7 Summer Pickles To Transport You To Grandma's Kitchen
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Pickles are an integral part of Indian cuisine and culture. During the summer months, many Indian families come together for the beloved tradition of pickle making. Grandmothers, aunts, and mothers gather in the kitchen, where the air fills with the sizzling sounds and aromatic spices of generations-old family recipes. They meticulously measure and mix ingredients like limes, mangoes, and chillies, using their expert hands to transform the ripe seasonal produce into delicious preserves. More than just flavour enhancers for curries and dals, homemade pickles represent heritage and nostalgia. 

Mango Avakaya  

Avakaya is a spicy pickle that is an essential part of Telugu cuisine. Made from raw mangoes, this fiery condiment contains a medley of flavours from mustard seeds, red chilli powder, garlic, and asafoetida. The mangoes are first cut into chunks, then seasoned with salt, spices, and oil before being left to ferment. Avakaya is loved across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for its complex flavours and texture. This popular pickle is quick and easy to prepare at home. Mix the chopped mangoes with ground spices, salt, and oil. Let it sit for a few days to allow the flavours to develop fully.   

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Kaala Nimbu Pickle  

The Amritsari lemon pickle is a complex and flavourful Indian condiment. To make this pickle, fresh lemons are first cut into wedges. These lemon pieces are then cooked in a fragrant mixture of spices like mustard oil, red chilli powder, asafoetida, cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, black salt, jaggery vinegar and sugar. The spices infuse the lemons with a sweet yet tangy and spicy flavour. The mixture of savoury spices combined with sweet jaggery gives this pickle its signature dark colour and complex taste profile, balancing sweet, sour and spicy.   

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Lasoora Pickle  

Lasoora, a small yet flavourful berry native to northern India, finds its way into many traditional Indian pickles. With a subtle bitterness, lasoora is often paired with spicy or sweet spices when pickled. The small, round berries grow on bushes and ripen to a bright red. To make lasoora pickles, first blanch the berries in boiling water. Then pack the berries into sterilised jars, alternating layers with your choice of spices—perhaps chilli powder, turmeric, garlic, and mustard seeds. Top off with vinegar or oil. Let the jars ferment in the summer sun for 10–15 days, allowing the flavours to mingle.   

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Tau Pickle  

The monkey jack fruit, with its unusual name and appearance, is a lesser-known variety native to India. This oval fruit grows on the barhar tree and has a texture similar to that of custard apples. Known by regional names like baharwa, tau, and dheu, the monkey jack is used to make pickles across India. A popular recipe is Punjabi tau pickle, made by marinating the sliced fruit in a spicy oil mixture of mustard oil, fennel, fenugreek, onion seeds, turmeric, chili powder, and salt for 3 days.   

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Karonda Pickle  

A summer staple in the households of north and north-eastern India, the karonda pickle is made using the tart, wild karvanda berry. These pink berries grow on thorny shrubs and picking them was a beloved summer activity for many 90s kids in India. In Benaras, the tart karondas are combined with mustard oil, onion seeds, fenugreek seed powder and coarsely ground red chilli powder to make a mouth-puckering pickle that transports pickle lovers back to carefree summer days. To make karonda pickles, rinse the berries and pat them dry. Mix together mustard oil, fenugreek, onion seeds, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Add the karonda berries and coat well. Transfer to a sterilised jar and enjoy this tart and tangy taste of summer.  

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Bharwa Mirchi and Nimbu Pickle  

When summer brings an abundance of chillies and lemons, transform them into a zesty bharwa mirchi and nimbu pickle. Carefully hollow out the chillies and lemons, then stuff them with a fragrant spice mix. First, sauté ginger, garlic, fennel, and spices like red chilli powder, cumin, and turmeric in oil to bloom their flavours. Then pack this aromatic filling into the chillies and lemons. Seal the openings and allow the stuffed chillies and lemons to marinate in the spice oil to infuse them with a puckery, spicy flavour.   

Aam, Kathal, And Sirka Pickle  

A summer bounty in India brings two delicious fruits: mangoes and jackfruit. To preserve them, a tasty pickle is made. The process starts by boiling raw jackfruit and mangoes with spices like chilli powder, fenugreek, cumin, fennel, carom, onion and garlic. What makes this pickle unique is the mellow, subtle flavour of sugarcane vinegar instead of harsh white vinegar. The fruits are combined with the aromatic spices and vinegar, then cooked down into a pickle that captures the essence of an Indian summer.