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Exploration of the diversity and associated health benefits of traditional pickles from the Himalayan and adjacent hilly regions of Indian subcontinent

Abstract

The Himalayas have provided shelter to the various communities for thousands of years and have remained the cradle for the origin of diverse cultures and traditions. The Himalayan belt is rich in biodiversity and have ushered mankind with numerous gifts for survival and existence. The art of pickling is believed to have developed independently among the different communities of this region. In this region, the main meal is supplemented with pickles or achar that not only adds flavour, but also enhances the value of the meal and often comes with inherent health benefits. The prime objective of this article was to enlist the diverse pickles that are being prepared and consumed by the different tribes and communities, and at the same time analyse the science behind pickle preparation and health benefits and concerns associated with pickles. We have enlisted about hundred monotypic pickles, that are prepared from single fruit or vegetable; but sometimes fungi such as Agaricus and ferns like Diplazium and Pteridium have also been used. Also, fish and meat pickles are common mostly in the Eastern Himalayan region. Traditional pickles constitute the medicinal values of the ingredients and other beneficial properties conferred by the associated microorganisms.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge Mrs. Jyoti Pathak (Taste of Nepal, http://tasteofnepal.blogspot.in) for providing some of the pictures for use in our article. The authors are also thankful to Mr. Santosh Subba, Lab Assistant, Kurseong College for sharing information for materialising this article.

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Correspondence to Swarnendu Roy.

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Chakraborty, R., Roy, S. Exploration of the diversity and associated health benefits of traditional pickles from the Himalayan and adjacent hilly regions of Indian subcontinent. J Food Sci Technol 55, 1599–1613 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-018-3080-7

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Keywords

  • Preservation
  • Pickle
  • Achar
  • Himalaya
  • Chutney