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Pickles: Taste Buds Tickling, Ancestral Pickling

Do you love to read about a thing you are admiring since childhood? Here it is. What could be a better companion than a side dish itself! Pickles are one of them for all the Indians.

RK

RK

The yearly rain of love at my home is Pickles. My mom prepares mango pickle every summer. The moment I realise that my vacation is about to get over, the day prior to that I find a big jar and then tell my mother to fill in the pickle. So, when I am in boarding school, the aromatic and flavourful pickle placed in my plate is mother’s love for me. The eyes get filled with tears and this is the inheritance we Indians receive along with the pickles. The preserved food in the form of pickle is the storage of love I used to keep with me at my hostel. That’s the best thing I could have asked her. Let me take you on this touchy journey with me where I want to dig out more about the pickles. Origin, History And Procedure: Pickling in India has a long history which started around 4000 years ago. The methods of pickling are considered to have originated from India. It is believed that cucumbers were the first food that was pickled and eaten at the Tigris valley in India. ‘Lingupurna’, a Kannada work of AD 1594 describes fifty different kinds of Pickles. The process of pickling was first started to preserve food materials for a longer time in sea voyages. Pickles are named in Bible and other historical texts. Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, attributed her beauty to the use of Pickles. In ancient times pickling was done by drying the food in the sun and then curing them by salt or immersing them in brine. In the 13th century, Pickles were eaten as the main dish at the famous feast of King John. Comprehended by various names over the country – Uppinakaayi in Kannada, Pachadi in Telugu, Uppillittuthu in Malayalam, Urukai in Tamil, Athanu in Gujarati, Loncha in Marathi and Āchār in Hindi – pickle production, as a tradition, goes back thousands of years. There are multiple theories and legends surrounded by Pickles. The term ‘pickle’ itself comes from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. But what about āchār; what’s the back story? Although the origin of it is ambiguous, the word āchār is generally considered to be of Persian origin. Āchār in Persian is defined as the salted meats or powdered Pickles or fruits preserved in salt, honey syrup or vinegar. Pickling: Pickling is the method of preserving or extending the lifespan of food by either immersion in vinegar or anaerobic fermentation in brine. The result is called a pickle, or, to prevent ambiguity, prefaced with pickled. The pickling process will typically affect the food's texture & flavour. In East Asia, vinaigrette (vinegar and vegetable oil) is used as a pickling medium. Foods like fruits, meats, eggs, and vegetables etc. get used to making pickle. Another distinctive characteristic is its rank in pH scale is 4.6 or lower, that is adequate to kill most bacterias. Pickling could preserve perishable foods for months. Antimicrobial herbs and spices, like garlic, mustard seed, cloves or cinnamon, are often added. If the food holds enough moisture, a pickling brine may be produced just by adding dry salt. For instance, German sauerkraut and Korean kimchi are produced by salting the veggies to draw out extra water. Natural fermentation at room temperature, by lactic acid bacteria, generates the required acidity. Other Pickles are prepared by placing veggies in vinegar. Like the canning process, pickling (that includes fermentation) does not need that the food is completely sterile before it is sealed. The salinity or acidity of the solution, the temperature of fermentation, and the exclusion of oxygen define which microorganisms dominate, and determine the flavour of the end result. Pickling Cautions: 1) Be courageous with the masalas you add to your pickling liquid: My favourite is something that has a strong flavour — very aromatic. A perfect ingredient for me is the long pepper. Ginger is also a good one along with other traditional ingredients such as fennel seed, coriander, cinnamon and black pepper. While pickling cucumber, you must know that the cucumber is going to pick up a lot of those flavours so, for instance, I wouldn’t use cinnamon. I would use more subtle stuff like black pepper and turmeric. 2) Using expensive vinegar: It’s good to play ft- right now my favourite is a citron vinegar. I wouldn’t have expensive vinegar alone as a pickling vinegar. I would use a cheaper one and add a touch of the other vinegar to it. 3) Watch out for bubbles: If there are bubbles in the case, that’s where pickling went wrong. Either air got to it, or bacteria are growing into it. 4) Don’t overheat the pickling liquid: This is seemingly the biggest mistake we make. It’s better to underheat the liquid than overheat it. Heat up your pickling liquid, pour it over the vegetable and then close it. Then it becomes a matter of how long it kept still and how hot the liquid is. Usually, I allow things to absorb in liquid overnight - less if the item your pickling is really smooth, like fruit and squash. 5) Use old fruit to prepare fruit-infused pickling vinegar: Sometimes we could take a bunch of bad peaches and chop them up and throw them in vinegar, like a white balsamic, heat it, and allow it to steep for one or two days. Then we’ll strain that, and we will have a peach-infused vinegar which we’ll use to pickle other peaches. Famous Pickles around the World: Chinese Pickles: In Asian countries like China, Pickles are very famous and have also been made for thousands of years. Chinese Pickles have vegetables such as cabbage, bitter melon, lettuce, carrot, shallot and cucumber. These and other vegetables are combined with sugar and salt and place in vinegar. Apart from veggies, eggs (particularly duck eggs) are stored by utilising salt, hay, earth, and other components and sealed to mature for like one month. Some pickling processes add soy sauce for fermentation instead of vinegar and in other types, condiments like ginger, chilli, garlic, peppercorns are also added for a hot and characteristic flavour. Korean Pickles: In Korea, kimchi is a common pickled item which is made with spicy fermented cabbage and it also covers a wide variety of vegetables with fish, soybean, oysters and many different ingredients. The Korean pickling process owes its origins to Chinese, but unlike the common Chinese cabbage Pickles, the Korean pickling method has its own variants as per the local flavour and available components. Korean pickling processes generally involve 2 types, one in which the ingredients along with spicy chilli pastes are fermented, and the other involves milder varieties pickled in water. Japanese Pickles: In the same manner, even the Japanese have their own variant of Pickles, that include ingredients such as gingko nut, ginger, carrot, radish, eggplant, plum, soybean and green apricot paste alongside parboiled vegetables. Nutritional Stats Of Pickles:

Nutritional Facts Per 143 Grams: Calories 17 Sodium 1251 mg Total Carbohydrate 4 g Protein 1 g Minerals and Vitamins: Vitamin A 5 % Calcium 0.06 Vitamin C 2 % Iron 3 % Health Benefits of Pickles: Our ancestors must have thought about the healthy part of it when they chose to preserve a specific food. Below are the immensely effective benefits of Pickles that we get regarding health. Mounts immunity: Aggregating vital micronutrients, pickles are enriched with minerals and vitamins to protect the body from various diseases. It could strengthen the immunity system, bones, cure anaemia, protect vision and prevent some other problems. Lower sugar levels: Vinegar based pickles could help in lowering blood sugar level and improves blood haemoglobin in diabetic cases. It directly helps to regulate diabetes. Actually, it is the presence of acetic acid that helps in the control of sugar. But, you must be careful of salted pickles as it can increase blood pressure. Improves liver health: Pickles also possess a hepatoprotective feature that protects the liver. Amla or Gooseberry pickles primarily help in promoting liver health. Helps in pregnancy: Pregnant women do have pickle cravings for the good causes. Nausea and vomiting which is so usual in the first trimester of pregnancy can be relieved with consumption of pickles. Morning sickness may be done away with the pickles’ consumption. The tart, sour and tangy flavour of pickles tingle taste buds while reviving appetite. It cures nausea and curbs vomiting. Muscle cramps: Pickle juice is well known for curing muscular cramps. It could fabulously resolve to cramp. As per the studies, the one who consumes one ml serving of pickle recovers from muscular cramps way faster than the one who drinks a glass of plain water. Applications of Pickles: Non-salty type of pickle is a great way to add more nutrients to the diet. Vegetables and Fruits are used for the making of pickles which gives a range of health benefits. Pickle juice is a solid workout promoter. Pickles or Pickle juice have a variety of exciting uses. If you have a hangover, pickle is an outstanding way to get over with it. It helps to replenish depleted level of sodium and helps in rehydration too. Allergies And Side-Effects of Pickles: Pickles are good with respect to health but only when applied in moderation. Pickles increase the risk of gastric cancer, and this holds more truth in the case of Asian pickle consumption. Pickles are high on salt content, and so it enhances the risk of hypertension and heart disease. The primary risk of having pickles is definitely an increase in the blood pressure. It is better to avoid commercial pickles as they are made by using different chemicals that are dangerous to health. If there is too much oil, it can increase cholesterol in the blood.

Now, let’s also look into some primary, unique and our favourite Pickles recipes as we have discussed a lot about it and now it’s time to learn some. Recipe - Green Chilli Pickle Total Time: 40m Preparation Time: 10m Calories: 143 Servings: 20 Ingredients for Green Chilli Pickle: green chilli - 40 For Main Dish: fenugreek seeds - two tsp Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp Salt - 1/2 cup red chilli powder - two tsp mustard seeds - 11 tsp Oil - one cup Turmeric - one tsp Lemon - three How to prepare Green Chilli Pickle: Step 1) Wash & drain the green chillies. Wipe them with a clean piece of cloth till completely dry or air dry them. There should be no moisture on the chillies. Chop in small even round pieces & keep it aside. Step 2) In a small saucepan, in one teaspoon of oil, roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds for a few minutes on medium-low flame. Put aside for cooling and make a fine powder. Step 3) Heat the oil (not boiling) and spatter the asafoetida; stir it well and switch off the flame. Place it aside to cool properly. Squeeze juice from three or four large lemons and put aside. Step 4) To make the pickle: In a big bowl, mix the ground fenugreek-mustard powder, turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder. To this add the chopped green chillies and mix finely. Step 5) Pour the cooled oil over this along with the lemon juice & mix finely to coat the green chillies with all the masalas, lemon juice and oil. Step 6) Store it into a clean and porcelain jar or dry glass bottle and put aside covered for eight to ten days. This allows the flavours to blend thoroughly and the spicy heat of the chillies mellows down a bit! The layer of oil on top protects it from becoming spoilt. Keep mixing in between with a dry and clean spoon. Spicy, lip-smacking and tangy green chilli pickle is ready to be enjoyed with all the meals! Recipe - Mango Pickle: Total Time: 30m Preparation Time: 30m Calories: 145 Servings: 20 Ingredients for Mango Pickle: pickle masala - 100 gm Salt - 200 gm mustard oil - 250 ml raw mango - 1 kilogram How to prepare Mango Pickle: Step 1) Wash the raw mangoes and pat them dry. Using a kitchen knife, cut them into small pieces. Step 2) Place a kadhai over medium flame and heat the oil into it. Step 3) Next, sprinkle salt on the mango pieces & put them aside for half an hour. Then, add the pickle masala and mix finely. Step 4) Now, pour 3/4 of the lukewarm oil in the mango pieces & mix properly. Put this mango mixture in a jar & pour the remaining oil into it. Leave this jar aside for around 24 hours. Next day, you would be able to enjoy the raw mango pickle! I’m sure you must be eager to prepare any one of them instantly after reading thi

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