When we talk about a grand Indian traditional Thali (an Indian traditional dish), we cannot ignore tasty, flavorful and appetizing Indian pickles. A fermented food item that has earned a permanent place in the hearts and minds of Indians, Indian pickles are delicious and have some impeccable health benefits too.
In addition to that, the making process of any pickle is also interesting. Pickles are made by Indian women mostly for their families and you can taste the eternal love and gratitude along with its unforgettable deliciousness.
These women carefully gather all raw materials such as raw mangoes, lemons, and then prepare the ingredients. Afterward, they will add spices and oil and then make pickles. Yes, you need an experienced hand while making pickles to have a long shelf life of these pickles. There are sweet, spicy, and sour pickles as per the choices and tastes of individuals at home.
If you don’t know how to make pickles, you can just visit any Indian store and you can have a special section of Indian pickles at your service. You can buy lime pickles, mango pickles, and others as per your taste and preferences.
Even today, if you visit any Indian households, you will find those ceramic jars in the kitchen full of different types of delicious and jaw-dropping pickles, inviting you to taste them to become their fans. Indians love to have a spoonful of it in the dish to add a unique flavor and taste. In this post, we will discuss the history of Indian pickles.
There are different local names of pickles in India. For example, in Gujarati, it is called Athanu, Achar in Hindi, Uppinakaayi in Kannada, and Pachadi in Telugu, and so on. It has been the part of the Indian civilization that goes back thousands of years. The recipes had been passed on from generation to generation by the Indian women and today, the Indian pickle is famous in every corner of the world, thanks to the e-commerce and easy availability of pickles.
As per the Pickle History Timeline by the New York Food Museum, cucumber was the first ingredient pickled in BCE 2030 in the Tigris Valley.
Let’s dive deep into the words. The word “Pickle” is believed to come from the Dutch word Pekel, which literally means brine. The Hindi name Achar is believed to come from the Persian word Achar, which means powdered or salted meats, fruits, and vegetables preserved in salt, vinegar, or syrup.
The word Achar also is mentioned in CE 1563 in a Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta’s work where he specifically called a conserve of cashew with salt as Achar. Exact words are like this: And this they called Achar.
Pickle Category and Some Health Advantages
Pickles fall into the category called “Cooking without fire” as per the book A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food by the late KT Acharya, a famous food historian from India.
However, it would be inappropriate to put pickles in the same category as modern pickle making processes do use heating or fire. The reasons why pickles are popular for years in India are their health benefits, along with the unparalleled delicious taste.
Pickles are believed to replenish electrolytes and boost hydration in the body and also contain many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin K which prevents blood clotting in the body. Furthermore, pickles are fermented food items and have gut-friendly bacteria that have probiotic powers that strengthen the gut and immune system.
However, one thing that you need to remember here is that most of the pickles are rich in salt. Salt is very crucial to add to preserve pickles for a long period. If you are suffering from high blood pressure, you need to have pickles in a moderate amount.
KT Acharya also adds that the Lingapurana of Gurulinga Desika, a Kannada work of CE 1594, mentions almost fifty types of pickles. Also, an encyclopedia of ancient Indian lore of Keladi king Basavaraja, named Śivatattvaratnākara also mentions it.
More information about pickles
If you visit any Indian store, you will find three types of pickles: pickles preserved in vinegar, pickles preserved in salt and pickles preserved in oil. The great Indian pickle recipe is so powerful that it does not need refrigeration after the making of pickles to preserve it. Also, you can carry it with you anywhere you want. Indian mothers packing a number of packs of Indian pickles for their sons and daughters going abroad is a common sight in India.
There is a wide range of Indian pickles you will find in an Indian store near you from reputed brands. Mango pickles are one of the most preferred pickles across the globe and there is a wide range of varieties available in mango pickles. Have them and enjoy the great health benefits along with their unparalleled tastes.