Hurda, Sweet Sorghum kernels and Bhimsen Joshi
A Time of Gifts

Usha's Pickle Digest-Pickles and Pickling




For three days now I have been dipping into a fabulous book. Rushina, my foodie friend , journalist and author of the blogs A Perfect Bite and Cook it up with Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal gave me an early birthday/anniversary/Christmas/new year/ present...a handful of cook books. I was overwhelmed with her generosity and now, am even more overwhelmed by all the recipes I am dying to try out.

Out of the cornucopia , "Usha's Pickle Digest" , caught my eye immediately. Subtitled "The Perfect Pickle Recipe Book"  it is one of the most comprehensive books that I have ever come across , written on the subject of pickling . It has 1000 recipes.! Any imaginable vegetable, fruit or leaf has been pickled.

And what recipes....yum-mm... from Ripe Olives in a Fenugreek and Onion Seed pickle to Lotus Stem Achaar, to Green Walnuts in Spiced Vinegar. It is an unusually good book. With an easy to read index, a large glossary, a pickling glossary, and a clear contents page , there are all sorts of extra special features that make this a very special book. Pickling techniques are explained. There is a buying guide, a nutrient saver guide and even a microwave oven guide. One chart I found really helpful is the Sprouts Chart !

The recipes sound marvellous- I cannot wait to begin. They read well, with all ingredients detailed, exact measurements and a point by point method of preparation. Written by Usha R Prabhakaran, and published in 1998, it is invaluable, if only as a record of the kind of pickles that have been made and continue to be made by housewives all over India. And for all professional and amateur picklers everywhere ... freak out, this is the ultimate pickle tome.

I really wish I'd found this book years ago, when my mother in law still had her star fruit tree in the garden in Bangalore, or when we had the the drumstick tree in the back of our bungalow in Delhi.

Sadly the only way of getting this book is by contacting the author.