Just like our neighbors and their neighbors in the place where I grew up in Kerala, we had and still have a good number of mango trees growing in the yard of my home there. That meant one formidable sight come April every year, rows of sparkly clean -labels removed -Horlicks bottles glistening in pure sunshine neatly arranged on the rim of our well to dry. My mother then made mango pickles using an assortment of methods, one better than other, which were filled in these bottles and either aged or given out. Yet, I never knew that lemon pickles can be made this way till I read this post four years ago. All I wanted to add to it was to speed up the cooking a process a bit. Slicing lemons pretty thin and adding more lemon juice considerably helped with that.
Most of the lemon pickles I am familiar with are either aged for many months, or the lemons are pre-cooked to get past the waiting. Now when the sun shines, I buy lemons and work hard for about 20 minutes and then let sun almighty do his little trick for a week. On day 6 your pickle is ready.
For making this pickle you need day time temperatures above 80oF for 5 days, so check your local weather predictions before you begin.
Lemon – 10 nos
Ginger julienned – 1 cup
Garlic, each clove cut into two – 1 cup
Mustard seeds – 1 ½ tbsp
Curry leaves – 20 nos
Green chilies (jalapeno or your choice) – 5 nos or to your taste
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric (optional) – ½ tsp
Lemon juice – from 5 lemons
Oil (olive or Mustard) – 1 tbsp
Cut lemon into two halves. Thinly slice each half into 8 slices. Cut jalapeno peppers into thin rounds. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds allow it to splutter, turn the heat to low, add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, turmeric and green chilies. Mix well till the ginger pieces are tender. Add ½ tsp salt, turn off the heat. In a wide mouthed glass jar with a lid mix lemon with the mustard seasoning you just prepared. Add 1 1/2 tsp salt, pour in the lemon juice, and mix well with a spoon. Close the lid and keep the jar outside where you get sun for at least 6-8 hours. In the evening bring the jar in, give it a good shake, and repeat this for 4 more days. By the end of day 5 you will see that the lemon pieces are very tender, it is then ready to use. Keep refrigerated.