Picture this: On a hot summer afternoon, when you’re all set to relax under an air-cooler, your home suddenly becomes a hub of activity. Voila, you’re surrounded by people from two or three generations of your family tree, and enveloped by the tangy smell of raw mangoes overpowering your senses.

The raw feel of the spices that you are bound to feel, and some epic fun stories that are sure to come your way… yes, you’re intrigued and drawn in. Apart from soaring temperatures, delicious mangoes and lazy holidays, summers in the Telanagana region have another thing in common – pickle-making, especially in the month of May.

“As a teenager, I’ve spent amazing time with my mom, aunts and grandmothers during this time. Everyone would gather around in one place and start making pickles of multiple , with random jokes, stories and leg pulling flying around,” says 70-year-old Vani Devi. Talking about the changes she has seen over time, she adds, “Yes, for sometime in between, things went down as people started preferring readymade pickles, but, now, I see the trend of making them at home coming back. We still make our own pickles every year. It’s an opportunity to pass on some tricks, and collect memories, both old and new.”

Most grandmothers invoke their beloved God while mixing pickles; when asked about the reason behind this, Vani says, “It’s what we have been doing for generations now. It is believed that by doing so, we send in positivity and love into the food we are making which will, in turn, benefit the person eating.” The practice sure does keep the environment happy and positive.

“While the process seems simple enough, one has to pay utmost attention and care while making pickles,” says Priya Sudha Kompella, who runs S Agri Foods, a firm that specialises in pickles. “The process for most pickles is the same and known to all, but its execution is the tricky part.

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Choose the right mango
There is a different type of mango that suits different pickles. Based on the kind of pickle you wish to make, you can pick and choose the raw mangoes. Once you get them home, soak the mangoes in a bucketful of water, remove after an hour and wipe them dry with a clean cloth. Spread them on a clean cloth and let them dry for some time. This ensures whatever moisture residue might have been there, will evaporate.

Cut, spice it up, mix well
Cut the mangoes in a size of your choice and based on the nature of your pickle. To do this, you’ll need a special kind of knife, the one attached to a long wooden plank. There are two ways to do this – one, where you can get the mangoes cut in the market itself, where there will be people cutting them for you for a nominal price. Second, when you want to make huge quantities of pickle and are particular about hygiene, then, there are people who can come home and do it for you, for the right price.

Take all the necessary ingredients like mirchi powder, salt, menthi podi (fenugreek powder), aava pindi (mustard powder), turmeric powder and mix them well. And, you’re almost there.

Now comes the fun part; add the cut mangoes and the spices in a container and mix them well with nuvvula nune (sesame oil) and put all your energy into mixing them well.

Once you are done with mixing, store them in the jaadi (ceramic container) and allow it to marinate properly. Give it 2-4 days and, then, get some hot rice, pure ghee and your fresh mango pickle and dive right in!

Popular pickles

  • Nune avakaya
  • Endu avakaya
  • Chekku/Thokku pacchadi
  • Turimina pacchadi
  • Bellam avakaya
  • Pallila avakaya
  • Chinna mukkala pacchadi
  • Purnapu avakaya
  • Velluli avakaya
  • Menthi avakaya
  • Maagaya
  • Pesara avakaya
  • Pulihora avakaya
  • Allam avakaya
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Shopping hotspots

  • For mangoes
  • Monda Market, Secunderabad
  • Mozamjahi Market, Abids
  • Sultan Bazaar/Koti
  • Gudimalkapur Market
  • Kothapet Market
  • Bowenpally Market
  • Madannapet Market
  • Rythu Bazaars in various parts of the city

For the jaadi
Monda market, Uppal road, Koti, Mozamjahi market, Tarnaka, Dilsukhnagar, Erragadda, Gudimalkapur, Miyapur, Kompally, and in the city outskirts where we can see a lot of roadside vendors selling them.

Pointers for the process

– Clean the equipment properly before use.
– Keep all the wet things away!
– Use dry cloth to wipe each mango and each piece once they are cut.
– Remove the jeedi or the brownish layer before mixing it.

– If you are mixing the pickle with your hands, apply a few drops of oil on to your palms before mixing them in to protect your hands from the onslaught of spices.
– The other option is to have your gloves on and use ladles to do the mixing.
– Be it spices, oil, or mangoes, better results are obtained by using proper measurements.

– Once your pickles are done, store them in the jaadi or the special ceramic jar and shut it properly.
– You can also pour some oil on top. It helps the pickle to marinate well and also aids in the pickles’ longevity.

Hygiene first

  • Wash and dry your hands and legs thoroughly before coming into the preparation zone.
    Put on some face and hair masks to avoid any contamination.
  • Usage of gloves can come in handy, especially when you are mixing spices. Depending on the size of the pieces, raw mangoes can get very hard, at times like these, gloves can help protect your hands.
  • If you need to mix the pickle with your hands, make sure that your nails are properly trimmed and there are no cuts on your hands.
  • Keep physical contact of the mixture to bare minimum.
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Store it right

  • Wipe the jaadi clean and leave it to dry before storing the pickle in it.
  • Pouring some oil into the jaadi before and after you add the pickle is an effective hack to ensure its longer life.
  • The lid of the jaadi is very loose, therefore, cannot protect the pickle from the moisture content in the air. Tying a clean white cloth around the jaadi and around the lid will help you overcome this obstacle.
  • You can transfer little amounts into a smaller container for regular use. While doing so, make sure that the spoon you use is completely dry; even slight moisture can spoil the entire pickle.
  • Add adequate salt and oil as salt and oil act as preservatives in pickles.
  • The oil layer floating above the pickle blocks the moisture from any contact with the pickle.

How to pick your jaadi
Come summer, most of the Telugu families wait for the season, as they would like prepare and relish the tangy-spicy avakaya which can be stored year-long. So, one has to definitely pay attention to the storage part, and ceramic is the best option which does not allow the moisture to penetrate while keeping the pickle fresh.

Most of the traditional houses have the brown and cream colour ceramic jaadis, which are, till date, available in the market. Depending on the quantity of pickle that needs to be stored we can find the jaadis in different shapes and sizes, and the prices vary with the size. The cost of the jaadis usually range from Rs 200 to Rs 1,500. To identify the best ceramic container, the vendor would make a sharp clinging sound to ensure that the jar has not broken. #KhabarLive

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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.