Remember that song by Harry Nilsson from the ’70s? I think of it every time I make something with limes. It’s rediculous! Anyway I’m not going to talk about coconuts but I am going to talk about limes. I got two bags of limes from my friend Lay the other week and have been working hard to make some astonishing concoctions.
We’re so lucky in Australia to be able to grow a huge range of exotic fruits and at this time of year, we’re just coming to the end of lime season. Limes are an exquisite fruit and the influence of Asian and pacific cuisine makes them a very handy plant to grow in the Australian backyard food forest.
We have quite a few limes growing in our garden: Tahitian limes, Kaffir limes with their double lobed leaves for Thai cooking, Australian native finger limes and dwarf limes. They all have different purposes and once the fruiting ones mature, they’ll provide a good supply of fruit at different times of the year.
Recently I made some beautiful finger lime jam using fruit collected from our local eco garden. It’s a strange looking fruit and as the name suggests, the fruits are finger shaped and contain tiny ball like segments that have a burst of delicious tangy flavour. My jam only needed 120g of finger limes to make up 6 small jars and the first one I opened was a cracker.
At the moment the Tahitian limes are in season which makes them more affordable than the crazy off season prices and as I’ve been given about 60 limes or so, its a good time to juice some of them for storage for the winter and spring months ahead. After wondering whether I’d ever use it, I decided to keep Mum’s old juicer and I’m sort of glad I did. It made short work of juicing a dozen or so limes and will be great for jam making too.
I’ve tossed some whole limes straight into the freezer to see how well they freeze. It’d certainly be handy to have a few on hand out of season and particularly to have access to some peel.
It’s been a week of searching for those elusive lime recipes and so far I’ve narrowed it down to Edith Afif’s Lime Pickles, a traditional Indian lime pickle, a small batch of lemon and lime marmalade, various treats a Lime Tart, a Cardamom and Lime cake and an all purpose citrus garbage enzyme cleaner.
At our place, we like to cook and eat lots of exotic food and Indian curries are no exception. I was immediately attracted to the traditional Indian lime pickle and started the marinating process a week ago. The limes are finely sliced then mixed with a little salt , tumeric and vinegar and stored in a jar and stirred every day for a month. They’re then cooked with a range of other amazing exotic spices and then bottled for use with curries. I can hardly wait!
Edith Afif’s Lime Pickles (published by Nigella Lawson) are quite different to this and while they’re marinated overnight in a scary amount of salt, they’re rinsed the next day then tossed with a few spices, covered in olive oil and left to marinate for about a month. These are to be eaten with a good cheese and are apparently mouth watering. I’ll be sure to let you know.
I figured one can never have enough jam, even if stored for Christmas gifts, and I like the idea of lemon and lime marmalade. In the final stages, I’ll throw in a bit of chunky organic ginger a friend of mine gave me from her organic farmer friend in Coffs Harbour.
As you know I’m into making my own cleaning products and received a sample batch of home made garbage enzyme cleaner from my Permiculture friend Lay. I’ve since learnt that this can also be made with citrus peel, added to brown sugar and water and fermented for around 6 months and it took me less than 5 minutes to throw a batch together. The garbage enzyme cleaner is impressive and the fact that I’ve found another use for my limes or citrus peel is a bonus.
We’ll be enjoying National Permaculture Day this Sunday and should have a special treat or too to celebrate so I’ll be doing a bit of baking this weekend starting with Christine’s Zingy Lime Tart. So many wonderful things to do with limes and thank you to my Permaculture friend Lay for her generosity.
My next post will look at the Permaculturist and her garden that inspired us to get our own garden going just 12 months ago. We’re heading off right now for a visit and a lesson in espalier so stay tuned for a great tour.