It’s going to be a good mango year. We are already eating the first of the ripe ones, but we have five trees loaded, mostly still green. The possums and parrots will get a lot of them, but there will still be more than we can eat. The neighbours all have mangoes too, so there’s a limit to the number can be given away.
But just having a glut isn’t enough incentive for me to make preserves on its own. It takes a bit of work, and energy, and salt/vinegar/sugar/oil to make preserves, none of which I really need more of! This recipe is frugal on the work and energy, but really it’s not for the sake of keeping mangoes I make pickles. It’s for the sake of a condiment, a little bit of flavour sparkle to go with curries or dhal, or on crackers with cheese. Just a little spoonful of a really good Indian pickle can make a very plain lentils and rice dish seem like a feast.
This is an Indian type, oil based pickle, with a fair amount of spiciness.
One Day Before Bottling Day:
You need 12 cups of diced green mango, skin on. Choose mangoes that are full size but still hard. Mine at this stage yield a cup per mango.
Layer the diced mango in a large jar or bowl or crock with a scant teaspoon per mango of salt (ie, 12 scant teaspoons, or about 3 tablespoons of salt).
Leave the jar out in the sun for the day.
Put some jars and their lids on to boil for 10 minutes or pressure cook for 5 minutes to sterilize them. You can use any kind of jar with a lid that pops as you open it. Nearly any kind of jar with a metal lid from the supermarket these days is this kind. Salt and vinegar and oil do the preserving in pickles, so in the olden days they wouldn’t even have required an airtight seal, but since these jars are so easily available, you might as well make use of them.
Drain the diced mango well, then put it in a big pot with:
- 2 cups of olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 3 teaspoons of hot chili powder, or 3 dried hot chilis crushed (more if your chilis are milder).
- 6 teaspoons of mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon of nigella or onion seeds
- 4 teaspoons of fennel or fenugreek seeds (or half and half of each)
- 4 teaspoons of grated fresh turmeric, or a couple of heaped teaspoons of powder
- 4 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger, or a couple of heaped teaspoons of powder
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- a good grating of black pepper
Bring up to the boil then simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Ladle the hot pickles into hot jars. (If the jars are not hot, they’ll crack). Make sure there is a centimetre or so of oil covering them, then wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth and screw on the lids.
As the jars cool, you will see and hear the lids pop in, creating a concave top and a seal.
Leave at least a week or so before eating. They get better with time, and sealed jars last a long time in a cool dry spot. Once a jar is opened, it’s best stored in the fridge.