FOOD | Achara

My Mommy Fe makes the best achara in the whole wide world. She probably reads my blog, so I’d like to tell her I miss her achara very much and I hope she would be kind enough to send me a huge bottle soon. The bottle should be marked “for Ate only.”

It has been said that pickling started in India using cucumbers 4 thousand years ago. They called their pickles “achar.” I am not surprised Filipino pickles are called “achara” because Indian traders have been in contact with native Filipinos way before the Spaniards came to our shores.  Another trivia I found about pickling: early voyagers, such as Magellan and Columbus, stocked on pickles to keep their men supplied with vitamin C. Seafarers were often stricken with scurvy, which was caused by a lack of vitC often found in fruits and vegetables. In fact, Amerigo Vespucci, after whom America was named, was a pickle trader.

Because I’ve been living without a refrigerator for almost five months now, I’ve been pickling some of my vegetables to go with everything I eat. I did not buy papaya to pickle. Instead, I used cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, ampalaya and onions. I added white vinegar, a little sugar, and some peppercorn. I shake and shake, and voila! I had pickles! They were best eaten the day after, or days after.


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