So my first attempt at limbu achaar hasn’t gone well. I followed my mother-in-law’s directions to the letter, left the jar on the counter with the requisite amount of salt for more than four days and still, the lemon is hard. There is no gloopy chutney in the bottle, just salt and lemon in the same state it was in a week ago.
It was my father-in-law who figured out why the recipe wasn’t working for me. He was shivering in the kitchen of our circa 1880 house (ie, no insulation) in the middle of December and said: “You must leave it in the sun.”
Apparently, chutney-making works best in a warm climate where bacteria can thrive. The kitchen counter of my Canadian home is probably about the same temperature (if not colder) as a larder where most people kept their foods cool until the advent of the refrigerator. When you adapt a recipe from a distant land, you must consider all factors, I’ve now learned.
I’ve since moved the jar to a sunny window sill. If the sun ever shines, then I’ll have my chutney, I hope.