Salt and oil play very important role in pickle making
Different oils and spices render different characteristics to the pickles
The fresher the vegetables, the crunchier the pickles will be
Pickle making is an ancient tradition in India which has been loved and followed by or mothers and grandmothers. The Western world regards it as the art of preservation or fermentation but for us it is a creation of a unique accompaniment that goes with every meal. We all have grown up eating delicious, crunchy and tangy pickles made by our grandmothers and mothers. No meal is complete without them. Spicy green chilli pickles, mango pickles tossed with fenugreek and cardamom, bright yellow cauliflower pickles – you name it! In most Indian households, it is a common sight to find big glass jars filled with freshly made pickles sitting on a sunny window sill. It is a method of developing the flavours and letting them mature.
Over the years, however, the art of pickle making at home is slowly fading with mass produced variants readily available in the stores these days. But, they miserably fail to match up to the rustic flavours characteristic of the home-made pickles.
The process of pickle making may seem tedious as it is time consuming, but it is ridiculously simple. Yes, you do need patience to go through the process of sun-drying the ingredients, soaking them in oil and spices, and finally let them age in the sun for a few days to develop the flavours. But like they say all good things come to those who wait, the result is extremely rewarding.
Salt and oil play very important role in pickle making. Salt adds to the flavour, draws moisture and inhibits bacterial growth. Oil on the other hand acts as a barrier to prevent the ingredients from becoming dry and keeps them moist. Different oils and spices render different characteristics to the pickles. Hence, a mango pickle made in north India which mainly uses mustard oil is very different from that made in the south, where sesame oil is most preferred in the pickle making process.
Before soaking in the bigger picture, here are some quick tips:
1. Use a sterilised jar for pickling and use only fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits. The fresher the vegetables, the crunchier the pickles will be. 2. Don’t skimp on the salt. You need the salt to draw the water out of the vegetables and to preserve the pickle for a longer span of time. 3. Try using flavoured vinegar which can add new twists to your favourite pickle recipes. 4. Always wipe the rim of the jar clean before putting the lid on.