Winters & Pickles – The Sweet and Tangy Tradition of India
Achaar, Pickle, Athanu and more names to go by – this popular food item is relished in India and prepared in households, non-profits organizations and commercially by well known brands. The flavours vary from sweet, spicy, tangy, savoury or a mix of two to three flavours. Pickles are a great digestive accompaniment to everyday meals but more commonly eaten for adding that extra punch to lunch!
These days all varieties of pickles are available in store and online grocery websites for Indian foods. With busy schedules and difficult weather conditions, it may not be possible to prepare pickles at home, but with long shelf life and wide range sold in supermarkets, one can easily enjoy the mouthwatering taste of home. Pro tip – if you prefer online shopping in Germany, France and other European countries, you can get your favourite pickles delivered home from Spice Village Supermarket.
Winter season and pickles go hand in hand. The famous mango pickle is a summer preparation. Apart from that, seasonal vegetables and winter sun are perfect for the drying and pickling method. Carrot, cucumber, limes, turmeric, chillies, radish, jackfruit, ginger, garlic, turnip etc are the veggies pickled in India. Pickles are prepared by drenching the dried vegetables in oil, salt and spices or sugar. This traditional preserving method is age old and retains the vitamins & minerals, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and digestive properties of the ingredients.
Let’s have a look at some of the must try winter pickles:
1. Carrot pickle / Gajar ka Achaar
This North-Indian favourite is a sweet and tangy pickle that has the spice of red chilli powder. It is prepared from fresh seasonal carrots and is beneficial for boosting metabolism, digestion and has antioxidant properties. It tastes great with paranthas or sarso ka saag.
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2. Mixed Vegetable Pickle
With a lovely blend of wintry seasonal vegetables dried and oiled, this savoury pickle is either spiced with red chilli powder or whole green chilli. The one with green chili often presents the bold taste of mustard and a lovely aroma of hing (asafoetida). Both varieties of mixed vegetable pickle are a treat to the taste buds. Some households prepare this achaar fresh every day as a staple with winter meals.
3. Lime Pickle
From hot to mild, this tangy pickle goes well with any Indian meal. It is so versatile that you can cherish it with just a roti or parantha and you won’t need anything else. Some preparations are also sweet, tangy and spicy. Lime pickles are prepared in both summer and winter. They add a boost to immunity and digestion.
I found multiple brands selling lime pickles while online shopping in Germany based Spice Village Supermarket, that delivers across Europe.
4. Chilli Pickle / Mirch ka Achaar
This hot and sour companion to your winters is commonly eaten in North India. Green Chillies and spices are dried for days before immersing in oil along with mustard, fenugreek, turmeric and asafoetida. This humble pickle can spice up any meal and you will love to take it along in your lunch box to work!
Chilli pickles are rich in vitamin C & E and aid digestion by adding fiber to diet.
No matter the technique applied, pickling has always been a delicious way to stock and store food. Pickles complete the shadrasa (the six tastes – sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, salty and astringent). Being treated as a condiment in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they must taste great with no compromise on quality. Hope this inspires you to start the tantalizing journey of pickle tasting soon.