamie Oliver did once with a massive jar and a lot of lemons and salt. It looked appealing then and it was fun to do something similar myself. 

Since the day I pickled the limes, I have been turning the jars every day and the limes have quickly turned from a verdant green to a dulled yellowy beige.  It will be interesting to see how much the limes soften or squidge down over time, and how much I will like them when they are ready!

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