A Jar of This, a Jar of That…

January 16, 2009 at 4:20 PM (dishes by cuisine, India, ingredient processing and storage)

 …and patience. Throughout life it can reward one with many wonderful things: a good harvest from the tender care of plants… bright, kind and thoughtful children… a materialization of a well-planned design…great talent and skill nudged forth by an undying interest….a post on a blog…

…and pickles. Yes.

Over the last few months, I’ve been more-than-hinting to a few of you what I’ve been up to. The thing is: the more research and “clinical studies” I did, the more recipes I stumbled across- some of which totally made me re-write any rules I had by then formulated in my head, and I found that the subject of Desi pickles couldn’t be so easily-contained within a single post. I also found that I knew much less- next to nothing- about them, despite my great curiosity and passion for them.

Seemingly, within the borders of its myriad cuisines, India sports an absolutely bewildering array of preserves, and uses every method known to humankind to achieve the end of food immortality. At first I concluded that some of these methods were peculiar to India, but in my unquenchable, tongue-driven quest for ever-new sour-saltiness, I made brief sojourns (forced, of course) into the documents of other lands’ cuisines, and found kinship there. I became keenly aware that the allegorical pickle jar of the world is very large indeed, but salt and sour seem to be the ties that bind- to keep things safe from the harms of time. The jars are just silent hands.

But how grand!

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21 Comments

  1. musical said,

    Good to see you back! Happy New Year to you :). A full series on pickles, Pel?

    How have you been doing?

    musical.

    Not bad at all… am so glad Spring is tip-toe-ing in…it’s been a long winter. I owe you an email and within I’ll find out how you are and wish you a Happy New Year, but for here and now: pickles will be coming; I’m still putting all of those jars in order.

  2. Cynthia said,

    Happy New Year!

    Ooooh, Happy New Year! Am I in trouble! You have a book that needs a billboard! Good thing I’m not in the advertising business is all I can say!

  3. Manisha said,

    Yes, incredibly grand! And I say this as I savor the pickles you sent my way. Bliss!

    I was satisfied that you liked ONE of them… picky picky picky… now, eat the black one!

  4. Anita said,

    That’s a lot of jars that need filling….
    Sour-salty and sometimes, sour-salty-sweet! Wait till I tell you about the one I have lined up!

    This comment is from January and it’s now high March and I am still waiting for all of the details…! :-D

  5. bee said,

    do post that karela pickle recipe when you can.

    Unfortunately, that one is on “pickle post #6″… however, it is posted in my Flickr pages if you’re in a rush. :-)

  6. Raaga said,

    I’ve never tried my hand at pickle making :-)

    That’s exactly what I once said!

  7. outofthegarden said,

    Hello Pel, dear —

    Do share with the rest of the population when you have a mind, hmm? ;)

    LOVE your array of jars even empty (I’m an old glass freak — that’s old GLASS not OLD freak).

    Shall I take from this post, that I can look forward to seeing them filled with pickle? ;)

    Hope you’re well — Happy (belated) New Year! :)

    Linda

    And a Happy Spring to you! This is the time for “new year” for much of Asia, so it’s not belated- it’s right on time! I have very few empty jars left… which is a good and bad thing.

  8. Miri said,

    WHY WHY do we keep so many jars? so glad to see others doing the same. I know they are very useful and not ONE of them every stays empty (Not!) but won’t it make more sense to just keep 5 and throw the rest???

    You on the other hand, atleast make pickles and have a very good excuse to collect them! Hope you are planning on posting the results of your research…

    Oh, yes indeed… but it has been a chore to organize those results- soon I hope! Jars are handy things Miri; keep just 5 and toss the rest?! You must be mad… :-)

  9. Priya said,

    ooops! really late to this post. But you have to document all those lovely pickle recipes Pel. I brought back a book from India dedicated to pickles & chutneys, made a couple until now. But after a brief period, they sit languishing in the fridge :(

    The fridge is a bad place for good pickles….but you need more than a couple kinds- you’ll get bored! Have about 30 different kinds at hand…that’s the way to do it! ;-)

  10. Susan said,

    Nothing makes my mouth water on command like the thought of vibrant, oily, sharp pickle. You are so right about varieties; last time I was in an Indian grocer, I was mystified with all the choices. I really like how seriously condiments are regarded. I wound up with jars of turnip, as well as “safe” lime and mango – lip smacking, all of them.

    • elaichietcetera said,

      I am STILL amazed at the variety, both at the shops and in posted recipes; it never ends…

  11. purplesque said,

    Oh…pickles. I never felt at home in the US until I set my very very first jar of green chilli pickles out in the sun. Pickles have roots, I swear.

    • elaichietcetera said,

      Quite correct! :-)

  12. bee said,

    havent’ you filled those jars yet?

    • elaichietcetera said,

      Oh, and then some… I really picked out a dandy hobby. Why didn’t I choose wood-carving?

  13. http://www.caresse-lingerie.com said,

    All empty jars?Why?

    • elaichietcetera said,

      A prelude…

  14. Srivalli said,

    Hey I came here to look for those pickle posts you said were posting shortly!..what happened haven’t updated since Jan???..by any chance you have another blog…??

    • elaichietcetera said,

      Nope! Just this one. Patience, patience. :-D

      • Anita said,

        I am running out of patience!

      • elaichietcetera said,

        Have a banana.

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