For many, the terms pickles, chutneys and murabbas have become somewhat interchangeable. But in culinary terms, there are clear differences between these three types of vegetable or fruit preserves. Pickles or achars are generally prepared with vegetables or fruits that are salted with dry salt or brine. Murabbas are sweet preserves made with fruits or mangoes, mixed with sugar or brown sugar and spices and simmered for a long time.
Chutneys can be preserved or freshly prepared for each meal with seasonal ingredients. Pickles and chutneys have several health benefits, but they can also have drawbacks due to excessive consumption. To understand the difference between pickles and chutneys, we spoke with dietician Arushi Gupta, associate dietician at the Dayanand Medical School and Ludhiana Hospital. She explained that pickles are made with foods such as mango, lemon, aloe vera, etc., while chutney is a spicy, acidic and sweet mix of ingredients such as coriander, coconut, tomato, etc.
Mango pickle is a pickled version of mango (Achar), while chutney is a mix of spices with added mango. Pickles have a longer shelf life than chutneys due to their oil-based preservation. Chutneys have a shorter lifespan compared to oil-based pickles, with the exception of the traditional Gujarati quick-handle Chunda, or metambo, which are well preserved for longer periods. No matter where they come from or when they're used, pickles, chutneys and murabbas are always a great additional ingredient that will complement or enhance the flavor of any meal.
There are so many different combinations and preparation methods that almost every region in India has its own special recipe.