Fermented Pickles vs Vinegar Pickles

You're at your local bazaar, checking out the fresh items. But something catches your eye and nose - the achaar stand! Rows of colorful jars filled with those iconic crunchy, chatpata treats. You get closer and realize there are two distinct varieties - fermented pickles and vinegar pickles. 

Memories of making pickles with your grandma come flooding back. The salty brine, the aromatic spices, and of course, that addictive khatta (sour) punch. You can't resist buying a jar of each to reignite that nostalgic pickle love!

The chatpata flavor lingered on your taste buds, leaving you craving more. Now, you're eager to go deeper into the world of pickles and uncover the differences between these two varieties. Get set to go on a flavorful journey and learn about the uniqueness of both fermented and vinegar pickles!

What are Fermented Pickles?

The fermentation process used to make these pickles is called lacto-fermentation. It involves soaking fruits or vegetables in a salt brine solution. This allows natural, friendly bacteria (probiotics) to grow, which ferment the food over several weeks. 

Some popular fermented Indian pickles are:

  • Mango pickle
  • Lemon pickle 
  • Gooseberry (amla) pickle
  • Radish pickle

The fermentation process gives these pickles a distinctive sour and tangy taste. Fermented pickles are also an excellent source of probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. Plus, the natural fermentation acts as a preservative, allowing the pickles to last for months without any added preservatives.

Almost every region in India has its own traditional fermented pickle recipes passed down over generations. For example, the famous Andhra mango pickle uses specific spice mixes like mustard powder that give it a unique flavor.

What are Vinegar Pickles?

These pickles are made by preserving fruits or vegetables in a vinegar solution, sometimes along with salt. The souring agent is the vinegar itself instead of natural fermentation. Popular Indian vinegar pickles include:

  • Garlic pickle
  • Chili pickle
  • Mixed vegetable pickle (cauliflower, carrot, etc.)

While vinegar pickles retain some nutrients from the fresh produce, it's important to note that not all vinegars are created equal. Synthetic vinegars may contain preservatives and additives that are best avoided. When preparing vinegar pickles at home, it's recommended to use natural vinegars like apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar for their potential health benefits.

There are countless traditional vinegar pickle recipes across the many states of India. For instance, the famous Punjabi amchur candy is a type of zingy mango pickle made in vinegar.


Taste: Fermented pickles tend to have a more complex, rounded sourness compared to the sharper tanginess of vinegar pickles.

Nutrition: Fermented pickles provide probiotics and nutrients. Vinegar pickles retain more nutrients from the fresh produce.

Shelf life: Both can last several months if prepared properly. Vinegar acts as a preservative for its pickles.

Traditional vs modern: Many fermented pickle recipes use natural methods perfected over generations. Vinegar pickling is more convenient for modern cooks.

Popularity and Availability

Last but not least, let's learn of their popularity and availability. No matter where you go, you’ll find jars of pickled goodies! Both fermented and vinegar pickles have a global fan base - from Indian ‘achaar’ to Korean ‘jangajji’, cultures around the world have mastered the art of producing pickles.

And the best part? With simple ingredients like cucumbers, salt, vinegar and spices, you can totally make both fermented and vinegar pickles at home. Time to get pickling and create new family traditions!


While fermented and vinegar pickles differ in their sourcing agents and preparation methods, they are both integral parts of India's rich pickle traditions. It's important to cherish these traditional pickling techniques that have been passed down through the centuries. 

Pickles have a special way of connecting you to cherished food memories while allowing you to blaze new flavour trails. Who knows, maybe your signature pickle recipe will become a family favourite for generations to come! So, happy pickling to you out there!

Also, if this blog makes you crave for pickles, you can try Farmdidi's shark tank pickles such as Mango Pickle, Green Chilli Pickle, and our special Karela ka achar.

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