Achara, or pickled green papaya, is a tangy and sweet condiment that brightens up meals. Making it at home is easy, and it lasts for some time in the refrigerator.
Enjoy these quick pickles with fried foods like Lechon Kawali (fried pork belly) or Air-Fried Pork Belly, grilled foods like Inihaw na Liempo (grilled pork belly) and Barbecue Pork Skewers, and silog-type breakfasts with Longganisa (sweet sausage), Beef Tapa, Pork Tocino, or Chicken Tocino (sweet cured chicken).
Find answers to frequently asked questions about achara, also known as quick pickles. We'll cover the ingredients, preparation methods, serving suggestions, and storage guidelines so you can enjoy this flavorful condiment to the fullest.
Achara is a traditional Filipino quick pickle primarily made from green, unripe papaya. This refrigerator pickle is a popular condiment, frequently paired with grilled or fried dishes.
Achara is slightly crunchy, tangy, and full of flavor. It is typically sweeter than other pickles.
Quick pickles, also known as refrigerator pickles, are vegetables (or fruits) marinated in a vinegar solution and refrigerated for a few hours or days. Homemade pickles do not involve any fancy equipment or canning process.
For the best flavor and texture, brine achara for about 3 days. If you cut the vegetables very small or simmer them lightly in the brine, you may be able to enjoy it sooner. A taste test will help you determine if they are ready. You should use your best judgment here.
Achara or refrigerator pickles should generally be consumed within a month of being refrigerated. The shelf life of pickles also depends on their acidity and how well it was handled. If you are at a higher risk of foodborne illness, it's recommended to consume refrigerator pickles like fresh food, ideally within 3 days.
Yes, it does. Quick pickles, such as achara, are not meant to be stored for a long time in the refrigerator. It typically lasts about a month or longer, depending on the acidity or handling. You should discard any remaining pickles if their flavor or smell changes.
Yes. A quick pickle, like achara, is not shelf-stable and must be refrigerated.
When achara smells bad, it's time to throw it out. Look for indications of spoilage like mold, soft or slimy pickles, a cloudy or fizzy brine, or lids that are bulging. When in doubt, it's safest to toss them out.
Achara is quick-pickled in a vinegar brine; it is not fermented. It only takes a few days for them to be ready. Pickling involves soaking food in an acidic brine to produce a sour flavor, while fermenting does not require any acid.
In Filipino cuisine, achara is typically paired with fried or grilled foods. It can elevate even a simple fried fish. You can also eat it as an appetizer, add it to sandwiches, or serve it with just about any entree.
According to Healthline, although achara and other quick pickles might not have as many beneficial bacteria as fermented pickles with probiotics, they can still offer health benefits from their ingredients like vinegar, cucumber, or other vegetables used, and spices.
You can make quick pickles using equal parts of vinegar and water, depending on how sour you want them. The more acidic the brine, the longer its shelf life.
By briefly boiling the vinegar mixture, the flavors will meld together and be better absorbed by the vegetables. If you prefer softer vegetables or want to enjoy them sooner, boil the vegetables in the brine for a few minutes.
Pickling vinegar should have at least 5% acidity to preserve food properly. Distilled white vinegar is clear, has a neutral taste, and is the most cost-effective choice. You can also use apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar.
Sugar balances the sharpness of the vinegar. Although most quick pickles don't require sugar or a lot of it, achara does. The brine is usually sweet, but you can always adjust it to your taste.
Home-canned, preserved, or fermented foods with low acid content can provide the right environment for Botulism to grow. According to the Word Health Organization (WHO), the brine must be acidic enough (below pH 4.6) to preserve the food. Proper handling and storage are critical to prevent contamination.
Pickling preserves food so that it lasts longer. In a salt brine, lactic acid produced by fermentation increases the brine's acidity. The pH decreases to below 4.6, making it acidic enough to preserve the food for months or even years.
Another method involves immersing food in an acidic solution like vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar and naturally occurring acids in food slow down food spoilage.
The shelf life of pickles depends on how it was prepared and stored, and the acidity of the brine. Keep the pickles immersed in the brine to avoid them from spoiling so soon.
You can freeze pickles if you have to; however, the texture and quality won't be the same because of their high water content.
The common vegetables you can pickle are cucumbers, green tomatoes, cauliflower, red onions, carrots, radishes, peppers, ginger, and cabbage. Filipino versions would include green papaya, bitter melon (ampalaya), palm hearts (ubod), or chayote (sayote). Get creative, as the possibilities are endless. Make sure these vegetables are fresh and firm, without bruising or blemishes.
If you want to try it, I have the easiest Achara recipe for you. Keep it available in the fridge and make your meals better!