The 2020/21 agricultural season was a very good one for Zimbabwe and as such there are reports of bumper harvests. The downside of bumper harvests is waste and we would do what we can to avoid that. This reminded me of an earlier on food preserves business ideas which spoke generally about preserve based business ideas and the types of preserves you can make. It’s great reading. One of the types of preserves mentioned there is pickles. There are so many foods that can be pickled and below is a list of some very popular foods that you can consider going into the business of pickling.
Easily my favourite on this list it really is a world treasure. You have many types of achaar with the most popular being mango and vegetable which is made with cabbages and carrots.
We sure do love our tomatoes in Zimbabwe. I have no doubt that there’s a bunch of farmers who have or had bumper tomato harvests. Sun-dried tomatoes are very popular in Mediterranean cooking and not all that complicated to make. Essentially tomatoes are dried and seasoned with herbs then preserved in oil.
Another thing Zimbabwe really loves is chillies whether cooked and processed or fresh. So while I will speak about jalapenos here, I really do refer to any chilli that does well either by being pickled or preserved in oil. Jalapenos are of course very popular pickled but many others like serrano are popular preserved in oil.
Beets or Beetroot is another vegetable that has a long esteemed history of being preserved. I have a 2-month-old homemade cooked beetroot in my fridge at the time of writing that is still perfectly edible. Pickling can preserve it even further.
Gherkins, dill pickles and any other name they appear by they are still cucumbers. Fair enough they are not just any cucumbers, for pickles the most popular cucumbers are Kirby, Persian and English.
I don’t think there’s a vegetable that says African more than Okra. It is consumed the world over of course but surely most in Africa. Okra can be pickled to surprisingly good results. You will not likely have a huge market locally for this though.
Something else Zimbabweans love but you may not have a huge market for locally as a pickle are eggs. Yes, pickled eggs are actually a big deal in other places.
Green beans or bush beans is another plant that grows very well in Zimbabwe. They preserve really well in the form of a pickle and are quite a popular food when prepared that way. Not the most popular but worth a thought.
Ginger is one of the most popular herbs out there. Fresh, dried and yes you can actually pickle and preserve it. Thinly sliced ginger which is known as gari is pickled and popular as well. This is certainly worth considering and you can look forward to a healthy international market. You can also preserve ginger by mashing and preserving it in oil.
Perhaps not the most popular vegetable on the earth but we have a climate that grows these pretty well. They are popular in other parts of the world so pickled brussels sprouts are a good business idea with export potential.
Yes, even the humble corn (not to be confused with maize) cob can be preserved in a pickle. We have a climate that works reasonably well for this plant. What you might find hard to do is selling it locally so an export market is your best bet.
Mushrooms are very popular in Zimbabwe in many different shapes and sizes. You can easily grow anything from oyster, button, portobello and many other mushroom varieties in Zimbabwe. They can be pickled and are actually very popular in this form all around the world.
Avocados actually have a shot at being one of the most popular fruits in Zimbabwe if not the most popular. Besides being consumed fresh and prepared in recipes such as guacamole it can also be preserved through pickling. Avocados are beloved the world over so you can consider this an export-oriented idea too.
Just about anything you can do with ginger you can also do with garlic. Garlic is of course very popular for both its culinary and medicinal applications. You can pickle garlic or preserve in oil and shredded or a paste.
I will call this relish for the lack of a better universal term. You may also know it under the names salsa (uncooked), chakalaka, jakachaka, sumu or any other name. This is a combination of tomato and onion usually with some other herbs and spices. Loved all around the world in its different versions you can make good business with this stuff.
The humble carrot is a ridiculously underrated vegetable. Very popular as a fresh vegetable you should know that pickled carrots are also enjoyed all around the world. Given how easy these are to grow in our climate you can see how this makes a good business opportunity.
There are many more fruits and vegetables that can be preserved and sold. These are the rather more popular ones given our climate and market.