Culturally rich South Punjab is also termed as “Taste Capital” for its exotic fruit mango and its spicy pickle (achar). Mango pickle is an additional cuisine, nutritious, appetizer as well as taste developer, found almost on every meal table, whether it is in any hotel or home in south Punjab.
Spicy mango pickle is one of the top choices of people, hailing from the rich or the poor families. Most of the citizens, especially with urban backgrounds, did not know how to prepare mango pickle. However, ladies from rural areas, mostly old women, have good command on preparation of pickle.
Although, mango fruit season exists for nearly four months, but its pickle could be preserved for the whole year. Director Institute of Food Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Dr Saeed Akhtar told APP, “Pickle is one of the spicy, nutritious and cheapest cuisine in the country”.
He said, many nutritious and spicy items including “salt”, “grinded red chilli pepper”, “turmeric”, “nigella seeds (kalonji)”, “fenugreek seeds (maythi dana)”, “mustard seeds (rai dana black)”, “aniseeds (Sonf)” etc were also used to add taste in the pickle. Majority of our women from rural backgrounds were trained in making tasty pickles. So, mango pickle should be promoted as a cottage industry in the region. The women should be imparted specialized training as per requirement of modern trends for preparation, packing, branding, and marketing of the tasty pickle. He stated that many companies were preparing pickles on a commercial basis but the taste of home-made pickles was very much different.
Dr Saeed Akhtar remarked that pickles had immense potential for exports especially in Europe, America and countries of the Middle East.
He suggested that Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) should come forward and provide facilities to women from south Punjab for promotion of the pickle business. Chairman Food Science and Technology, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) Dr Umar Farooq said that a large number of immature mangoes fell down due to wind storms every year. So, such mangoes should also be used in preparation of pickles as it would help save growers from farm losses. He also advocated providing economic opportunities to female entrepreneurs of rural areas in such a type of business. Mango pickle is used throughout the year. Similarly, it has high demand in all segments of society.
Mr Fayyaz, a shopkeeper, resident of Burewala, recalled “In the past, his mother and grand-mother used to prepare pickles for domestic use only.
However, neighbours and relatives often contacted them for pickles. After noticing rising demand for pickle, his parents decided to establish a pickle shop and started business on a commercial scale. Fayyaz added that the business flourished by leaps and bounds. He informed them that they were earning handsome amounts. Fayyaz termed it a profit generating business. —APP