Jean Paul Knight's Lemon Pickle

Back in the 90s when I worked part-time at Metropole in Auckland we used to make lemon pickle all the time. I have since lost the recipe but this adaptation of a recipe by Tom Jaine gets me close – and reminds me of the good old days!


2 unwaxed limes, juiced and zest cut into matchstick-thin slices
7 unwaxed lemons, juiced and zest cut into matchstick-thin slices
2 large onions, sliced
2 fresh long green chillies, halved, seeds removed and then sliced
50g peeled fresh root ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
25g salt
600ml white-wine vinegar
675g white sugar

Spice mixture:
1 tablespoon allspice berries
2 teaspoons cardamom pods (best if you can take sees from pods otherwise use 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
pinch of curry power




Put lemon and lime juice and zest into a bowl with onion, chilli, ginger, garlic, salt and vinegar. Put to one side

Make the spice mix by smashing them up in a pestle and mortar. Don’t pulverize them into a dust. A quick whizz in a grinder attachment on the food processor will work.

Throw spice mix into bowl with lemon, lime etc.

Stir well and then leave to sit with a covering of plastic film for most of the day – or even better, overnight.

Once the mix has some time on its own, pour it into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 1 to 2 hours or until lemon and lime zest has become tender – they should be nice and soft before the next step.

Add sugar and stir continuously until it has all dissolved.
Boil briskly over a medium heat for about 20 mins – stirring frequently.

Pour mix into 4 sterilized and pre-heated 250ml jars (straight out of the dishwasher still steaming is perfect). Label and date

You are supposed to wait for about a month before eating – but good luck with that one! I am normally in there within a day or so, unless I have some still on the shelf.

Serve: This legendary pickle generally goes well with a nice roast chicken, its great smeared on top of a whole fish whilst its baking in the oven. A good accompaniment to a vegetable tagine, I also like it as an extra savoury hit in a sandwich.