In days of yore – when every household had so many fruit trees around their homes – Mangoes , hog plums , gooseberries & the like would be bountiful in their yield . The clever women of the house holds would turn them into pickles , brine them , making murabbas , sun-dry them and whatnot . So that they could relish them the year round even when they were not in season . Let’s look into the magic of brining various fruits & veggies . Its the most simple way of preserving fruits for long periods of time with hardly any efforts other than keeping them sterile . But the dishes we can make out of them are just mouth watering .In those days when it was rainy season & vegetables were scarce – these were the only source of side dishes – As they say – you can eat a plate of gruel /paej with just a ” mitta galleli ambuli ” ( brined tender mango).Not only mangoes , but gooseberries , lemons ,Keerlu ( bamboo shoots ) Raw jackruit bulbs , Ambados ..the list goes on . so many mouth watering dishes can be made from these . So without any delay – let’s see how to preserve these ,
- First & foremost choose the veggies that you are going to brine – the freshest & blemish-less in the season .
- Choose sun dried bottles or bharinis ( porcelain/ ceramic jars ) to store them .
- Do not use plastic or stainless steel utensils for them as they may react to the contents . If you are using plastic – see that they are good food grade ones .
- Wash them thoroughly & pat them dry with a clean cloth ,
- After bottling add a teaspoon of black pepper and store in a cool dry place .
- You may also cover the mouth of the bottle / bharini with a cloth as in those days . This was to prevent the formation of fungus . But as we are adding pepper . we need not fear about the fungus formation .
Add salt to the pieces and mix well to dissolve the salt . Keep for some time until it has let out water . Wash the pieces with this water and drain well , Choose a bottle and add some salt in it – at the bottom as a layer. Then add some pieces as a next layer and then again add salt . some more pieces & then some salt . Do this way until you have bottled all the pieces .Add some more salt at the top . Close lid tightly & keep in a cool dry place . Do NOT add water to this . After some days you can see that the shoots have let out water on their own . This will preserve it until your use . Soak overnight to remove the saltiness when you are ready to use this . Also remember to use less salt than usual in you dish as the shoots are already salted , You can find many recipes for salted keerlu in this blog itself. I got a lot of very tender bamboo shoots (Kirla Neeli Soov as it is called ), so I salted them and they are fresh this way. Remember to add enough salt or they will turn black !
Now for Jack-fruits ! we can salt away the Jackfruit bulbs when they are in season – to be relished later on when they are not in season & when we get a desire to eat them , Choose mature jack-fruits . Cut & remove the bulbs on the same day that they have been plucked from the tree. Choose fruits which have thick bulbs , Do Not use the thin variety for brining as they will not stay firm & just melt away in the brine . Nor should they be ripe – the best stage is when they are firm and a pale white in colour .
Apply coconut oil while removing the bulbs , removing the seeds (bikkand ) & the seed skin . Ensure that the bulbs do not come in contact even with a single drop of water . Take a wide vessel add the bulbs & some salt in a jar layering them alternatively with the bulbs and salt . Cover it with a plate and keep a heavy object ( like a grinder stone ) so that the salt dissolves and water will be released quickly . On second day mix the bulbs well and cover with a plate . Place the heavy object again. Continue this for two more days . On the 4th day drain the bulbs from the salty water . Wash them well in clean water many times . Finally squeeze out the water from the bulbs /saal. Choose a jar and line it with salt at the bottom ..Add a layer of the bulbs , then more salt . & so on .Do not fill the jar to the brim as we need space for the water which will be let out by the bulbs as they brine . After a week or so …you can add water to the brim , Close & store in a cool dry place . When you want to use it , Soak them first in water to remove the saltiness .
|Pic Courtesy – Veena Nayak
This Mitta gallelle saal will last a year – but of course Salla upkaris are so tasty & very much in demand that it gets over long before !
I have dealt with most of the popular veggies which are brined .You may also add a little vinegar too . Hope you find this post useful and are able to relish these delicacies !