Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pickled Limes

I found this book at our library. It's a revised edition of an older book. It's got it all. Pickle recipes using vinegar and brine. And we're not just talking cucumbers either.

I've never read the book"Little Women," but evidently one of the younger sisters begs her older sisters for some money to buy pickled limes. Here's what author, Linda Ziedrich, says about the limes:
In the West Indies, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ripe limes were packed whole in sea water or fresh-made brine and shipped to northeastern U.S. ports in barrels. In 1838, according to the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain, there was "a fair demand in the New York market for pickled limes," but by the late nineteenth century pickled limes were invariably sent to Boston. There they were sold from glass jars on top of candy-store counters, and some families even bought them by the barrel. Because the import tariff for pickled limes was quite low - importers fought to keep them classed as neither fresh fruit nor pickle - children could buy them cheaply, often for a penny apiece. Kids chewed, sucked, and traded pickled limes at school (and not just a recess) for decades, making the limes the perennial bane of New England schoolteachers. Doctors tended to disapprove of the limes, too; in 1869 a Boston physician wrote that pickled limes were among the "unnatural and abominable" substances consumed by children with nutritional deficiencies. Parents, however, seemed generally content for children to indulge themselves in the pickled-lime habit. (p.77)

So to make them, the recipe says to take some Mexican, Key, or West Indian limes, as fresh and ripe as possible. Simply brine them in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of pickling salt per cup of water. Put them in a jar, cover them with the brine, and let them sit for 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Remember, these aren't the big lemon sized limes, these are small key-west limes, about the size of a golf ball or a little bigger. I bought a bag of them at the store. They weren't fresh, nor totally ripe, but they'll have to do. We'll see how they are in a few weeks.


linda said...

I look forward to hearing about how these limes came out. I also would have to buy them at the store. I found your blog via homesteaders on ravelry. Nice work here.

Brigid said...

I love key limes. I am going to have to try that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So, how did the pickled limes turn out?

Charlie Sommers said...

It's been two years since the original post. How were the limes?