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!