Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Before the invention of modern refrigeration, pickling was the only way to preserve various foods for future consumption. Generally, pickling began as a method to preserve foods that are either exotic or seasonal and limited by nature and cultivation.
The process of pickling can be generally traced back to India, as it is believed to have originated about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. With hot summers and a lack of water during summers, food production decreases during the summer. Thus, there is a need to preserve excess food produced during winters and hence, the process of pickling was invented to overcome this problem.
The traditional way of preparing long-lasting pickles in the Oriental style uses ingredients such as salt, oil, and dry chili powder mixed with condiments. These ingredients are added according to set proportions.
In India, unripe fruits such as mangoes, Indian gooseberry, unripe tamarinds, and lemons are traditionally used. Apart from these, various vegetables such as gherkin, bitter gourd, carrots, cauliflower, ginger garlic, onion, jackfruit, and citron are also pickled. In most cases, only one vegetable or unripe fruit is used for pickling. But occasionally, a mix of two or more vegetables or unripe fruits were also made. Generally, pickles made from vegetables and unripe fruits are prepared with utmost care so that they don’t spoil and be preserved all year long. Non-vegetarian pickles are also popular. These pickles are made from chicken, fish, prawns, and mutton.