The sense of belonging we get from Achaars is a mere footprint of the most memorable sweet (usually tangy) spot of our childhood days. Yes, the times when Ghar-Ghar was just a game and the concept of deadlines, workload, etc. did not exist. I remember tip-toeing around those dried up mangoes and lemons spread evenly on a bedsheet under the hard sun. More often than not I've stepped on them. Sigh!
My grandmother is the one who made those lip-smacking Achaars every summer only for us. And for me, it's gastronomic equivalent to a giant hug that came from their grandparents, who might have received from their grandparents and so on. I mean, they decided to pass on this legacy to the next generation so that we could taste paradise at the comfort of our home. How thoughtful.
I think it suffices to say that I love Achaars and so do you. And since we are away from the loving shades of our family homes, missing them every now and then is understandable. Okay... let's not sulk and pout now because I have a simple solution.
6 homegrown brands in India which are delivering bespoke, grandmom-style Achaars right at your doorsteps. What's even more special about these is that they are all preservative-free and literally the result of family recipes.
1. The Little Farm
Eleven varieties of Achaar spread over organically grown vegetables, oil, gur (jaggery) and spices is the USP of this homegrown pickle brand. Every pickle sold by The Little Farm is handcrafted and made using old, traditional recipes. I mean, even their vinegar is sourced from a manufacturer who naturally extracts it from sugarcane. Whaaat? The brand is even taking all the necessary measures at every step to ensure their product is safe to consume and tastes better than others. The price is quite modest so you can order 2 to 3 jars in a go.
Website: The Little Farm
Image Courtesy: The Little Farm
Recommended: All the variations of Lemon pickle & Green Chilli Gur Pickle
Price Range: INR 300 to 350
2. Bloom Foods
A storehouse of non-vegetarian pickles, Bloom Foods is your final destination to authentic and local flavoured Achaars that's been missing from your plate. From the matters of hygiene to garnering raw materials to not using preservatives, they're doing everything right. Even their meat is locally sourced, spices are handpicked meat and instead of oil, this homegrown brand is making use of groundnut oil. So, don't you worry, these people are more concerned about your health than you are.
At the moment they have 4 different pickles under the category; Chicken, Praw, Keema and Mutton. And from what I've heard and I believe that they're quite tasty provided they came out of a long lineage of grandmother's recipes.
Website: Bloom Foods
Image Courtesy: Bloom Foods
Recommended: Andhra Prawn Pickle & Boneless Andhra Mutton Pickle
Price range: INR 300 to 500
3. Mood For Food
Recreating a line of homemade, preservative-free pickles that not only tastes like home but smells like it, is the motto of this homegrown brand. Derived from Native Assamese cooking, Mood For Food is delivering age-old recipes of Tomato, Brinjal, Chilli, Cabbage, Chicken and Pork pickles for a long time now. And I can't help but wonder in fascination about the choices of vegetables of their Achaar is made of. It's quite different from what we get in North or South India and that's the reason we definitely gotta try it. One little thing though; all their Achaars are made on order only, so go on, click on the link above.
Website- Mood for Food
Image Courtesy: Mood For Food
Recommended: Hot & Sweet Chili Pickle, Tomato Pickle & Pork Pickle
Price range: INR 140 to 250
A team of mothers tracing the footsteps of dadi maa's secret masala recipe to recreate handmade, vegetarian and quality Achaars that's going be over in a lickity-split is what Goosebumps is all about. With a taste of nostalgia, no-preservative character and a handsome range of piquant pickles, this homegrown brand is loved by all. They even have a range of masala fruits, chocolates, spices and snack mixes that you can check out. And don't even get me started on their 5-layer leak-free packaging. Yummy pickle stored in a food-grade polythene bag, kept in an unbreakable pet bottle then sealed, bubble wrapped, placed in a corrugated box and finally shipped to reach the far ends of the world.
Image Courtesy: Goosebumps
Recommended: Olives and Jalapeno Pickle, Vintage Gol Keri Pickle
Price range: INR 180 to 220
5. The Pickle Story
A generation old recipe that belongs to an Andhra based family is the real deal behind this homegrown pickle brand. From reviving some of their bespoke Achaars to placing them on your dining table, The Pickle Story dubbing stories that you'd love to hand over to your kids as well. They have 17 different varieties of Achaars to pick from, each better than the previous and also quite economical.
Website- The Pickle Story
Image Courtesy: The Pickle Story
Recommended: Curry Leaves Pickle, Tomato Pickle
Price range: INR 129 to 229
6. Pickle Shickle
A result of Coorgi with East India influences, Pickle Shickle is the home to eccentric Achaars made out of Pork, Chicken, Prawn, Lotus stem, etc. Since their inception in August 2016, Chawla Sisters (Yes, the owners of this venture) are creatively pushing the brand with off-beat menu and bequest pickle recipes. What so special about this homegrown brand? Well, not only, their Achaars are kept far away from artificial colours and preservatives but also cooked personally and in small batches. You know, to ensure quality. Furthermore, there are a few Pickle Shickle inspired home recipes like Tacos, Poppers, Open Sandwiches, etc. that you can make at home.
Website- Pickle Shickle
Image Courtesy: Pickle Shickle
Recommended: Ghosht Buster - Mutton Pickle, Get-A-Shroom - Mushroom Pickle & Wake'n'Bacon - Bacon Pickle
Price range: INR 300 to 900
Chole Bhature without tangy Gajar Ka Achaar, the portion of Dal Rice missing Aam Ka Achaar and the bowlful of Aloo Ki Sabzi & Puri in the absence of Nimbu Ka Achaar... these are three separate instances which will never happen in India. You know why? It's because we take our Achaars way too seriously and these 6 homegrown pickle brands are solid proof of just that.