Pickling is a process of fermenting veggies, fruits or meat in brine or vinegar without the presence of ample air around (anaerobic). Apart from extending the lifespan of food, pickling adds tang and valour to the food which can be used as an ingredient in various recipes or as a side dish to the main meal. Perishable foods stay flavourful for a longer time than their natural shelf life, and hence the seasonal foods are made available for months through the process of pickling. Refrigerator pickles are the variety of instant recipes which are unfermented pickles but needs to be refrigerated. Shelf life usually varies from a few days to few weeks.
Some ingredients which have more moisture like mangoes, lemons or kimchi ingredients are just added with salt to draw out moisture to prepare brine required. Asia has a great variety of pickles made with veggies like ginger, radish, fresh turmeric, chillies, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, shallots, tomatoes, garlic etc; fruits like lemon, raw mangoes, lime, papaya etc.
Points to consider while Pickling
- Sterilize the bottles used to store pickles and all the utensils used for the preparation of pickles.
- Ceramic, porcelain or glass bottles are used for pickling since they are known to be the least reactive to alkaline and acidic solutions.
- Use the ingredients that are free from moisture as much as possible. Wash the veggies, fruits or meat well with water but wipe clear of surface moisture or let the ingredients dry in the Sun before you proceed.
- Allow enough time for the fermentation of the ingredients unless it is an instant pickle which needs a few hours to get the flavours into the ingredients.
- Pre-soaking of food in brine, or adding salt is required in many cases before dunking in vinegar/spiced oil mix.
- Keeping the pickling food in sunlight speeds the process of fermentation (especially the recipes that calls for brining before preservation).
Here are mouth-watering and succulent pickle recipes for you. Let these recipes take turn in your kitchen such that any two types of pickle recipes are available at any given time. You can pair up parathas, rice dishes, dosas, pancakes, rotis, theplas, puris or anything you want to eat with a tang. Pickles come to help when you are running on a time crunch to plan for side dishes to main meal. You can also add the pickled liquid to roast nuts to flavour them up!