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Pickles

Necessity is the mother of all inventions and the history of pickles reveals the same. It all began long back when the journeys used to be long and the travelers came back home after months of voyages and travels. That was the time when it was thought of preserving food and vegetables and preparing long lasting food which could retain its taste as well as freshness.

Salt is a condiment which enables to keep everything freshened up and also avoids excessive moisturizing of the food item. Thus adding salt and vinegar helped the food item like salads and vegetables to be fresh for many days. Another idea behind this was to preserve the vegetables and fruits even after their season were over. Once it had started, every progressing second came with new revolutionizing ideas and kept on adding piles of pickling recipes and methods of preparation.

 

Today every part of the world possesses its own fundamental ideas regarding pickles. Not even a single vegetable is left that could escape the pickle experimentation. Although there were several other home made methods to preserve the food items like canning, drying, fermentation, smoking and sugaring, etc. however it was pickling that could take as many experiments as were possible. And the spiced up versions became extraordinarily popular than other methods of preserving food.

 

Historical Background of Pickles
It seems that pickles have always been a part of our cuisine and historical facts date back to more than 4400 years ago when pickled cucumbers became popular in Mesopotamia. The origin of pickles though not very clear exactly but in India, Pickles were well known in the Vedic period as well. The Vedic scriptural writings indicate quite relevant knowledge of the pickles.

The oldest pickle known to human beings are pickled cucumbers and Aristotle also praised their taste and healing effects. This clearly points out that the pickles were also known to the ancient Greeks.

Romans also showcase a brief history of pickling as pickled and brined cucumbers were eaten by Julius Caesar's soldiers. Highly nutritious and vitamin rich pickle was consumed to maintain sound health as the cucumbers healed their wounds fast. Not only cucumbers but other vegetables were also brine soaked and preserved for longer term usage. the traditions have continued till today as well.

In United States, pickled cucumbers were introduced by the European immigrants and rapidly they became an integral part of the everyday cuisine.

There are numerous ways of processing pickles which are followed around the world. Few of them are listed below:

Dry Methods : Baking, barbecuing, broiling, grilling, hot salt frying, hot sand frying, roasting, searing, toasting, etc.

Water-based methods: Blanching, boiling, braising, brining, coddling, creaming, double steaming, infusion, parboiling, poaching, simmering, steaming, steeping, stewing, etc.

Fat-based methods: Browning, deep frying, frying, pan frying, stir frying, etc.

Device-based Methods: Advantium, bain-marie, clay pot cooking, crock pot, microwaving, pressure cooking, pressure frying, rotisserie, vacuum flask cooking, etc.

 

Varieties of pickles
A huge variety of vegetables are processed into pickles of all kinds. these vegetables also include the indigenous or endemic vegetables of certain regions in the world. The most prominent vegetables to be used in the pickles are radish, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, turnip, ginger, carrot, onion, ground dates, mustard, ground pepper, garlic, tomato, eggplant, beet, mushroom, lemon, peach, etc.

Following are the most prominent varieties of pickles which are relished in the same manner all over the world.


 

Asian varieties
Korean Kimchi: A native dish to Korean traditional cuisine, Kimchi is a fermented pickle blended with a variety of spices in the fine chopped Chinese cabbages. An indispensable side dish, kimchi is relished with almost each meal and with rice. Not only this, although it is a pickle but the flavored spices and other additives make it a wonderful ingredient for other dishes as well such as kimchi stew and kimchi fried rice. With time, the ingredients of the kimchi have also changed and plenty of seasonings and mixed vegetables adorn the marvelous taste of the popular pickle.

Takuan: Also known as takuwan, this pickle is one of the most popular eastern pickle. Simply made of

dried radishes along with a perfect blend of salt, rice bran, little sugar, daikon greens, kombu, chilly peppers ad a couple of native spices. Takuan, with the peppery taste and crispy delicacy is one of the prime pickles along with umeboshi, gari & beni shoga (ginger), turnip, cucumber, and Chinese cabbage pickles.

In Sri Lanka, Pickles are prepared from a individual or combination of certain vegetables like carrots, onions, ground dates, mustard powder, ground pepper, crushed ginger, garlic and vinegar seasoned in a clay pot. These pickles are commonly named as achcharu.

Indonesian Pickles vary in taste and textures as they are prepared with the perfect combination of sliced or diced cucumber, carrot, bird's eye chilies seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt to taste. However other than these predominant spices one can also add up other seasonings. At times Indonesians also prepare pickles by adding up fruits like papaya and pineapple.

Philippians also feast on the similar varieties of pickles which they usually call achara.

Vietnamese refer to the pickles as cải chua which means sour vegetables and these pickles are often seasoned with mustard greens. the mix of all types of vegetables give the pickles a delicate and healthy taste.

In the middle east countries like Iran, Lebanon and Egypt, Pickles are devoured at almost every meal. Such is the raze for pickles that one can hardly imagine the food without the turnips, peppers, carrots, green olives, cucumbers, beetroot, cabbage, lemons and cauliflower in the pickled manner.

 

European Pickling Picks
Various countries, various names for pickles, Tursu in Turkey, Turshi in Albania and Serbia and so on.
A variety of vegetables, roots, and fruits such as peppers, cucumber, Armenian cucumber, cabbage, tomato, eggplant or brinjal, carrot, turnip, beetroot, green almond, green plum and a whole lot of seasonings and spices to prepare numerous varieties of individual or mixed pickles through various means.

In Bulgarian and Serbian regions mixed peickles of green tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, peppers, eggplants, and sauerkraut, are immensely popularas an excellent appetizer and they are eaten with raki, their traditional food.

 

Cauliflowers, beetroots, cucumbers, carrots, cabbages, melons, mushrooms, etc. are brined or fermented to turn them into delicious and flavored pickles in Romania. Russians extend the list of the vegetables used and with little difference in the native spices used, enhance the taste of the traditional pickles. Custard squash and watermelons are also mixed in the spicy or sweet pickles.

Scandinavians enjoy their own festive pickles which includes anything or everything of the sea foods. Pickled herring and rollmops are the very famous pickled fish dishes of these beach islands. Moreover what adds to the excitement is that, even salmon is brine pickled and it tastes simply out of this world.

Talking about European pickles, how can one ignore British pickles. The pubs and fish shops are a huge storehouse of numerous trickling pickles ranging from onions, beetroots, walnuts, gherkins, Branston pickle to piccalilli which are feasted along with pork pies or cold meat.

Italy is not only famous for its pastas and pizzas but the diversified cuisine involves a whole lot of pickles as well which are usually a flavored brine-soaked vegetable mix. Italian giardiniera is one of the well known pickles one should always look forward to taste one day.

Pickled Cucumber is what dominates the United states and Canadian regions. However pickled eggs, peepers and celery along with olives is popular to similar extent. These pickles are moulded into textures looking at what food they will be eaten with. Beef sandwiches, burgers, and simply bread, sweet or spicy pickles make the food a delicious treat to pounce over. Pickled okra is immensely popular in the southern United States. These pickles are usually condimented with a variety of spices and herbs.

 

Mixed Pickles
Different world cuisines have separate versions of preparing mixed pickles.

In United States, Different vegetables like cucumbers, cauliflower, cut large onions, and bell peppers, as well as spices like garlic, dill, allspice, and chili peppers after being finely chopped are soaked in vinegar. Sugar can be added to give a sweetened taste to the pickle.

Britishers and various Europeans relish those types of mixed pickles which invariably include onions, gherkins, and cauliflower, rest everything can vary depending on the desired taste. Branston pickle and

piccalilli are two prominent mixed pickles of British cuisine.

In Indian version, a mixed pickle contains fruits as well. Although these fruits are used to be pickled when unripe. Fruits like mangoes and limes are highly popular pickle ingredients. Instead of vinegar, oil or lime juice is used to give the sour taste to the pickles. Almost all vegetables can be transformed in a variety of pickles.

Chinese cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, and many other world cuisines give great examples of wonderful mixed pickles.

 

Pickling Recipes
A few of the most prominent pickling recipes are given below:

Mango Pickle
In India, Pickles have always been a permanent food condiment. The unique taste of the Indian Pickle depends on the condiments and spices poured in. These spices are well blended in their grounded forms. In Indian pickling recipes, one thing is entirely different from other European and American recipes. Indian recipes suggest the use of oil instead of vinegar. Mango Pickle is one of most relished pickle in India and is exported worldwide as well. It is easy to prepare it.

 

Cean and wipe dry the mangoes. Carefully cut them into halves along with the seed. Now remove the pulp from the seed. Dice the mangoes ensuring that the hard shell is there in each piece inside. Mix red chili powder, mustard powder, salt, and methi seeds in a bowl. Add the mango slices in this powder and mix them well. Take a porcelain or air tight glass jar and put the mango slices into it. Add sesame oil to the mango slices and mix them well. Put the jar in sunlight for 3-5 days. The delicious mango pickle is ready to eat.

 

Lotus Stem Pickle Recipe
Lotus stem pickle is one of the most delicious and easy to prepare pickles. The unique recipe is as follows:
First of all, peel and cut lotus stems into round slices and boil till they turn softer. Then put them on a strainer till dry or keep it in the sun till quite dry. Mix salt, red chili pepper, mustard powder and turmeric together. Rub this mixture well over the lotus stem pieces. Put the pickle in a jar and on it pour heated and cooled oil. Store it for 4 days before serving. And the crispy pickle is ready to eat.

 

Lemon Pickle
Wash and clean the lemons. Boil some water and put around 25 lemons in it for a few minutes. After boiling the lemons, soak dry them and cut into quarter slices. Using sterilized glass jars to store the pickle, sprinkle the asafoetida powder and half the salt over the base. Grind all the paste ingredients to make a smooth mixture and smear it all over the lemon quarters. Drop these spiced lemons into the jar. Squeeze the juice from the remaining 10 lemons over them and sprinkle rest of salt. Cover the jar with a clean cloth and leave out in sun. After two weeks of sun drying, the lemon pickle is ready to be relished on.

 

Certain Interesting facts
Kimchi, a Korean pickle is such an indispensable item consumed with food that the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) developed space kimchi to accompany the first Korean astronaut to the Russian-manned space ship Soyuz.

Pickled Snake is a snake wine which is usually prepared by mixing the snake into a jar containing rice wine and fermented for a period of time. This pickled wine is also said to have possessed great benefits such as lessening hair loss, etc.

 
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