At first glance the production of jams and marmalade may seem like the best option for utilising
a glut of fruit. In fact, this is not the case. To make a consistently good quality product requires
a certain level of skill and technical input and some specialist equipment – stainless steel
boiling pans, refractometer, glass jars and lids for packaging. Preserve making also requires
large quantities of sugar and in some cases the addition of pectin, both of which can be
expensive ingredients. Therefore, as with all food products, it is essential that the processor
carries out a full technical, economic and marketing feasibility study prior to starting the
enterprise. Not only will this exercise determine the potential market for the products, it will be
a useful tool for planning production and day-to-day running of the business and can be used to
approach a bank for a loan if one is required. See the Practical action technical brief on how to
carry out a market and technical feasibility study for further information.
1 litre lime juice
20g sodium bicarbonate
1200g 5 SAG pectin (made up from 40g pectin, 200g sugar, 960ml water)
Few drops of green food colour (optional)
200g prepared sugared lime peel
The extraction of lime juice is the most time
consuming step for the small-scale manufacturer.
It is strongly recommended that if a local
commercial lime processor exists, racked juice
should be purchased in bulk.
If no such supplier exists then there is no
alternative but to extract the juice oneself using
small manual or electric squeezers (see Figure 1).
It must be remembered at all times that lime juice
is very acidic and therefore attacks metals. It is
essential to use only good quality food-grade
plastic, stainless steel and wooden utensils to
collect the juice. The extracted juice must be
strained to remove pulp prior to use. If required,
lime juice can be extracted and stored in bulk
preserved with 1000ppm sulphur dioxide (using
3g of sodium metabisulphite per litre of juice).
Figure 1: Small manual squeezer
The lime peel needs to be cut into very thin strips about 12 to 25mm long and as thin as
possible. This is another slow and tedious job which can also be a potential hazard point for
contamination by flies and other insects. The cut slices should be kept covered until they are
used. A very sharp stainless steel knife should be used to cut the peel into slices. The process
can be speeded up by using a small peeler to remove the peel from the limes (see Figure 2)
before they are squeezed.