Pickles are a great way to enjoy all kinds of seasonal vegetables throughout the year. Here in India, we practically have pickles for almost every vegetable(and even for some meat and fish). We can safely say this, most Indian meals are incomplete without the addition of pickles.
One of the most common pickles available to us is the lemon pickle. Available throughout the year, many Indian meals are incomplete without a customary dollop of lemon pickle to accompany our dal chawal or curd-rice.
Lemon is an important part of Indian cuisine; called nimbu in Hindi, lemons in India are greenish-yellow in colour. Additionally, a similar botanical fruit, lime is also called limbu in India, though the main difference is in the colour. Lemons and Limes have the same sour and tangy taste, while lemons are smaller and greener, limes are comparatively larger in size and yellow. Do not confuse this with sweet lime or ‘mosambi’ as it is known in Hindi. These are sweet fruits that have a tangy taste.
Lemon pickles, sweet lemon pickles, mango pickles (in various forms) and various other types of pickles are somewhat unique to south Asian cuisine. For many westerners, their meals consist of a main and a seasoning (powdered, mostly salt and pepper) accompaniment, but here in India, a simple meal of dal chawal has a variety of accompaniments- a pickle, papads (rice crackers), chutneys and the like. Each accompaniment enhances the taste of the dish. Though some have their meals without these accompaniments, one question that always lingers is-
Why is pickle so important in our diet?
For many of us, our meals are incomplete without the enhancing flavours and tastes of pickles
They aid in digestion.
They make sure the gut doesn’t get flooded with pathogens.
They provide the body with additional sources of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
They provide the body with healthy bacteria so that it can produce vitamins like vitamin B12.
For millions of Indian households, lemon pickle is a great source of nutrition while also giving them the distinctive taste of lemon that everyone yearns for.
What’s more? These pickles come power-packed with a host of health benefits. Let us see some of the health benefits of lemon pickle.
Our bones health tends to deteriorate as we age, especially for women. If there is lack of calcium and iron, our bones tend to become weak. To ensure complete health for your bones, you must have foods with nutrients that can boost your bones health. Lemon pickles have vitamin A and magnesium that are needed for healthy bones.
Every part of the body needs its fix of blood. Fluctuations in blood pressure can be dangerous. Adding a small quantity of lemon pickle to your daily meals can give you all the necessary amounts of potassium, iron and calcium which helps control blood pressure.
Lemon pickle is known to have vitamin B which helps to strengthen the immune system. Small quantities of lemon pickle with each meal are ideal for a healthy immune system.
Lemons have a lot of vitamin C which helps in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Additionally, they also have fiber and plant compounds that protect you from getting heart disease.
Lemons have an enzyme that aids digestion. A healthy digestive tract can help prevent other health issues like acne(pimples) and weight gain. Lemon pickle is also recommended for those who suffer from kidney stones.
A few last words
It is safe to say this- Indian food is incomplete without achar. Whether you prefer lemon pickle (nimbu ka achar) or mango pickle, having a small amount of pickle with your food not only tastes good but is also beneficial for your health. What’s best, lemon pickle doesn’t go bad for months, provided you keep it in your fridge and use a clean and dry spoon to scoop it out.
Many people fall in love with pickles after tasting them in restaurants and wedding receptions, it’s time for all of us to embrace this humble accompaniment and relish it with all our meals.