Tag Archives: Food

Pickles from India : The hidden lessons they carry

Pickles are eternal or so they are meant to be. Pickles were there yesterday, are there today and will be there tomorrow. Pickles are made in India since ages. Pickles come in every form and type. The technique to make pickles have been passed on from generation to next generation. Each region makes its own kind of pickle with the local produce available. Lot of spices and ingredients go into pickle to make it last long without any kind of synthetic or chemical preservatives. There might have been lot of iterations done by various people to perfect the art pickle to contain the right amount of natural preservatives as well as maintain the right kind of texture and taste.

Pickle making is an art in India. Usually pickles are made of Mango, Lemon and Amla. This is not exclusive or not limited list. There are various kinds of pickles made based on local fruits, plants and produce which last from 2 weeks to as long as 1 year. And you will be surprised to find the same taste even after an year. No modern preservation technique can come close to keeping food so fresh and long lasting.

Pickle making is art, science, religion and festival in India.

Pickle making starts at shopping for the ingredients and ends at placing the jar in the safe corner. When the season for pickle making starts like for eg the season for Mango pickle starts in summer. Ladies of the house often accompanied by a senior lady go to buy the best mangoes that are available. They pick each by hand and decide to pay the minimum they can. They bargain a lot. Why ? Because the amount of pickle that goes into the making is in large quantities for many households. It is made in small batches as 1 kg to large batches as 5kg to 10kg in a joint family. Those who have farms of their own, grow their yield separately and don’t have to go through the hustle of buying. They keep the best crop for themselves.

Pickle making is a family activity. Once the mangoes are brought home, they are washed nicely and cleaned until there is no water. Water is the enemy of pickles, well for most of them which are kept for long. Then all ladies, kids and men likely join in the process of cutting, marinating and preserving the pickle. For each kind of pickle, there is a separate process. But in all of them, the base idea is to keep things clean, follow the process taught to them by their granny, mother or mother-in-law and keep the pickle to rest in safe place. Most houses consider it equivalent to a religious ritual to make pickle as any kind of damage or rotting in the long wrong is considered bad.

Pickle making is Science. Process above everything. Most pickles are kept in solution of some kind of food oil and usually contains ingredients like mustard (Rai), clove (laving), fenugreek (methi), til, corainder (daniya) and other seeds in dry roasted and powder form. The aroma of the spices is spread in the entire colony. Pickle is mixed and packed in the jar made of ceramic or glass or similar containers which are specifically chosen for pickles. Usually whatever spice mix is left after the pickle is packed, is enjoyed by the family with rice, chapati or any snack on that day itself.

One stop solution for travel, minimalism, economy and food. Pickles last long. Pickles can be carried easily. Pickles need not be cooked again. Pickles don’t need any kind of alteration. Pickles can be eaten with rice, roti, any kind of snack. They are taste boosters. Pickles make food wholesome. Pickles remind you of your culture, tradition, village, home and specially of your family.

Pickle is poor man’s food. For the well off pickle may be a side dish or taste enhancer but for the real poor of India, pickle is a half part of meal. When the days are not well, they just add pickle in between roti and enjoy with some onion or chilly. When they travel in trains or are on move from one village to another, it helps them to travel light and eat healthy stomach filling food. When the supply of vegetables is over a toss or their is a breakdown in the supply due to any kind of natural calamity or strikes or damage to crops, pickles help to manage the days by functioning as supplements.

Pickles are made at home by family with hands, care, dedication and lot of love!

Pickle haters are few, yet they have their reasons. Some may complaint about the amount of oil, spices, chillies or other ingredients that go into the pickles that it makes their stomach upset or heat them up. But certainly they are not in the right context and use of pickles. It may not be right for them to consume but for millions, I say MILLIONS in India, it is a part of every day meal. For some it’s the major part of their meal. So don’t eat if you don’t like, but do not speak ill of it. It is not meant for you.

Homemade food made with lot of ingredients and a little love. Pickles in India are not made in factories with machines and synthetic preservatives. Pickles are made at home by family with hands, care, dedication and lot of love. Today in India, many varieties of pickle are sold in packets, containers some made by people, some made by industries. They may be good or may not. You can check the ingredients listed. But once you taste the pickle made by a mother, you will never forget it.

Pickles mix with every dish without any complaint.

Add pickle in your bucket list. If you are travelling to India for the first time, then make sure to add it in your bucket list to taste some form of home made pickle. You may carry some with you. However make sure to ask about the ingredients or heat level if you are allergic to any kind of food or cannot tolerate. For fun, you keep a bottle of milk with you and try it. If you fall in love with pickles then you will find each village have a variety of each kind of pickle and their are so many different kinds of pickle, so it will be a pursuit for you, even if you are Indian.

Pickles saved many generations in India. Pickles are their for a reason. If you don’t know the reason and don’t want to know, then at least check at the scale of their presence and accept the importance. For situations like COVID19 when the movement was restricted, pickles have helped many households. Even though the essentials were allowed in this scenario, many scenarios in life, don’t come with the liesure or choice. So pickles become a saviours. So I urge you all who consider pickles to be just another product in the food racks of shopping malls, to remember your childhood or make a call to your mother or grand mother and know about their experiences related to pickle and if you are lucky you may find a secret recipe hidden in them. It’s time to bring it out and try, before they are lost forever.


Let us know your favourite pickle in comments section below. If you are visiting our site from other parts of the world, share your thoughts on pickles and which kind of pickles are made in your country. If you don’t like pickles, share your feelings and reasons.

Akshaya Patra Foundation |NGO in Surat | Providing Mid-Day Meals to SMC Schools and Anganwadis

Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation working towards providing mid-day meals to the kids of government schools and government-aided schools.

In a country like India, where families living on low-income budget find it difficult to provide proper shelter, food and healthcare to all the members in the family, it becomes extremely difficult to provide education to their children. Often in their condition of financial background, they tend to put their kids out of school to work in one way or other. Fortunately there are so many government and government-aided schools, which provide them opportunity to find a means of education completely free, however the major gap which most of such socio-economically weak families face were to provide food to their kids. To abolize the need for hunger and eventually reduce the drop out rates from schools, Akshaya Patra Foundation provides meals to kids in such schools.

What started as a small dream in Bengaluru in 2005, soon rose to other parts of the country and reached Gujarat and then Surat by 2012.

Akshaya Patra’s Surat kitchen was inaugurated on 15th February, 2015. This is a centralized kitchen serving over 1 lakh students from over 350 Nagar Prathmik Sikshan Samiti (SMC Schools) and nearly 100 Anganwadis. They also provide nutritional supplements to the kids in Anganwadis and ensure a balanced growth is provided to them as per their age group. Many other snacks are provided as well per their daily schedules.

Around 39 specialized vehicles run across the city to deliver quality and fresh meals to schools and anganwadis. They operate in shift mode and are tracked by GPS to ensure timely delivery. Currently from this kitchen, delivery is provided in two slots of 9:30 am -10:00 am for schools running in early hours and at 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm for schools which operate during noon hours.

Surat’s Centralized Kitchen is Serving Wholesome Lunch to Over 1 lakh children in 350 Schools and 100 Anganwadis via Mid-Day Meal Programme

Some of the features which give a glimpse to the operational standards, efficiency and capacity of Surat’s Centralized Kitchen Facility :

  • Steam generation for cooking from boilers capable of producing 2 tons of steam per hour
  • Roti making machine capable of producing upto 40,000 rotis per hour
  • Seven stage rice cleaning machine
  • Upto 5,000 litres per hour of water generated for cooking using Reverse Osmosis
  • High capacity machine for vegetable cutting
  • Food grade oil tank capable of storing 17,000 kg of oil for almost a month’s operation
  • Usage of almost 6,000 kg of rice, 5,000 kg of wheat flour, 4,000 kg of pulses and 8,000 kg of vegetables every day
  • Implementation of quality tools like Kaizen, 5S, Lean, GMP, GHP and Six Sigma
  • Implementation of ISO 22000:2005 standards in the kitchen operations

To provide quality food to kids from socio-economically weak families studying in government schools is such a noble and generous cause. It only fills your heart with lot of admiration and inspiration after you come across such human act and cause.

To know in detail about Akshaya Patra Foundation : Visit here.

If you want to contribute to this cause, visit Donations page.

If you would like to volunteer in any form : Volunteering in Akshaya Patra Foundation

Surat Centralized Kitchen Facility Address :

Plot No. 55, Bhagyodaya Industrial Road,

Behind D R World Mall, Near Saptarshi,

Bhagyoday Industrial Estate, Parvat Patiya,

Surat, Gujarat 395010