Everyone has a nostalgic story behind their favourite pickles. But Sheila Chacko has made it her life’s mission to trigger these memories through her line of pickles and jams.

Staying in a lush green land with lots of produce — like plantains, papayas, guavas, etc — gave the Kerala resident the perfect opportunity to experiment with these fruits.

“I saw that a lot of these fruits and produce were not fetching a good price in the market. So I thought of making jams and pickles out of them,” says the  65-year-old.

Over a decade ago, she took her first batch of plantain jam and gave it to a few small shops and bakeries in Kochi. To her absolute delight, they were sold out within a week.

Today, she sells more than 14 pickles and jams — including seafood pickles like the prawn, seer fish, and veluri fish — and earns about Rs 1.5 lakh per month.

She uses old-fashioned methods to keep the homely flavours intact. For instance, she makes plantain jam by cooking it on a wood fire to give it a smoky taste.

“We try to maintain the flavours of what we ate as children. Everything is done manually, and we avoid using mixers and grinders,” she says.

What adds to the flavour is that most of the produce is grown at her house organically. She grows brinjals, plantains, guavas, kandari chillies (bird’s eye chilli) etc.

While most of the pickles are traditional Kerala recipes, Sheila has also tried out some different pickles — like the brinjal, garlic in vinegar, and dried mango.