Pickling Days Are Here Again!!

With so many local sour fruits of the region available at this time of the year, pickling is definitely an activity that’s a close second to gardening now!:) Widely available during this season is the Indian Olive/Elaeocarpus floribundas locally known as jalpai. Unlike the oil producing olive/Olea europaea of the Mediterranean region, the Indian olive is a sour fruit. The fruit is used for making pickles and chutney. The medium-sized tree produces hundreds of fruits. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of the tree. Large homesteads usually have a tree or two in their backyards.

Since the fruit need to be blanched, it’s always good to buy them with the stalk intact. The few ripe fruits on the top are a variety of Hog Plum, locally known as Amra. The sight of the fruit took me back to my childhood picking up the fruit from the ground at the edge of my grandparents’ rice field with my cousins. And savouring them sitting on rocks on a small stream whose sparkling waters gushed along the length of the field. But ah, I’m here to talk about the recipe! I do tend to ramble on….

I blanched the fruit for a few minutes. The flesh must give away when you press the blanched fruit but it shouldn’t be too soft. Once the fruit cooled down on the colander, I pressed each fruit till a bit of the pulp gave away. The seeds were not discarded.

Then the fruit was put out in a sunny spot for the day. This one got about seven hours of sun. I turned them once to expedite the drying process. It doesn’t get totally dry but it doesn’t matter.

I felt like the Mistress of Spices as I prepared these for the pickle. The aroma that wafted across the house seemed a little overwhelming even to my Indian senses. Lol! It’s not everyday that I use that many! Our usual ones are coriander, cumin, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and not much else. these bowls contain fenugreek, caraway, fennel, cumin, and mustard seeds all roasted in a pan and ground to a powder. The bowls also contain rock salt, sugar,turmeric, Indian bay leaf/tejpatta, and panch puran, a combination of five spices to be tempered in hot oil. Not in the picture is asafoetida which also went into the hot oil.

Dry red chillies and garlic are ground in vinegar and added to the mixture.

I used mustard oil for this pickle, nearly a litre. The oil was heated and then cooled.The olives were 2 kgs. When the spices were done, I put them all together in this dish. Turmeric was heated up in a pan and cooled before it was added to the mixture. I mixed the pickle with a ladle and tasted it. It’s very sour when it’s newly made. But putting the bottles out in the sun for a week takes care of everything. Even the sugar melts down and the result is a wonderful blend of sweet, sour, and spicy. The combination of rock salt or black salt and ground garlic is unique. This is a pickle that goes very well with the different kinds of Indian bread.

In the above picture the plate holds puri ( fried Indian bread) made by adding a few spices to the flour, hence the dark colour, a small helping of olive pickle and a vegetable dish of cauliflower, potatoes, and spinach seasoned with a commonly used spices.

Here are my bottles sitting in the sun. One is half full. I had taken some out in a smaller bottle while out visiting a friend. Soon there’ll be just a little left. But that’s the fun part…sharing the fruits of the season! And everybody loves to receive a bottle of home-made anything! Be it jam, or squash, or pickle!

About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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23 Responses to Pickling Days Are Here Again!!

  1. Randy says:

    Looks so good the finished product! Thanks for sharing..

  2. Mildred says:

    How very interesting. John, especially would love this. I enjoyed reading your childhood memories too. Wishes for a happy weekend Kanak.

  3. One says:

    This is interesting. Pickle in the sun. I wonder if it is full of those good bacteria.

  4. Veggie PAK says:

    Very interesting process! The end result looks quite tasty! You’re correct about receiving a gift of home-made anything being great. Something home-made has someone’s heart put into it.

  5. joey says:

    Oh my this looks wonderful, Kanak! Great photos/description … I can smell the rich spices! Do wish I lived near for a taste 🙂

  6. I have never heard of these Indian Olives, but they are prettier than the regular olives that we have here. I always learn something new on your blog! Wow, what a lot of time and work goes into this, it makes me tired just reading how to make it. But it is very interesting, I have never seen a dish like this before. That cauliflower pototao and spinach dish looks very good, too. Perhaps some time you will give us that recipe.

    • kanak7 says:

      Ginny, I know! Long recipes can be intimidating;) I feel the same when I read about food/recipes made from ingredients I’m not familiar with. Despite the long process, the end result is long-lasting. So there’s consolation there. Hope to share the veggie recipe some time later with you.

  7. lotusleaf says:

    My mouth is watering! We get this fruit two months early, perhaps because we are nearer the equator. I wish I had known this recipe in September. Well, next year, perhaps.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Kanak, your mix of spices makes me wonder how the taste is like. It’s surely very rich in flavour! I am sure the pickle is really tasty and make a meal really appetising 😀

  9. Greenthumb says:

    I have drooled all over my laptop, that was a fantastic preparation.
    I didn’t know anything about Indian olives, thanks for introducing them to me.
    i can only imagine the wonderful childhood you have had, sitting on the bank of a stream, munching on sour fruit, enjoying nature which North East is so blessed with.

    • kanak7 says:

      GT, as I type this I’m munching on “amloki”, another sour fruit that we used to have with salt and pounded dry chillies. Now I can only have one with a bit of salt! So many associations with those childhood days because that’s where we headed (the ancestral village) every time during the winter break. Thinking back on my childhood and the oneness with nature, it’s sad that my children never got much of that.

      Glad you liked the preparation. If only I could let you taste it..!!

  10. Trudi says:

    Kanak, a very interesting fruit which is turned into a wonderful pickle. So many spices to use and very interesting how the pickles are cured in the sun. I am pickling too; I was bottling sweet and sour gherkins and also sweet and sour beetroot. There comes also a time when the veg. garden is empty, like in the very hot summer time. It is always so worthwhile to use the fruit and vegetables from the garden. this year I have also lots of strawberries to freeze and for Jam, which I cook only for about 10 min so the strawberries keep their wonderful colour and fragrance. Kanak, it is fun to produce healthy and wonderful food, is it not?.

    • kanak7 says:

      Trudi, the wonderful things you do with garden produce! Your posts are always an inspiration! With garden veggies, I only have tomatoes but it gives me such a wonderful sense of pride to be able to use homegrown tomatoes. I must catch up on your posts on pickles and jam. The strawberry jam sounds delicious!

  11. Bom says:

    This makes me miss Indian food. I think it is time to visit the store for some dahl and palak paneer.

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