Jan 11, 2010

Backyard Oranges Pickle!

We planted a little orange and lemon tree last spring. We were told by everyone that orange trees usually take about 4-5 years to grow big and then start giving fruit. So, I had no hopes for another few years.

But, nature has its own way of working. My little orange tree had about 5 beautiful oranges. Don't these look gorgeous? So, when the color was full, and there was a nice orange smell to it, we plucked one and tried it. Oh man...this is definitely a fruit - but not an orange yet. It was so sour. Taste wise, I would wait for another 4 years! These were as sour as green limes. So, there you go - make pickle when oranges are sour - wait...what ..that's not a saying. Well, let's make it one.

So, I called my pickle queen friend Indu! She has immense amounts of interest and patience in making so many many things. The last many times I've been to her house, she's always served great food with great pickle - all of which was homemade. I bow down to her culinary skills! So, I called her and she gave me this recipe for Orange pickle. She just recently made it at home with her sour oranges! Perfect. She had also made an orange thokku with it. More on that next time I have another batch of sour oranges.

I always thought making pickles was a very intensive laborious difficult process. But, when I made it - it was nothing like that at all. Infact, there was hardly any work in it. You'll see - really.

Here is my beautiful little Orange tree.



These four babies are soon going to turn into a spicy delicious pickle!


To begin with, boil water in a wide pan.  We will need to cook the oranges well so that the skin gets a little soft. You can also pressure cook the oranges but that might turn the skin mushy. So, I just cooked them in boiling water.


Put the oranges in the boiling water. Close the pan with a lid and let the oranges cook for about 15 mins.


There, after 15 mins. These look like tennis balls to me!


Can you tell if they are cooked? Touch your screen...come on. See..they are done.


Cut the oranges one at a time into small wedges. A word of caution - the juice starts to flow out the minute you cut the orange. So, keep a mixing bowl next to this - squeeze out the juice a little bit in it and then cut the orange. Remove all seeds and discard. (Or plant new trees with those!)


Take all the wedges and the juice in a mixing bowl. This needs to completely cool down before you do anything. So, do this and walk away for about an hour. Or go watch some tv. Or go for a jog. Whatever you want to do.

When completely cooled, add a lot of salt to this. A lot. About 4 tbsp maybe. I did not measure - I kind of just kept adding until I thought it will be salty enough. Just a rough measurement, add 3 times the amount of salt to taste.

Add Kashmiri red chilli. Again, a lot of it. This type of chilli powder gives a wonderful color and at the same time is mild spicy.Again about 4 tbsp.


Gently mix with a fork - just about 4-5 strokes. Don't mix it too much.


Now, you will need Sesame Oil (Nalla ennai) to make pickles. This is the only oil suggested for pickles. I don't know why - maybe this oil helps keep the pickle for a long time. But, you do need this. I used about 3/4th of this bottle - a lot of oil. Yes. I know. Not healthy. But, we are talking pickles here and you are probably going to eat 1/2 tsp of the pickle each day. So, relax. Have a soda - now that probably has more calories than 1/2 tsp of our oil drenched pickle.


Heat up the oil in a pan. When the oil is really hot, add about 1 tsp of mustard seeds. And also a pinch of asofoetida powder. The oil has to reach a really hot smoking point.


Pour the hot hot hot oil directly over the pickle mix. Don't be doing this and taking pictures with one hand like I did here - not recommended!

You can hear the big Hisssss sound and see that the hot oil literally cooks all the pickle mix. Soon, the red chilli powder will start to float to the top.


There, its' beginning to settle in.


Can you see the oranges in there now? The thing to keep in mind is that at any point, there should be about 1 inch of oil on top of the pickle pieces. This acts as a preservative and keeps the pickle fresh.


When all the bubbles have settled, and the mixture is cooled down well, transfer this into a pickle jar, or a glass bottle or container that is completely dry. From this point, the pickle should not come into contact with water or any other moisture to maintain the life of the pickle.


Can you see the almost 1 inch of oil on top of the pickle? You will need this much oil to keep the pickle fresh. Let this rest for a day - you can actually try to eat it right away - but the orange skins would still be a little bitter. Give it a few days and the pickle will be perfect!


And there it is - Ladies and Gentlemen, my homemade Backyard Oranges Pickle!


Enjoy. Peace out!


  1. I love the name of the pickle.. :) The tree looks cute with those oranges :)

  2. Wow....They looks sooo droolicious!!! I admit, I am carried away by your style of writing! It makes the recipe all the more interesting! First time here, you have an awesome collection..Will be back often! :)

  3. Its beautiful, the plant! i love love LOVE growing what i eat. hope to do more of it soon :)

  4. The previous comment was before i took a look at the rest of the post. now that i have, its WOW! are those oranges ripe btw? is this a sweet and hot pickle or is that more like naarthangai? (assuming u know tamil)

  5. Omg, wat a beautiful plant u have...spicy orange pickles looks incredible..

  6. lovely mouth watering pickle with a nice colour.

  7. Pickle is different. Apart from that, I loved the fruits in the plant/tree

  8. Excellent pickle ... love the name you have given too.

  9. I always adore ur step by step instruction dear..great work and keep going

  10. Very nice post.. My mouth has already watering

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  12. never had orange pickle,sounds gr8..first time here,nice and unique layout...

  13. I usually make orange peel chutney but never heard of a pickle but the pickle seems nice and lovely from the picture.I shall surely try this soon.

  14. Orange pickle sounds new to me...looks gud!

  15. Wow! I fell in love with your orange tree .I have an small patch of organic garden .I am going to try growing orange trees. I make pickle out of orange skin .They taste like narthangai .Your pickle and step by step pics look awesome! New to your blog. Do drop by http://padhuskitchen.blogspot.com/ when time permits.

  16. that is one amazing looking tree and love the outcome.

  17. Looks super, very nice variation from Lemon & Narthangai pickle. I just love the way you do your posts, step by step with so many photots. Awesome keep rocking.

  18. Nice to see an organic pickle.....Tasty with curd rice

  19. This is a unique pickle. Nice idea!

  20. Anu....U did a really great job with ur posts here...
    Hrmm hrmmm !! thanks for the title though...Pickle Queen haa?? Strangely enough, I do seem to like it a bit :)
    I admire your patience and passion to do these blogs and definitely the pickle looks more deliciously tempting in your words , than it looks in my coffee bottle :))

  21. Your orange tree is so cute! How wonderful to get oranges your first year.

    Thanks for giving the step-by-step on making the pickle. Since you are using homegrown ingredients, would you like to enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month? Full details at


  22. Dear Anu

    Hats off to you for your this wonderful pickle. You have tremendous patience.

  23. Great simple recipe. Very useful specially with pics. It gives a idea of how things come out. Thank you.

  24. hi,
    tried this a few days back. yest. it got over. i used 3 oranges, really sweet ones, not sour. i used hardly 1/4 cup oil. i should say that the oil was not visible in the pickle. it tasted great, but i kept it in the fridge as it was not having sufficient oil. it remained really fresh from the first to the last day.(15days) i could use it from the first day. going to make again with really sweet oranges.

  25. Hi,
    I like looking at the pictures and after reading the recipe now I am going to try it out.


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