Learn how to make Lime and Fresh Green Peppercorn Pickle ~ Pickled Indian limes and fresh green peppercorns in brine
‘Sacred’ is a very special word that I use for pickles. Pickles, a heart and soul of Indian cuisine is the most precious condiments without which our meals are unimaginable and well, incomplete. The word pickle is an emotion and it screams ‘home’. Whichever part of India and Indian subcontinents we might come from, a smudge of pickle on a plate has the capacity to make even the simple meal of dal and rice seem more appetising. For Indians, pickles are not mere a condiment, but an integral part of the meal and a tasty accompaniment which keeps us connected to our roots even when we are thousands of miles away from our home and homeland.
As a child, my first food memories revolves around pickle. Come summer and my ancestral home would transform into a buzzing pickle factory. Pickle making was a family effort and everyone in our large joint family had a role to play in this most exciting process. There were special mango trees cultivated in our family estate specially reserved for pickling. These pickling mangoes had right amount of acidity, texture and crunch for making the perfect and most delicious pickles. It was my grandfather’s role to make sure that the farm workers plucked the mangoes at the right time before they matured, taking care not to drop them on the grounds as they reduced the shelf life. Most mangoes were pickled before they developed hard stones and some were left on the trees to mature for other varieties of mango pickles. As a child, I remember watching the workers expertly climb a century old mango trees and pick the mango bunches and carefully stock them in a wicker baskets hanging next to them in a long rope. Once the basket was filled to the brim, it was carefully lowered to the ground where it was emptied into huge wicker baskets lined with gunny bags. Thousands and thousands of tender mangoes were then carried back home where the ladies of the house eagerly waited.