Now, antiques are a whole different story. I've learned the hard way (on a handful of occasions) that when it comes to antiques (or any other vintage or one-of-a-kind cool thing), the rule is: "Buy it now—it sure won't be there later" (and by the way, where did all my money go?)
Being broke really cures you of impulse shopping (or antique shopping, or frankly most other kinds of shopping as well). The value of a dollar becomes so crystal clear, it pings. While this kind of clarity is a good thing, I do tend to get kind of obsessive over using up every last scrap of food we buy. To throw food away is like tossing cash straight into the garbage can. Oh sure, it can be put into the compost bin so it's not totally wasted... but that's some mighty pricey compost. You might even call it rich.
So here it is... my confession... I made an impulse purchase. I couldn't help myself. It was such a good deal, and it sparkled and it winked at me. So without thinking it through, I bought it. I bought a 5-pound bag of limes. My justification was that as a seasonal produce item, it fell under the Antique Rule: it may not be around next time (if it is, the price will certainly be a lot higher). Besides, think of the wonderful things I could make with them!
Most of my cookbooks didn't even have the word Lime in their index. The ones that did had very few recipes listed and most of those only used one lime. I had 5-pounds to go through. I knew I wouldn't get half way through that bag onesy-twosy. Then I remembered something I had bookmarked over a year ago... Tangerine Salt and Tangerine Dust. Oven-dried tangerine slices are pulverized and used as is or mixed with sea salt. My brain told me limes would be great in place of the tangerines: It would be the perfect finishing touch over seafood or even summer melons, and who knows what else...
Tangerine Salt/Tangerine Dust from The Breakaway Cook
Notes: I have no idea how many limes I ended up using for this, maybe 8-10, I just kept slicing until I'd filled two half-sheet pans (lined with Silpats). It took between 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours to dry them. I checked them often and rotated the pans a couple times. After the first hour and a half, I flipped the slices over. They're not hot (but the pan is) so I just used my fingers to flip them over. As they dried, I took them off the pan and put them on racks to cool. Once cool... into a jar with a lid. Pulverize on demand.
It was an easy jump from Lime Salt to Lime Sugar. The oven-dried limes have a dark depth to them which appeals to the grown-up side of my palate, and should contrast with the sweetness of the sugar in a really interesting way. I've still got a whole lot of limes left... so stay tuned!
* Do your eyes light up when you see sale signs? Check out this excellent article from The Simple Dollar.