Pickle making is a fancy fair in India. I remember when my mother would see the first crop of raw mangoes hit the street veggie vendors, she would plan elaborately. Spotless green mangoes, washed and wiped clean, cut with the cleanest of knives with precision and then bottled into big mustard and cream pickle jar and during the process, we were told to stay away from the kitchen and keep our filthy hands to ourselves for fear of soiling the 'batch' of pickle. The mouth of the jar always tied with a cloth and the lid would go on it, it would be kept in a warm draft free area of the kitchen. God forbid, a batch was ever spoilt, the blame would almost always be on me...I was often seen lurking in the kitchen, in the late afternoons and when I did not have any business in there, so there was no one else to point fingers at. I don't think I have ever dug my finger into the pickle jar ...hmm maybe just once or twice ;)
Most of the oil based pickles do not need refrigeration and takes anywhere form a month to three to mature, some of the brine based pickles are long-term too and does not need refrigeration. However the instant pickles like this one only needs 24 hours to ferment and needs refrigeration after 24 hours and can last only for a couple of months.
Picking has gone through an evolution with time....apparently we have traded off good old fashion taste and natural pickling resulting in healthy micro nutrients in the pickles to a longer shelf life and pickles that have more preservatives than nutrients. Traditionally instant pickles like this one was fermented in basic whey (tie kefir yogurt in a cheesecloth, the water from the yogurt is whey) or just salt with some acid like lemon or vinegar ( acid often helps in preventing spoilage) thus, resulting in better taste and full of micro nutrients but a very short shelf life and of-course a need for refrigeration. However, most of the pickles that we buy has been pasteurized for longer shelf life.
It's hard for me to stop myself from sharing all the nerd facts about fermentation...from all the books I have read ....did you not notice the halo around me!!
This recipe is given to me by my sister - Thanks Ditu !
small piece ginger
1 cup vinegar or lemon juice, I used vinegar.
2 - tbsp sugar
3- 4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp for every quart of vegetable to be fermented)
The reason I say 3-4 tsp salt, sometimes with vinegar the brine can become a bit too salty, so taste before you add. Remember that there is some amount of brine that will be drawn from the vegetables too.
Warm the vinegar a bit, add the salt and sugar, let it cool completely. Add the shredded Vegetables. Keep in airtight container for about 24 hours. Good to use the next day, refrigerate immediately.
Don't you just love the colors...! It's spicy tangy and a whee bit sweet...perfect for sandwich or a roll or just as a snack on a cracker too...ya ! we are crazy :)) Btw, you get this color only after 24 hours and the color does get richer over time.