Mitta Gallche ( Brining )

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 ,

      Note :-
  1. First & foremost choose the veggies that you are going to brine – the freshest & blemish-less in the season .
  2. Choose sun dried bottles or bharinis ( porcelain/ ceramic  jars )  to store them .
  3. 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 .
  4. Wash them thoroughly & pat them dry with a clean cloth ,
  5. After bottling add a teaspoon of black pepper and store in a cool dry place .
  6. 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 .
    So first let’s see the easiest ones – Mangoes , tender mangoes , Hog plums ( ambados ) etc .Choose fresh small or medium sized mangoes & fresh very  tender mangoes with the stalk intact – like in the pic below-
                            The stalk seals in the flavours .so prefer these to ones without stalks .As stated earlier wash well & pat dry with a cloth . Take a large vessel and add enough water – about 3 cups for one Kg. of mangoes . Bring to a boil – add about one cup to 1&1/3 cups of salt – preferably the crystallized rock salt .Let it boil  until the salt has dissolved well . Let cool completely ,. Now add the mangoes into the bottle / jar  and pour the cooled water into it .See that they are fully immersed . If not – add previously boiled & cooled water . Also add a tsp of black whole pepper . Usually many find that after some time a black fungus is seen growing at the top of the bottle , The addition of black pepper avoids this and keeps it fresh .
                            These tender mangoes were brined when it was  season in May .I opened this bottle this week & you can see they are perfectly brined without any trace of fungus .The green  you see is the acids  ( deenku ) of the tender mangoes because of the stalks – thus retaining the flavours intact . Same way I had brined mangoes too . They are soft and perfect to made into gojjus / ambo chirdillae. See the recipe for it here  . Remember to wash well before use & use less salt than usual in the dish you are going to use them .
Same way to be used for bimbul / Birmi karmbal
                                   Now is the season for gooseberries ,. So you can try salting them away so that you can use them later when they are not in season . especially when they are loaded with nutrients – you should never miss making various dishes out of them – you can find many recipes in this blog itself . As mentioned earlier – get fresh ones , wash & pat them dry . Then take a large pan -add three cups of water .add one cup of salt and bring to a boil . When the water is boiling add about 1 kilo of avallos and continue boiling for exactly 10 minutes and switch off flame. 10 minutes is for the big ones.. for the small avallos ..about 5 -7 minutes will do . By then they would have softened a little . Keep a check so that they are not overly softened .
            Now let the avallos cool completely ,. DO NOT cover them with a lid while cooling – but keep it open .Add a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and bottle it carefully ,If they are not fully immersed – add some previously boiled & cooled water . Store in a cool dry place.
 Same way for lemons – choose fresh & juicy lemons . Wash & pat them dry.
 Then in a large pan add about three cups of water & a cup of salt . Bring to a boil and then add about 1 kilo of lemons . Continue boiling for about 3  minutes , The skin of the lemons has to only slightly soften , take care that you  do not over boil and break the skin. Let  cool completely . Remember not to cover with a lid but let cool keeping it open .
Add a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and bottle them carefully . See that the lemons are fully immersed . If not add some more previously boiled & cooled water . Store in a cool dry place . Wash well before use & remember to use less salt in the dish you are going to use these .  You can also make Kanchi  with these lemons . In that case add green chillies too while boiling the lemons . Also add some haldi to it .
                                  Salting Keerlu ( bamboo shoots) is totally different , Choose fresh shoots ,,they can be tender or the hard mature ones , I would recommend using tender shoots to be used up in making curries when they are fresh itself as they are at their tastiest best then , But when you get an excess ( like I did ) – you can salt them away .The  mature ones are most suited to be salted as they will become softer and can be cooked easily .Chop them into medium sized pieces .

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 !

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