I can’t recollect when was the first time that I had tasted the tender mango pickle but ever since then, I’m in love with it. Unfortunately in North India, the tender mangoes are not so readily available unless one has a tree at home, so I never indulged into trying a pickle using them. But in South India, the baby mangoes are readily available in season and I was too eager to brine them and also try the pickle. In this post however I will share how I preserved the tender mangoes in brine. But before I explain further it’s important to know what a brine is..It is basically a salty solution that can be used as a preservative to prevent bacterial growth.
The mangoes chosen for making the brine must be half inch to one inch in width. Mangoes smaller than that turn out bitter in taste. All the utensils used in the process must be sterilized. I normally keep them in oven to dry at 60 C for about half an hour after washing. The tender mangoes should be stemmed, washed and thoroughly dried. Best is to spread them under the fan on a news paper or clean cloth. Before adding the mangoes to the brine, remove a thin layer of skin from the top of the mangoes. This promotes better absorption of flavours.
A week before leaving for my Mom’s place I made the tender mangoes in brine and then kept them in sunlight for about a week, turning the mix regularly everyday. Initially when one makes the brine, it feels that the volume of water is too much and the mangoes seem to be floating on to the top, but one has to remember that the mangoes absorb the brine gradually and become double their size in a few weeks. These mangoes can be used later in the year to make chutneys and relishes. So one has to remember to take less mangoes as compared to the brine and also indulge in a larger size jar or ‘barani’.
While making the brine, I remembered teaching the kid various methods of preserving foods while teaching Science, the most important being pasteurising, drying, pickling, canning and also brining. When I informed the kid that I’m brining the mangoes, he was quite excited to see the process getting performed at home. While preparing the tender mangoes, my science lessons continued, I explained him that the brine solution has a large amount of salt content as compared to the fluids present in the mango cells, so due to diffusion the salt ions from the brine move into the cells. The higher salt content in the cell fluids causes the cells to absorb more water from the brine and that’s how the mangoes swell and increase in volume. Once the mangoes swell they gradually sink to the bottom, one can compare the first and the last picture to understand it.
I also added a few green chillies to the brine to add some spice and flavour to the brine. It’s now almost a month and my mangoes in brine are ready to use. I’ve pushed the jar in the refrigerator for the time being and would use it once the raw mangoes disappear from the market. In dry climate the jar can be kept outside at room temperature but in humid areas it’s better to keep them refrigerated to avoid the risk of spoilage.
Tender Mangoes In Brine
Preparation Time: 60mins | Pickling Time: a month | Difficulty Level: Moderate
25 tender mangoes, stemmed, washed and dried
6-7 green chillies, shredded into 5-6 pieces
1/2 - 3/4cup salt*
1 sterilised jar
Stem the mangoes, wash them thoroughly and transfer to a colander. Once the water drains, spread the mangoes on a clean cloth or news paper and dry them completely.
Wash the green chillies, stem and dry them.
Meanwhile to make the brine, bring the water to a boil, simmer and let it boil for 5mins. Add the salt, let it dissolve completely. Now remove from flame, keep covered and let it cool completely.
Cut a slice from the top of the mango, near the stem to remove a thin layer of the skin. Also, cut the green chillies length wise into 5-6 pieces.
Put the green chillies and mangoes in the sterilised jar and pour the brine, the mangoes and green chillies should be completely immersed in the brine. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean cloth and tie with a string.
Keep the jar in sunlight for a few hours everyday, for 7-8 days. Remember to turn the mangoes ever day using a clean sterilised spoon.
After a week close the jar with the proper lid and mix the contents once every day.
The tender mangoes in brine get ready after a month. These can be store in a cool, dry place for an year or so.
* The salt content should be checked in brine as it acts as the preservative. If it feels less, add more.