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From Grandma's Storage Room to Your Fridge: The Evolution of Pickle Preservation

Mangai Thokku (Grated Cooked Mango Pickle) by Girijapaati

Team Girija Paati |

“My grandmother never refrigerated her pickles, why do we need to refrigerate yours?”
You may or may not have asked us this question, either way we want to share the reason behind asking customers to refrigerate our pickles.
We have two types of pickles, cooked and uncooked and the natural life of both are completely different.

Milagai Curry - Green Chilli Tamarind Cooked Pickle - from Girija Paati

All COOKED pickles such as Thokkus, Curries and Pastes have been grated, finely chopped or mashed and then heated with oil and spices. While made with lots of love, whether by your grandmother or Girijapaati, these pickles are short-life pickles for immediate consumption. To extend their life, refrigeration is a must as it prevents bacterial growth and spoilage, which can affect the quality and safety of the pickles.

Nellikai Thokku - Amla Cooked Pickle by Girijapaati

Girijapaati's UNCOOKED pickles, though they traditionally have a long shelf life, should also be refrigerated as customers may not be able to follow traditional storage methods used by grandmothers.

Some steps traditionally followed by Indian grandmothers to preserve pickles:
  • Keeping in a dark, cool, dry place: The containers are kept in a dark, cool, dry place to prevent spoilage.
  • Turning the pickle regularly: The pickle is turned regularly with a dry ladle to ensure even fermentation.
  • Topping up with oil: The pickle is topped up with oil to ensure there's a protective layer on top.
  • Skimming off yeast formation: A yeast layer may form on top of fermenting pickles as part of the natural process. Grandmothers usually just skim this off before turning and topping off with oil. However, today people are uncomfortable with this formation and feel that the pickle is spoilt.
  • Following these steps helps to preserve the pickles and gives them a unique flavour and texture that cannot be achieved by modern methods. We follow all these steps in our preparation method, however once it’s shipped to a customer we cannot expect them to do the same given their extremely demanding lifestyles. Refrigeration is a convenient and reliable method of preserving pickles without the need for preservatives or complicated storage techniques.
    One more reason we recommend refrigeration for certain pickles, such as Avakkai (Crunchy Raw Mango) and Kadugu Mangai (Tender Mango) is to keep them crisp. If these pickles keep fermenting, the fruit will naturally get softer and not everyone enjoys that.

    Kadugu Mangai - Tender Mango Pickle by Girijapaati

    Ultimately, we need to preserve our food traditions while adapting to an evolving world and ever faster lifestyle. This approach encourages more people to eat traditionally healthy foods despite their hectic lifestyles, rather than opting for convenient but significantly lesser healthy options. 

    Try our traditional, cooked pickles such as Mangai Thokku (Mango), Nellikai Thokku (Amla), Milagai Curry (Green Chilli Tamarind), Kovil Puliyodharai (Tamarind Rice Mix Paste), Puli Inji (Ginger, Tamarind Jaggery).

    Enjoy our old-fashioned, long-life pickles such as Avakkai (Chunky Cut Mango), Spicy Lime, Kadugu Mangai (Tender Mango), Mahani (Sarsaparilla)

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