Most of Indian and off course Kerala my state pickles are made from certain individual varieties of vegetables and fruits that are chopped into small pieces and cooked in edible oils like sesame oil or brine with many different Indian spices like asafetida, red chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek and plenty of salt. Some regions also specialize in pickling meats and fish. Vegetables can also be combined in pickles to make mixed vegetable pickle. Some varieties of fruits and vegetables are small enough to be used whole.
Indian mixed pickle, containing lotus root, lemon, carrot, green mango, green chilis, and other ingredients
Homemade pickles are prepared in the summer and kept in the sun during daytime while stored in porcelain or glass jars with airtight lids. The high concentrations of salt, oil and spices act as preservatives. Many commercially produced pickles use preservatives like citric acid and sodium benzoate.
Even using the same main ingredients, Indian pickles come in a wide variety of flavors due to differences in spices and process. A mango pickle from South India may taste very different from one made in North India. In the southern states, sesame oil is preferred, while mustard oil is preferred in northern states for making pickles.