Change in the season and arrival of summer means different things to many people. Children wait for their vacation to commence; fashionistas get busy to redo their wardrobe, and parents plan their leave to explore interesting destinations.

But grannies of this State are getting ready to prepare tangy-spicy avakai for the year ahead.

Though the preparation of assorted pickles starts during summer, it takes a little effort to preserve it for a long time. From selecting the appropriate variety of raw mangoes to blending in the oil and spices, experts say that care should be taken in each and every aspect of the preparation.

After procuring the required ingredients from the market such as ‘avapindi’ (mustard powder), ‘karam’ (dry chilli powder), gingelly oil, and mangoes, the real work starts at home. In a few households, men also join the womenfolk in the traditional pickle preparation.

First, the ceramic containers ( jadi ) will be washed, dried thoroughly, and kept dust free. Similarly, mangoes are washed, wiped well with dry cloth before slicing them into equal pieces. Again, these delicious homemade pickles take different forms such as bellam-avakai , nuvvu-avakai , pesaravakai , menthikaya , avakai , maagai , pachhavakai , thokkudu-pachidi , and the list goes on.

“For each variety, the proportion of spices varies depending on the size of the mangoes and quantity to be prepared,” 84-year-old Chaganti Venkata Ramanamma said.

“Normally, the raw mangoes for pickles should be tangy and firm with a lot of fibre content. Pickles made of tender mangoes may not stay for a long time. Similarly, pickles made of ripe mangoes will neither be tasty nor have a shelf-life,” she explained.

Recipe of pachhavakai

Ingredients: Raw mangoes 8-10 pieces, yellow-chilli powder 1/4 kg (commonly known as gollaprolu mirapakaya), mustard powder 1/2 kg, salt 150 gms, fenugreek seeds 2-3 tsps, turmeric powder 1/4 tsp, peeled garlic two pods (optional), gingelly oil 1ltr.

Preparation: Raw mangoes should be washed and wiped thoroughly with a cloth.

Stalks should be removed and then the mangoes should be cut into pieces. Take a large container and mix in salt, mustard powder, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder and yellow chilli powder without any lumps. Blend oil into the dry spices until it becomes to a semi-solid consistency. Add garlic and pieces of mangoes into the container blending the oil well. Season the mix in a ceramic jar securing it tightly with a cloth while the glossy and delicious pickle gets ready to serve after two days.

Though preparation of assorted pickles starts during summer, it takes a little effort to preserve them for a long time