Today I have a big honour and pleasure to guest post for my friend Charles from Five Euro Food. I strongly encourage you to pay him a visit and browse through his inspiring recipes from such different parts of the world as Sweden, Britain or Tunisia, watch his impressive cooking videos, admire his breathtaking photos from trips in France or simply say hello. I know Charles shares my passion for home preserves and September being the preserving month par excellence, I have decided to share with you and him my latest pickling experiment.
Even though I prepare some jams, most of my pantry jars contain savoury sauces, jellies and pickles. Mango is the main ingredient of several types of hot sauces and chutneys I prepare every year, but I haven’t tried pickling it until now. If, like me, you are a fan of Indian pickled mango, you will understand that this was the first recipe I started to look for. Unfortunately, Indian pickles are prepared with expensive green mangoes, and, most of all, I found only short-term preserving recipes. I desperately wanted to use the easily available yellow mangoes and to keep the pickles in my pantry for at least a year, so I ventured into something completely new. I kept Indian flavours and combined them with the foolproof European long-term pickling method I use with cucumbers and peppers (click here to see my beloved Pickled Peppers or Hot Chili Peppers).
The experiment was risky, but proved worthwhile. Tasted after a couple of days (I had to make sure I present you an edible recipe!), the pickled mango has exceeded my expectations. I feared the excessive sweetness and softness of the fruit, but they were perfectly balanced by chili peppers, vinegar and powerful spices. The scarce amount of oil I poured on top of every jar tamed down the harshness of the vinegar and mellowed the flavours. I can already see these aromatic mangoes bringing sunshine to my winter meals.
TIP: If you don’t care for long-term pickles, you can skip the processing stage and keep these pickles in the fridge for at least several weeks.
If you don’t like hot flavours, skip the chili.
The riper the mangoes, the softer the pickles will be. Even those made with quite firm fruits were rather soft (nothing to do with crunchy vinegared cucumbers).
Preparation: 1 h + processing
Ingredients (makes about 8 x 300ml/about 10 fl oz jars):
3 mangoes (not too ripe, still firm)
600 ml/about 2,5 cups vinegar (4,5%)
500 ml/about 2 cups water
150 g/2/3 cup caster sugar
3 flat tablespoons salt
3 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons white mustard
8 garlic cloves
about 8 thin slivers fresh ginger
2 bird’s-eye-chilis (or any hot chili variety; the amount depends on how hot you want your pickles)
8 tablespoons good quality oil (I prefer olive oil)
Roast nigella, fenugreek, cumin and mustard seeds in a dry frying pan until they start to pop.
Put them aside.
Put on gloves. Cut the chilis into slices, discarding the seeds.
Peel the mangoes and cut them into more or less equal square pieces.
Fill empty, thoroughly washed and dried jars with mango pieces (no more than 2/3 jars’ height and not tightly packed), add garlic cloves (one per jar), toasted spices (a teaspoon per jar), two chili slices and one ginger sliver per jar.
Bring the marinade to the boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring well until all the sugar is dissolved.
Fill the jars with hot – not boiling – marinade, leaving 1,5 cm from the rim.
Pour a tablespoon of oil in each jar. Close the jars and let them cool down.
/At this point you can either keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks or process the jars, as described below, and store them in your pantry for at least a year!/
Place the cool jars in a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to the boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 15 minutes (if you use bigger jars, increase the processing time; I usually process 500 ml jars for 20 minutes).
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the pickle and don’t forget to mark the date.
Wait at least a couple of weeks before opening the jars. As most pickles, these should improve with time.
NOTE: For the readers who live in the USA, the USDA-approved canning method is different. You can find it described here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html.