Sour Lemon Pickle

Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Makes 1 1/2 quarts
Sour Lemon Pickle
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.


Cut the lemons in half lengthwise and then cut each half lengthwise into 6 to 8 wedges. Save any juices you get from cutting the lemons; set aside. Lay the wedges out on 2 paper towel-lined trays and place in the oven 1 hour.


Grind the peppercorns, cumin, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in a spice grinder to a powder. Transfer to a large bowl and add the cayenne, mace, nutmeg, carom seeds, red pepper flakes, asafetida, ginger and salt. Add the reserved lemon juice and mix well. Add the lemon wedges and mix, pressing the spice mixture onto the flesh of the lemons.


Pack the lemons into 1 clean (1-quart) jar and 1 clean (1-pint) jar. Cap the jars and set in a sunny window for 5 weeks, turning the jars up and down several times, 3 to 4 times a day. Let the pickles age at least another month before eating. Refrigerate after opening.

Indians traditionally eat this pickle with lentils and rice, and a small piece is often given to soothe an ailing stomach. Carom seeds, which may be labeled as ajowain, are found in Indian stores, as is asafetida.

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