Bilimbi Pickle (Bimbla nonche)

The bimbla nonche is a popular pickle in the Philippines. It is made from the fruit of the bilimbi tree and has a sweet-sour flavor.

Bilimbi Pickle (Bimbla nonche) is a traditional Filipino pickle that is made with bilimbi, or long beans. It can be eaten as a side dish or served as an appetizer.


Making handmade pickles is a year-round custom in Konkani families. At different seasons of the year, pickles such as raw mango pickle, raw jackfruit pickle, bamboo shot pickle, hog plum pickle, bilimbi pickle, lemons, bitter gourd, cauliflower, green chillies, gooseberries, and many more are made using various vegetables and ingredients.

These spicy home-made pickles are well with idlis, dosas, steaming hot congee (pyej in Konkani), curd rice, dalithoy-rice, and just about anything else. A South Indian dinner would not be complete without pickles. 

In coastal Karnataka, bilimbi (bimbal in Konkani) trees may be found in almost every garden. The low-hanging gems of these trees are then made into delicious pickles, or utilized as a souring ingredient in most curries instead of tamarind, and in dishes like pathrado.

We used to enjoy eating bilimbi with salt when we were youngsters. Sure, they’re far too sour, but eating them with salt is so much pleasure. Add a pinch of chilli powder and they’ll be much better! 🙂


Bilimbi pickle lasts about a week at room temperature. However, when properly prepared and kept under refrigerated circumstances, they may last for more than three months. When bilimbi are picked at the appropriate stage of growth and pickled properly, they remain crisp in the pickle for almost three months.

It’s so much fun to consume crunchy bilimbis with hot, sour pickles. Bilimbi pickle is also one of the most straightforward pickles to prepare. So go ahead and give it a go.

Bilimbis, on the other hand, grow all year. So you can prepare a batch of this pickle at any time of year and enjoy it anytime you like.


  • Depending on their size, 40-50 raw bilimbi (roughly 5 cups)
  • a quarter-kilo of dried red chilies
  • mustard seeds (1/2 cup)
  • Asafoetida crystals the size of chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups rock salt

Time to prepare: 1-2 hours

Serves 35-40 people

Note: If you have any leftover ground pickle, use it to create raw jackfruit pickle or raw mango pickle.

Pickling with the appropriate bilimbis:

Use delicate bilimbis rather than ones that are completely developed or have begun to mature. Tender and firm bilimbis should be used. Bilimbis become delicate and somewhat yellowish in hue as they develop. Please do not utilize these bilimbis since they have begun to ripen. They’ll get soft as soon as they’re pickled. 

Use delicate bilimbis that are still developing for crisp pickled bilimbis that remain crunchy in pickles for a long time. 

You’ll need the following items to make pickles:

  1. Several clean, dry containers, plates, and a towel are required.
  2. There are a lot of clean, dry spoons.
  3. To grind, use a dry mixer/grinder.
  4. Several dishes for chopped bilimbi and discarding stems and sepals.
  5. To pickle them, use large ceramic jars (bharani in Konkani) or glass jars.
  6. Knife should be clean and sharp. 
  7. a dry and clean cutting board

Method of Preparation:

P.S. When preparing pickles, the most essential thing to remember is to make sure everything is totally dry. Utensils and equipment that haven’t had a drop of water in them. To ensure a lengthy shelf life, make sure no water gets into the pickle. Every drop of water in the pickle lowers its shelf life significantly, hastening its deterioration. 

Bilimbi preparation:

1. In a wok, heat 3/4 cup rock salt for 5-6 minutes. So that they heat up evenly, saute them. This process helps to remove all of the extra water in the rock salt, extending the pickle’s shelf life. All of the extra water in the rock salt evaporates throughout the process. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool fully. Only use this rock salt once it has fully cooled. Otherwise, your pickle may deteriorate.

2. In the meanwhile, wash the bilimbi and dry them well. Remove the sepals that are connected to the bilimbi. Allow them to air dry for an hour. We don’t want any moisture from the pickle to go into the pickle.

3. Then, depending on their size, slit each bilimbi into 2, 4, or 6 pieces. Add the cooled rock salt, stir well, and let away for at least 30 minutes to absorb the salt.

4. During those 30 minutes, bilimbi absorbs salt and releases water. Only brine will be produced.

To make salt water for grinding pickles, follow these steps:

4. Bring half a litre of water to a boil with the remaining 3/4 cup of rock salt. The water should then be simmered for 5-6 minutes. We’ll need salt water that’s been condensed.  

5. Allow the water to cool fully. Then grind pickles with it. Only use this salt water once it has fully cooled. Otherwise, your pickle may deteriorate.

Pickle grinding:

6. Soak asafoetida in salt water for 30 minutes. In the water, it should fully dissolve. 

7. Meanwhile, in a dry mixer jar, grind mustard seeds and red chilies into fine powders and set aside. Ensure that the mixer bowl and cap are totally dry and free of any water.

8. Combine the powders, as well as the melted asafoetida, in a blender with enough cooled salt water to create a homogeneous paste.

9. For a very smooth textured pickle, use a clean, dry ‘wet grinder.’ Alternatively, you may ground the pickle in the same mixer you used previously; however, the texture of the pickle will not be as smooth as it would be with a wet grinder. 

10. Place the ground pickle in a dry container and set it aside for 30 minutes. The pickle cools off a bit after 30 minutes of pounding. It’s only a precaution to keep the pickle from spoiling and to extend its shelf life. 

11. In the meanwhile, check the pickle’s consistency. A semi-thick pickle is required. To get the required consistency, add additional salt water to the pickle or utilize the brine produced in the bilimbi jars.

12. Add the pickled bilimbi from the jars to the crushed pickle after approximately 30 minutes of grinding. If the brine dilutes the pickle, don’t add more. Remove the bilimbi pieces from the pickle and add them to the pickle. 

Mix well.

13. Inspect the pickle for salt. 

14. Keep the pickle in a dry, airtight container and make sure there is no moisture in the pickle. Pickle deterioration is accelerated by the presence of water. 

15. If you plan on eating the pickle within 5-7 days, keep it at room temperature; otherwise, keep it refrigerated. It’ll last for another 2-3 months after that.

Side Note: If you don’t want to cut the tiny bilimbis, you may leave them whole in the pickles. You may also cut them into thick roundels if you want. 

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Related Tags

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.