Indian’s have an unconditional love towards pickle and it plays a very significant role in their daily meals. Pickle can be added to almost each and every Indian meal as the ultimate accompaniment.
There are also many varieties in which it is available ranging from sweet to sour and spicy. Pickle essentially adds flavour to very basic dishes in Indian households and has been a part of Indian meals since centuries. One can add pickle to dal rice, curd rice or even khichdi and it instantly amps up the dish with flavour from the spices and gives it an instant punch.
Indian pickle or more commonly known as Achar in Persian is defined as ‘powdered or salted meats, pickles, or fruits, preserved in salt, vinegar, honey, or syrup.’ Pickle is usually made with fruits, vegetables, spices which are preserved in oil and salt. In the coastal regions of south they even add seafood to the mix.
Achar is something in India that the older generation women make during particular seasons. It’s an art which is passed on from one generation to the next. Usually grandmothers are the ones that play a key role in this Achar making business. With the newer generations coming and the commercial market of pickle increasing no one is really bothering to learn the art of making pickle and invest in homemade pickle anymore. There are 100s of brands in the market that specialise in the pickle industry but a new 12% tax introduced last year has hurt sales, and manufacturers are worried it will continue the same way if nothing is done.
Pickles in India are of three basic types: those preserved in vinegar; those preserved in salt; and those preserved in oil. In India, oil is a popular medium used for pickling. The process of pickling is one of the best ways to preserve a food item. Once preserved, the pickled food will not need refrigeration, and so it travels well, making it also ideal for long-distance journeys.
Although pickle is easily available in the market, those factory made recipes do not match up to the flavour and taste of someone’s handmade pickle. And after realising this many women have started small scale businesses in their neighbourhood of selling homemade pickle from household to household.
Pickle or Achar is something which is quite universal in India as everyone eats it may it be the rich, middle-class or the poor. But last year the World Health Organization said that India’s salt intake was double the appropriate amount for daily consumption and pickle was the reason behind it. Since it’s been such a key part of our daily meals it’s tough to quit it. But consumption of pickle in moderate amounts it shouldn’t be an issue.
Basically pickle plays a very essential role in our meals and if eaten in moderate quantity and is homemade it doesn’t create any health issues. To keep the true flavours and essence of pickle alive the art of household pickle making should be rekindled with each household.