Lemon Pickle

Lemon pickle or Nimakkaya oorukaai is a pickle made from lemons, in particular lemon peels.

Lemon peel gives our body a nutritional boost and they also have some healthy enzymes, which help us to live a healthier life. So, by throwing away the lemon peel, we are doing a great disservice to our body. 

In our household, my grandma has a very big glass jar, in which she stores the lemon peels as when lemons are squeezed for its juice, not a single lemon peel would end up in the dustbin. There is no hard and fast rule as in how much salt she adds or how many peels she puts in the jar. On the go, the peels were added and removed for making pickle. Lemon pickle is always available at home and she also shares the marinated peels with her cousins. Her hobby is stirring the jar with new peels, I would say☺ !

Lemon peels have the following benefits:

  • Lemon peel packs a high amount of fiber and vitamin C, providing 9% of the DV in only 1 tablespoon (6 grams) 
  • Lemon peel has antibacterial properties that may block the growth of microorganisms responsible for oral diseases.
  • Lemon peel offers several antioxidants, including D-limonene and vitamin C, that protect your immune system and reduce your risk of disease.
  • Lemon peel may offer antimicrobial and antifungal effects — even against antibiotic-resistant strains. However, more research is needed.
  • Lemon peel contains flavonoids and vitamin C, which may stimulate your body’s immune system to protect your health.
  • Flavonoids, vitamin C, and pectin in lemon peel may promote heart health by lowering blood cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease.
  • Some compounds in lemon peel may have anticancer potential. However, human studies are necessary to confirm these findings.
  • Although more studies are needed, the D-limonene in lemon peel may dissolve gallstones.

How to add it to your diet

You can boost your Vitamin C in a variety of ways, such as:

  • adding lemon zest to baked goods, salads, or yogurt
  • grating the peel and sprinkling it on soups, drinks, dressings, and marinades
  • dehydrating the peels by cutting them into strips and baking at 200°F (93°C), then adding them to tea
  • chopping dehydrated peels and mixing them with salt and pepper for a homemade seasoning
  • adding fresh peel to hot tea

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lemon-peel

This recipe is a tried and tested for making it in small batches. This is really a long process but worth the effect as it needs very less oil. I like to keep the salt to minimum and if I ever have a doubt, if the peels are getting spoilt then I prefer to add a little amount of salt in between the process of marinating. Mixing the ingredients every single day is very very important in the pickle making.

Though you can also use lemons with pulp and juice, it’s not necessary. You can also mix it in such a way the peels and one whole fruit chopped for marinating. Since we use only rock salt this pickle is totally free of any artificial preservatives. 

Just include one piece a day in your diet to boost your immunity and to help reach the daily dose of Vitamin C. The marinated pieces taste equally good as the pickle ☺!


Lemons: 6 very big in size

Rock Salt: 1-2 tbsp or as required

Chilli powder: 1 tsp or as required

Boiling water: ½- ¾  cup 

To Roast and Powder:

Fenugreek seeds: 2 tsp

Jeera Seeds: 2 tsp

Hing: 4 big pieces

We need just 1 tsp of this powder.

For Seasoning:

Gingelly Oil: 1 tbsp

Mustard: ½ tsp

Marinating process:

Squeeze the juice out of the lemons. We need just the peels.

You can also use the fruit as such, if so the marinating process will be really quick.

Chop the lemon peels into four small pieces. Divide the pieces into three parts.

Take a big clean dry glass jar and add a tsp of rock salt and one part of the chopped lemon peel.

Then add another tsp of rock salt and add another part of the chopped lemon peel.

Now add final tsp of rock salt and add the rest of the chopped lemon peel.

Close the lid and shake the jar such that the salt and lemon are coated well.

We need to mix the content of  the jar every now and then at least for a month or until the lemons change colour and become soft. (I prefer to shake them closed as its easy)


Dry roast fenugreek seeds, jeera seeds and a generous amount of hing. 

In a mixie grind them to a fine powder. Transfer into an air tight container.


Once the lemon is marinated transfer this to a bowl.

Add chilli powder, one tsp of the ground powder.

In a tadka pan, add 1 tbsp of gingelly oil and add mustard and let it splutter and pour this on top.

Bring water to boil in a sauce pan. Take ½ cup of the boiling water and add this to the bowl.

Mix well and once cooled transfer this to a clean dry glass or ceramic container.

Quick Peek:

Your tasty lemon pickle is ready!

Tates great with curd rice, Kudumu podi, all kinds of Rotta!


  • I recommend using un-waxed lemon’s peel to be used.
  • You can use lemon slices instead of lemon peels or a mix of both.
  • If required add more salt.
  • Increase the spice level according to your taste. I prefer it to be less spicy.
  • Refrigerate for more shelf life. 


  • You can increase the boiling water and make a diluted pickle. This tastes awesome. Making this as a thick pickle by adding less water is equally tasty. 
  • The roasted powder is optional but it gives a nice flavour. It you are omitting then add powdered hing while doing the tadka and pour on top.
  • You can also add ground green chilli paste instead of chilli powder and this gives a new different flavour to the pickle.

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