Easy Homemade Pickles Recipe – Taste of Sri Lanka

Easy Homemade Pickles Recipe - Taste of Sri Lanka

Types of pickles

Homemade pickles are made out of vegetables and fruits. There are mainly three types of pickles. They are fresh, fermented, and refrigerated pickles. In Sri Lanka, among local consumers, fresh pickles are more popular such as, lime mango, Ceylon olive (Veralu), June plum, pineapple, rose apple, and many more exotic fruits. There is also Malley pickle, which is a combination of both fruits and veggies. 

Fermented pickles

But, among types of homemade pickles, fermented pickles are the most famous type of pickles. These are made by immersing selected one or more fruits or/and vegetables in brine, vinegar, or some other solutions and allowing the mixture to ferment for a certain period. Fermented pickles are made from bacterial fermentation.

Out of fermented pickles, without a doubt, the classic pickle would be a cucumber pickle. But there are other fruits and vegetables used in homemade pickling like asparagus, beets, bell peppers, blueberries, cauliflower, carrots, etc.

Role of cucumber in pickles

Role of cucumber in pickles
Role of cucumber in pickles

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) has been the vegetable of choice for both homemade pickles and commercial pickles for ages. The Lactobacillus bacteria, which is naturally present on the cucumber peels during growth, is what causes the pickle to go through Lacto-fermentation. Pickled cucumbers are often part of mixed pickles as well.

The best cucumbers for pickling  

The diversity of cucumbers is so great. Regarding homemade pickles, pretty much any type of cucumber can be used for pickling, but true “pickling” cucumbers are with thinner skins, crunchy texture, and smaller seeds.

Spices for pickles

Homemade pickles with spices are more desirable with heightened flavor. One example would be the cucumber pickle with dill. It is commonly known as dill pickle as it uses dill seeds. It is an ancient Indian spice. In pickling, dill seeds are added with other flavor-packed spices, like mustard seeds, garlic, and pepper. Most homemade pickle recipes call for whole spices for fresher and more concentrated flavor than ground spices.

Vinegar for pickling

Using good vinegar is crucial for giving a good taste to homemade pickles. The best vinegar would be distilled white vinegar. It is desirable because it is a clear, colorless vinegar with a mellow aroma. The tart acid flavor of the vinegar does not affect the color of the light-colored vegetables or fruits. In using commercial vinegar, vinegar with a 5% acetic acid content is recommended. 

Water bath canning of pickles

Once pickling is completed, to preserve the pickle, canning is done. Since pickles are sufficiently high in acid, they are to be canned via a method called water bath canning, where jars are submerged in boiling water for a prescribed amount of time to destroy any pathogen in the food and create a seal, thereby rendering the jars shelf-stable.

Homemade pickles vs store-bought pickles

There are pros and cons of both commercial pickles and homemade pickles. Store-bought pickles are produced using preservatives which can be harmful in the long run. But homemade pickles are much fresher and much better for health. Although, wrong hygienic practices can be a threat to your health in making homemade pickles. So, following correct protocols in making homemade pickles is a must.

Health benefits of pickles

Health benefits of pickles
Health benefits of pickles

Fermented pickles are full of probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts. They are important in fighting off bad bacteria in your gut and improving gut health. Also, these probiotics lower the pH level in the colon, which helps the stool to move faster. The antioxidant in pickles helps reduce cell damage and thereby helps prevent cancers.

Benefits of eating pickles before bed

Pickles can be considered a great midnight snack. They’re a great snack at any time of the day. They are incredibly low calories and they give the consumer crunchy satisfaction for the taste buds.

Through research, it has been discovered that pickles are capable of boosting serotonin, which is the chemical responsible for managing our moods. So, some pickles before bed can reduce levels of depression or anxiety disorders. To initiate good sleep, pickles are a good choice as it increases Melatonin, the chemical responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles and plays an important role in sleep health.

Pickles for weight loss

Pickles aid in weight loss. Vinegar consists of acetic acid and helps in lowering your body weight. The presence of acetic acid keeps food in your stomach for a prolonged time, suppressing your appetite, and resulting in a lower food intake.

Health benefits of pickle juice

Pickle juice could help restrain your appetite by stabilizing blood sugar and so helps in losing weight. Gulping down pickle juice adds the probiotic benefit, improving digestion and metabolism and providing similar benefits as pickles.

Health benefits of mango pickles.

Research has discovered that mango pickles are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C, which not only strengthen your immunity, but also help in eradicating free radicals, and prevent cell damage reducing the risk of cancer. It is healthy for your eye and skin health as well.

Side effects of pickles

Excessive consumption of pickles every day has some potential to cause health problems. High salt intake with pickles leads to upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and discomfort. Furthermore, high salt, and vinegar, combined with gastric juice would cause burning sensations in your stomach resulting in gastric cancer. Excessive vinegar intake along with pickles weakens and erodes the enamel of teeth, causing cavities. Additionally, hypoglycemia with very little blood glucose leads to anxiety, dizziness, and drowsiness. 

And you guessed right, by avoiding excessive consumption and maintaining a healthy consumption pattern, you could definitely boost your health by eating different pickles. 

What makes Sri Lankan pickles unique?

Sri Lankan pickles often incorporate fresh ingredients like fruits, chilies, and curry leaves, along with vegetables, creating a flavorful and slightly sweet-spicy taste profile different from traditional American pickles.

Is this recipe easy for beginners?

Yes! This recipe from “Taste of Sri Lanka” is designed to be straightforward. It uses basic ingredients and techniques, making it perfect for first-time pickle makers.

What vegetables can I use in this recipe?

The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. While the original recipe might suggest options like carrots, onions, or green mangoes, you can experiment with other vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, or even cucumbers for a more familiar twist.

What kind of vinegar should I use?

White vinegar is a common choice for pickling, but you can also explore options like apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar for slightly different flavor profiles.

How spicy are these pickles?

The spice level is adjustable! The recipe might use ingredients like chilies or curry leaves. You can control the amount you add based on your preference.

How long will these homemade pickles last?

Stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, these pickles can last for several weeks.

What are some safety concerns with homemade pickles?

Improperly sealed or processed pickles can harbor bacteria. Ensure you follow the recipe’s sterilization instructions and store them in the refrigerator to minimize spoilage risks.

Can I find pre-made Sri Lankan pickles in the US?

While not as widely available as traditional dill pickles, some specialty stores or online retailers might offer Sri Lankan pickles. Making your own allows for customization and potentially fresher ingredients.

What can I eat these pickles with?

Sri Lankan pickles are a versatile condiment. Enjoy them alongside rice dishes, curries, grilled meats, or even add them to sandwiches or wraps for a flavor boost.

What other Sri Lankan recipes can I explore?

This recipe is a great introduction to Sri Lankan flavors! Websites like “Taste of Sri Lanka” offer a variety of authentic recipes to delve deeper into this delicious cuisine.

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