Page to Plate 9# Pickled Limes

Welcome back for another page to plate (yes, I do still do these apparently) and I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas. Mine was very chilled, but I was vaguely disappointed in the Christmas telly this year. The only thing to really get excited about was a new adaptation of Little Women, with a screenplay by Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife, Ballet Shoes, I Capture the Castle) for the BBC. Having just watched the last episode, I've got...mixed feelings. But that's for another post. This one's for anyone who ever wondered what the deal with pickled limes was. You know, like the ones Amy gets in trouble over at school:

"Why, you see, the girls are always buying them, and unless you want to be thought mean, you must do it too. It's nothing but limes now, for everyone is sucking them in their desks in school time, and trading them off for pencils, bead rings, paper dolls, or something else, at recess. If one girl likes another, she gives her a lime. If she's mad with her, she eats one before her face, and doesn't offer even a suck. They treat by turns, and I've had ever so many but haven't returned them, and I ought for they are debts of honor, you know."

Little Women is set during the American Civil War, so the fads and treats of the time are unlikely to be that impressive by today's standards. The limes taste as odd as they sound, but (having already eaten all my Christmas chocolate...) I am sitting here sucking them. So they can't be as bad as the last batch I tried (courtesy of BBC good food) which made me want to be sick. Or throw them out of a window two at a time. I cut the below recipe for the limes out of the paper (can't remember which one) so whoever this belongs to, apologies for the plagiarism.


350ml white wine vinegar
150g caster sugar
1tsp salt
2 tsps peppercorns
10 bay leaves
5 sprigs thyme or rosemary
5-7 large limes

(This fills five 250ml jars - if you don't want that many just halve the amounts)

1. Pour the vinegar and sugar into a pan and boil until the sugar has all dissolved. Then mix in the salt and peppercorns. Stir for a bit then take off the heat and leave to cool.

2. Put a couple of sprigs of thyme/rosemary and two or three small bay leaves in each jar.

3. Slice the top and bottom off each lime and cut them into slices. Add them to the jars.

4. Pour the vinegar/sugar mixture into the jars leaving a small gap at the top.

5. Leave in the fridge for ten days, to pickle!

When they're all finished with you can put them in a brown paper parcel like Amy and keep them to suck, or you could save them to put in drinks or cakes or something? I've no idea what you do with them really, but they were easy to make. Best bet is probably giving them to your family, so you can laugh at the faces they make when they taste them.

Have you ever tried pickled limes? Any other ideas what to do with them once they're made? 


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