The one thing that occupied a place of pride in our kitchens is - pickle. Yes, you heard that right! Pickle is traditional art and science of preserving vegetables and fruits so they could be used throughout the year.
Our dadis and nanis used everything naturally available around them - salt, spices and sunlight to ensure that not just the seasonal produce not go waste but also that their nutritional value is enhanced. So they used trial and error, patience and perseverance and gave us this priceless gift called pickle that are now valued by modern nutrition science as valuable sources of - Vit K (co factor in absorbing Vit D), Vit A (eyesight and immunity), probiotic bacteria (live organisms that confer health benefits to the host).
Well there are many more benefits too -
• They enhance the taste and flavour of food
• They help in digestive processes of the body
• They are a reliable source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
• They provide the body with healthy bacteria which makes it easy for the body to produce vitamins like B12
• They ensure that your gut is not colonised by pathogens or the bad bacteria
However, to make the most of pickle and its benefits, they should be homemade using the traditional recipes. Traditionally pickling will involve - picking the right fruit or vegetable, cutting it in a certain way, washing or blanching, addition of salt and oil (or salt, lime and water) as per the recipe and then sun drying it. The right time to start making pickles and even papads is post Shivratri as that’s the time that the sun light is optimal for these processes.
Important notes -
1. Remember without salt and oil in the right amount, the pickles are spoiled as the wrong kind of bacteria will grow. And if you are worried about BP - avoid biscuits & cookies, eating outside and not exercising, and not pickles. The healthy bacteria from pickle is especially useful in Diabetes and heart diseases too.
2. But you need to eat pickle like a pickle. Which you now know is as a small part of your meal, not the main thing. A little pickle with dal rice or dahi rice provides your body with the right combo of pre and pro-biotic and ensures that the live bacteria are not dead when they reach your gut.
So what are you waiting for? Practice and pass on the unbroken chain of pickle making to the next generation. Teach at least one millennial how it’s made and use it daily in at least one or maximum two of your meals to spice up your life - either at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Here's a list of pickles from across all the states of India :
1. Amla pickle
Amla or Indian gooseberry pickle is a popular pickle in India and other parts of South Asia. This pickle is great a source of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus
2. Garlic pickle
Garlic pickle is a popular pickle in Andhra Pradesh.Garlic is an excellent source of dietary manganese. The sweetness is provided by jaggery.
3. Green chili pickle
Green chili pickle is mainly made in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and parts of western and northern India. Variation with red-chillies is also made in certain parts of India
4. Hibiscus leaves pickle
Hibiscus leaves pickle is a popular pickle in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where it is known as Gongura pacchadi. It is also consumed in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and in some of India's North-Eastern states where the plant is known as aamelli or mwitha.
5. Lemon pickle
Lemon pickle is a very popular pickle in India. It is made with multiple variations of taste, flavor and texture
6. Beetroot Pickle
This Indian pickle can be a great side dish to your meal. This enhances rbc count and purifies it. It has a wonderful colour and one cannot miss on eating this one. Beetroot pickle is very famous in Kerala and it goes well with spicy biryani and raita
7. Mesu Pickle
Mesu is an integral part of Sikkimese cuisine that is made with fermented bamboo shoots and has a fantastic sour-acidic tang. Mesu is directly derived from the Limbu dialect in Sikkim, where ‘me’ means young bamboo shoot and ‘su’ means sour.
8. Gajar-Gobhi-Shalgam Achaar
A winter staple in the northern parts of the country, this pickle comprises carrot, cauliflower and turnip and is probably one of the most delicious and sadly, underrated pickles in the country. The tang of the turnip and the sweetness of the carrot, which are pickled along with cauliflower using vinegar, makes the pickle the best side dish for parathas and curd!
9. Banana Flower pickle
This pickle comes all the way from Assam and comprises banana flowers that are a rich source of iron, calcium and a whole host of other minerals. While some other parts of the country also consume the superfood, banana flower as a pickle is, without a doubt, one of Assam’s most unique creations.
10. Kamal Kakdi ka Achaar
This one is a rare and exotic pickle originating from Jammu and Kashmir
11. Chintakaya Pachadi
While raw tamarind is a central ingredient to many dishes in Andhra and Telangana cuisine, one is completely caught off guard with chintakaya pachadi or raw tamarind pickle, as its raw, sharp and tangy flavour fires up your taste buds like nothing else!
12. Sundakkai Urugai
Interestingly, Sundakkai or pea aubergine isn’t transformed into a pickle directly but is first kept in brine until it matures. The pickling occurs only prior to consumption, where it is tempered and served. It is common knowledge that this speciality from Tamil Nadu is best paired with curd rice!
13. Tindora Achaar
The fantastic taste of kundru or tindora (Ivy Gourd) pickles. One of Gujarat’s most famous pickles, you need to set aside all doubts and give this delicious pickle a try!
14. Kair ke Achaar
Made from Kair (berries from Rajasthan that are dried and used) this pickle is unique to the state and is found abundantly during the winters. Sour and tangy, Kair ke achaar is incredibly delicious and can be relished with any Indian bread or rice.
15. Topa Kuler Achaar
A popular fixture in almost every Bengali household, this pickle is made of topa kuler, a berry which is native to West Bengal and is known for its tart flavour. The berries are infused with jaggery and spices, and the pickle is a great accompaniment to rice and curries.
16. Mahali Urugai
Made of Mahali or Sarasaparilla, this pickle from Tamil Nadu is unlike any other pickle mentioned above as it is made of roots and has a distinct flavour and aroma. People often mix it with curd or buttermilk to enhance its taste, and this mixture can easily survive for over two years!
17. Gandal ka Achaar
An age-old practice in Punjab, Gandal ka Achaar is made from the pickling of the long stalks of mustard greens (gandal), just before the harvesting of seeds for mustard oil in December every year. Besides the amazing taste, the mustard in the pickle doubles up as a warming agent, and keeps the folks warm during the bitter winter.
18. Karivepaku Urugai
Curry leaves are as essential to the Indian cuisine as is salt for taste. Karivepaku Urugai (Curry leaves pickle) is Tamil Nadu’s offering of the humble flavouring agent, in a spiced up avatar.
19. Brinjal Pickle
This gem from Goa, which is a delicious mix of sweet, spicy, and slightly tangy flavor
20. Chana Methi Achar
Relatively lesser known across the country, this unique pickle is rather popular in Gujarat and is made of chickpeas, and dry fenugreek seeds perked up with a large assortment of spices and preserved with mustard oil. One can even find variations of the same, with mango being the most popular addition.