What is Achar? Discover the Best-Selling Pickle of India!

India is known for its diverse and flavorful cuisine. One of the most popular condiments in Indian cuisine is Achar, also known as pickles. Achar refers to a variety of pickled fruits and vegetables that are popular throughout India. The word Achar is derived from the Hindi word ‘acharana,’ which means ‘to preserve.’ Pickling is a process that has been used for centuries to preserve food, and it has become a popular way to add flavor to dishes all over the world.

The History of Achar

Pickling has been used as a method of food preservation for centuries. The ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians were known to have preserved food by pickling as far back as 2400 BC. In India, pickling has been a way of preserving food for generations. Every family has its own recipe for making achar, using a variety of fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, lemons, and chilies.

The process of pickling involves preserving food by immersing it in a mixture of oil, vinegar, salt, and spices. The spices used in pickling vary depending on the region and the chosen fruit or vegetable. Some of the popular spices used in achar include cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, and turmeric.

The Most Popular Achar in India

Mango Achar

Mango achar is perhaps the most popular variety of pickle in India. Made with unripe green mangoes, this achar is tangy, sweet, and spicy. It is a perfect accompaniment to any Indian meal from rice and dal to roti and curry. Mango achar is easy to make and can be stored for up to a year.

Lemon Achar

Lemon achar, as the name suggests, is made with whole lemons. This pickle has a sour, tangy, and salty taste with a hint of sweetness. It is usually served with Indian flatbread or used as a dip for fried snacks.

Chili Achar

Chili achar is made with green chilies and is one of the spiciest varieties of pickle. This achar is tangy, spicy, and salty and is typically eaten with rice and dal. It is also used as a dip for fried snacks such as samosas and pakoras.

How to Make Achar

While there are many different recipes for making achar, the basic steps are the same. Here is a simple recipe for making mango achar:

  1. Peel and dice green mangoes.
  2. Add salt and turmeric to the mangoes and mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek, and chili powder.
  4. Add the mangoes to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  5. Add vinegar and sugar to the pan and mix well.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a sterilized jar and store in a cool, dry place.

The Health Benefits of Achar

Achar is not only delicious but also has several health benefits. The spices used in achar are known to have medicinal properties. Here are some health benefits of achar:

Improves Digestion

The spices used in achar such as ginger, cumin, and fenugreek are known to aid digestion. Eating a small amount of achar with meals can help improve digestion and prevent digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.

Boosts Immunity

The spices used in achar such as turmeric and mustard seeds are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming achar can help boost the immune system and prevent illnesses.

Contains Antioxidants

The spices used in achar such as turmeric and mustard seeds are also rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent cellular damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Conclusion

Achar is a versatile and flavorful condiment that is an indispensable part of Indian cuisine. From tangy mango achar to spicy chili achar, there are many different varieties of achar to choose from. Achar not only adds flavor to meals but also has several health benefits. So, the next time you enjoy an Indian meal, be sure to try achar.

FAQs

  • What is Achar?

    Achar refers to a variety of pickled fruits and vegetables that are popular throughout India. The word Achar is derived from the Hindi word ‘acharana,’ which means ‘to preserve.’

  • What are the most popular varieties of Achar?

    The most popular varieties of Achar include mango achar, lemon achar, and chili achar.

  • What are the benefits of eating Achar?

    Achar can aid digestion, boost immunity, and provide antioxidants.

  • What are the spices commonly used in Achar?

    The spices commonly used in Achar include cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, and turmeric.

References

  • Singh, A., & Jain, V. (2016). Traditional Indian fermented foods: a rich source of lactic acid bacteria. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 67(7), 757-765.
  • Waller, J. M., & Baines, D. A. (2013). The microbiology of food: an introduction.

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