Of course, we can buy mango pickle easily from pickle stores and supermarkets but the taste of home-made mango pickle is supreme. Mango pickle made at home is not just creative in terms of ingredients used but it can also be enjoyed over many a meals for more than a year.
Mango pickle is very popular all across India, although it varies in the way it is prepared in every household. Basically it contains whole spices like mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds. Salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, asafoetida and mustard oil are other ingredients that are required to prepare this tangy and spicy pickle. All these spices enhance its aroma and flavour. It tastes perfect with chapatti, poori, paratha and matthi.
Mango season has already begun. During this season, there is a tradition of preparing mango pickle in Indian households and this pickle is then stored for rest of the year. The premium quality of ‘Ramkela’ variety of mango is the most important ingredient to make it. The authentic mango is specially grown for pickle making. The pickle made from this Ramkela is famous all over the world for its unique taste and aroma. The perfect sourness is suitable for the excellent flavour. Mango pickling can capture its best taste when the Ramkela crop is on its seasonal peak. Also it can be least expensive at this time of the year. So you can prepare it when Ramkela is cheap and in season.
Summer is the season to make mango pickle. Here are a few tips to prepare mango pickle with the long shelf life:
Choose mangoes carefully. The mangoes should be unripe, hard and spot free.
Dry weather conditions are appropriate to increase the longevity of the pickle, as humid conditions may lead to fungus formation.
Wash the mangoes thoroughly and wipe them properly with a clean kitchen towel before cutting.
Always apply turmeric powder and salt to the pieces of mango pickle and then spread them on a clean cotton sheet (the colour of the sheet should not bleed) under the sun to let them dry for two to three hours. They will start sweating after some time due to the salt content and heat of the sun. Remove all the secreted juice from the pieces. This step is very crucial to increase the shelf life of mango pickle.
Use only mustard oil to make this pickle. To reduce the pungency of mustard oil, heat it in a pan till smoke point. Allow it to cool down to room temperature before adding two mango pieces.
Use high-quality whole spices and coarsely grind them fresh in a grinder. Do not use store-bought ground spices. Store-bought ground spices can diminish the taste and aroma of the pickle.
To coat the mango pieces with spices, make a mixture adding only half the quantity of mustard oil and all the spices. Keep remaining mustard oil aside to top the pickle when stored in jar.
Mix well this oil-spice mixture with the cut mango pieces. Each piece should be well coated with the masala mix.
Give a rest of two-three hours and then mix it again. Store these spicy mango pieces in a sterilised glass jar only. Also pour the remaining oil on the top and cover the mouth of the jar with a clean cotton cloth tying it tightly. Mango pickle should always be submerged in mustard oil. If there will be no oil on the top surface, the pickle will start to spoil. Keep checking the pickle after every 25-30 days and if the oil on the top layer is soaked by the pickle, pour some more mustard oil after heating it to smoke point and then cooling
After preparing, keep the pickle jar in sunlight for a week to 10 days. Then put the jar in a warm corner of the kitchen. Check after 25-30 days whether the mango pieces are softened and the pickle is ready or not.
Always use clean and dry spoon while handling this pickle. The pickle will stay good for a very long time if proper hygiene is taken care of.