The art of pickling with Geeta Malhotra
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The art of pickling with Geeta Malhotra

The balmy Winter sun is upon us and the air feels just perfect to indulge in some pickles

The art of pickling with Geeta Malhotra

The balmy Winter sun is upon us, the cold winds are breathing their last, and the air feels just perfect to indulge in some pickles.

Pickles are vegetables stored in oil. In India, any simple can be made more tasteful with a little pickle on the side. It comes as a perfect homemade special and a luxury for those living away from family.

"People who try my pickles tell me that it is just like how their mother and grandmother made. This is the biggest compliment anyone can receive," says Geeta Malhotra, a resident of Himalaya Pride who has recently started her pickle business.

Geeta has been making pickles since her childhood. "I got this talent from my grandmother and mother in law and will teach the same to my daughter in law", she says.

Earlier, she made pickles just for herself and her family but now carrying them as a business. She delivers her pickles to all nearby societies of Noida. Nearly, 30 kg pickle is available at all times in her flat. Soon, Geeta plans to open her shop in Noida.

Her best selling pickles are carrot, radish, Mango, red chilly, sweet lemon pickle, and cauliflower radish turnip pickle. City spidey asked why pickles get spoiled before time? she said, " one must never add coriander in the pickles. This is the major cause of pickles getting spoilt and the oil must be always mustard only."

Geeta says, “ my mango pickle has a dominant saunf and kalonji flavour. The taste is delightful with a balance of tanginess and sourness with a bit of spice. The ratio of spices used for the mango chunks is managed. Her pickle contains more mango than the masala." Her lemon pickle is also among her special which takes 6-8 months to completely turn black. The main role is of carom seeds (ajwain ) and black salt. The darker it is, the better it is for your digestive system.

According to Geeta, the taste of pickles too lie in the integration of spices and vegetables. "One must ensure the proper ratio of the masalas like the cloves, fenugreek seeds, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin etc."

Geeta explains that for a longer shelf life of pickles, it is essential to dry the water content in the fruit or vegetable which you intend to pickle.  It takes a minimum of two days to completely dry up.

"Pickles need love and care just like a small child. For longer shelf life, one needs to ensure to sun dry the vegetables thoroughly before adding the spices to them. When I bring the store cut Kairi (raw mango), I instantly wash them and pat them dry and keep them on my balcony.

Apart from this, she suggested, grinding your spices, you should roast them, as roasting not only enhances the flavour and improves the taste, but it removes the moisture as well. Because any amount of moisture can spoil a pickle and can lead to the development of fungus.

She also shared a few tips -
Always make sure to wipe the spoon properly before dipping it in your pickle jar.
Pickles should be stored in a cool and dry place without any moisture.
Shaking well the pickle jar from time to time to ensure that it is always covered with a layer of oil. The oil acts as a natural preservative and prevents the pickle from going dry from the top.

Apart from the pickles, she flaunts her jar of chutney. Her hot garlic chutney is one of her specials that she claims will last for 2 years even without a fridge.