Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My First Pickle-making Process


I have always been hesitant about making Pickles - always thought it was complicated. I vaguely remember my mom complaining about a few failures when it came to this - mostly with the pickle developing some fungus and she would be lamenting about having to throw it away, and what a waste it was. But of course, she didn't have much opportunity to try and perfect this because my grandmother would always make enough pickles for her ... Actually I think my mom has been rather pampered, paati would always make an extra batch of ghee for her, grind all the flours, spice powders, painstakingly make vadaams and so on, all in an effort to help her daughter - a working mother of two.

But with so many people pickling in the blogosphere, especially after Coffee announced 'Preserve It' for MBP, i decided to try it sometime. Though I missed the event, I got the opportunity with about a dozen limes on hand. First, I contemplated on the two most popular lime pickle recipes - Indira's and Manisha's version. For a while I thought I could make half a batch of both recipes like Bee did but then certain other factors played a part... For instance, Manisha's recipe called for lots of Sunshine and the end of August was not the most ideal time. Actually we had quite a bit of sun till then but around the time the pickle idea was forming in my mind, overcast, gray skies became the norm with much cooler temperatures. Also, the recipe required about 20 green chillies and that was another issue - didn't have enough on hand. Considering these two factors, I decided I will just handle one at a time and picked Indira's lime pickle recipe.

Day 1

On Friday evening, I cut the limes, added 3/4 cup of lime juice and the required amount of salt. Settling on the correct sized bottle was a bit of a problem. Then I found one big enough... and i religiously gave the limes a toss everyday... something I remembered noticing as a kid though the recipe just asks for them to be covered for 4 days.

Day 5

I was looking forward to Wednesday (the 5th day) so I could add the masala powders but when Wednesday actually came, I almost forgot until I opened the cupboard for the customary 'toss'. I immediately set about toasting the tsp each of cumin, mustard and methi seeds, powdered them and added those, alongwith a pinch of turmeric and 5 tsp chilli powder to the pickle. I was paranoid about dry 'everything' - utensils, hands, mixie and so kept on wiping and re-wiping everything. More waiting now...

Day 12

Exactly a week after adding the masalas I opened the jar once again, praying fervently that they would've softened and cured by now and was hit with a wonderful aroma of pickle masala - it took me to my grandma's kitchen where she would have huge jaadis (porcelain jars) of pickle... The actual lemon pieces however looked a bit too sturdy for my liking. Though I was 90% sure that it wasn't ready, i still ventured to get a piece out (with a dry spoon, of course) and tasted it and it tasted like the real deal albeit a tad crunchy but I didn't mind it at all - infact it reminded me of naarthangai (citron) pickle. It was mild, yet flavorful and within seconds i ate the whole thing but decided to let this rest another week and try my luck again.

Day 19

I couldn't wait much more. So, I checked the texture quickly and though it hadn't softened completely it was almost there so I heated 4 tsp of gingelly oil (Nallennai), sprinkled some asafoetida powder and 1 tsp of mustard seeds. They spluttered immediately after which I let this oil cool slightly before adding it to the pickle and mixing well. My tangy, tasty, spicy, super pickle was ready! Thanks Indira.


I would like to send this as my entry to Waiter! There's something in my... savoury preserve!

Thank you Bee for letting me know about this event.

21 comments:

  1. Hey C, Lime pickle look gorgeous. I am also very hesitant to make pickles for the same reason you said. Have to try it once.

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  2. Good pickle for a first attempt laavanya! Pickles are not as difficult as they seem to be. Lime pickle is very tasty!

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  3. same here i am also hesitant to make pickles, for a first attemp it look good.
    May be i shpuld follow your steps

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  4. hey, that's great for afirst attempt. Beautiful pickle.Now I just need some curd-rice:-)

    I too have never made a pickle before.You give me hope.

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  5. Looks great Laavanya.I make 3 jars every year,they last for a year in the fridge.Good that you tried:))

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  6. laavanya, yo could enter it for this event:
    http://thepassionatecook.typepad.com/thepassionatecook/2007/09/waiter-theres-s.html

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  7. Right on Laavanya. U shud be the first entry :)

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  8. Brilliant... the very first entry indeed! Shame this doesn't come with a big cash prize ;-)
    Thanks for your contribution: I had never thought of the ramification this might have for some bloggers, two weeks for a jar of preserves sounds rather a lot, I am planning on making something simpler!
    And: I never realised that there was an event with the same theme back in June - what a shame. I hope we will still find lots of people up for OUR challenge as well!

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  9. Yummm! Pickle looks great Laavanya! I too am pampered when it comes to these things...I get a year's supply of pickles and masalas frm my mom as well as my mother in law, so I rarely get a chance to try my own. :)

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  10. wow....Congrats on ur first attempt at pickle making....looks great :-)
    Neatly summarized the entire cycle :-)

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  11. laavanya.. you are so right about the sun dissappearing when you need it ;)i was short on my ingredients when i made lemon pickle too.. too many lemons, not enough g.chillies.. but i went out and bought some and made it. Your pickle looks delicious...

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  12. Laavanya, This is too good,looks delicious .looks very professional and does not look like a first timer.
    Good job, wish I could taste it !!

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  13. The pickle looks nice Laavanya:)I am sure you will make many more.Only care to take is the bottle and other stuff are clean and dry.You will never go wrong :)

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  14. I have never ventured into this... I must try. Looks great

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  15. Madhu, Thanks... do give it a try. It's quite easy once you do it.

    Thank you Latha. Yes it is...

    Happy Cook - yes since all the measurements were given there was hardly any guesswork for me.

    TBC, right - perfect combo.

    That's cool Asha. We don't have pickle too often but it'll probably be difference if it's home-made.

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  16. Bee, thanks for letting me know. I've entered it. What timing huh? :)

    You are right Suganya. Passionate cook confirmed that it was the first entry.

    Passionate Cook - thank you for hosting this. Not all savoury preserves are so timeconsuming. There are some instant pickles as well and of course there are the chutneys but mostly they only last in the fridge. This, however needs no refrigeration.
    The previous contest was for trying out recipes from other blogs with a title of Preserve it. So, yours is a bit different.

    Good for you Tee! :) I know my mom never gave all this a second thought most of the time.. unless she wanted to do really try it for fun.

    Thank you so much Sirisha.

    Rajitha, oh did you try Manisha's pickle? I have that in mind for next year.

    Thanks Sreelu - that's very sweet of you.

    Right Archana.. i was very particular abt it.

    Raaga, thank you.. you must try it. it's pretty easy.

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  17. now u r tempting me girl... lovely post. enjoyed reading ur day to day excitement of pickle making process;)

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  18. looks mouthwatering :)
    u took so much care, dry everything, should last well!!

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  19. Lime pickle looks nice and guess what, i also have never tried my hand at making pickle

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  20. This is a great post. Love things that take time. The reward afterwards is unsayable :-) This would make a great gift, eh ?

    I myself am hosting an event that is dedicated to giving food as a present. I would love you to have a look and maybe you could come up with something? http://www.burntmouth.com/2007/10/spoonful-of-christmas.html

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  21. cookerycorner.blogspot.com; You saved my day again.

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