Pickling is a process in which a fruit, vegetable or meat is preserved for long-term use. The great thing about pickle – especially homemade pickle – is that the preservative used is 100 percent natural… unlike the various chemical additives used as preservatives in the food processing industry. The preservative in your good old-fashioned Achaar is Mustard Oil.
Cold-pressed Mustard Oil is an ancient preservative that has been around for thousands of years. Mustard Oil is known to have originated in the Himalayan foothills at least 5,000 years ago, and food historians tell us that the practice of pickling started around 2030 BCE as a way of preserving fruits and vegetables for consumption during the harsh winter months when food in the snowbound Himalayan region became scarce.
However, Mustard Oil isn’t just a Preserver – it is also a powerful Protector. Cold-pressed Mustard Oil has the ability to protect the fruits, vegetables and meat in pickles from decaying or going bad because it has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This means that no mould or microorganisms can form on the contents of the pickle.
What does all this mean for you? Well, for starters it means that you must be very careful in selecting the Mustard Oil that you use in making your pickles. The best Mustard Oil is natural cold-pressed Mustard Oil that has a golden silken texture and robust pungency. This is the form in which you can be assured that all the nutrients of Mustard Oil (and their health benefits) are intact.
Don’t get deceived by other (sometimes fancy) descriptors like “Refined”, “Double Filtered”, “Low Pungency” and “Non-Smoking”. High-quality cold-pressed Mustard Oil is always pungent; it has a characteristic aroma; and it emits smoke when it is heated. Without these attributes, the Mustard Oil that you buy may actually be of poor quality and may contain impurities.
So when you are selecting the best mangoes, lemons and other ingredients for your delicious homemade pickles, do remember to pay close attention to the most important ingredient: Mustard Oil – the Great Preserver!