Monday, 13 September 2010

Master of Pickles


I thought I'd have a shot at pickling. Me and Tim have a (currently on indefinite hiatus, in traditional heavy metal band style) plan to sell pickles and preserves. Nothing has come of it yet, but I thought I'd try my hand at it whilst I'm in employment limbo.

This was quite a simple recipe. I didn't want to do normal pickled onions, I wanted something with a kick! So, inspired by the pickles my wonderful girlfriend has courtesy of her parents, I went about creating my own concoction.

Step 1: Brine the Veg!
I don't know why you have to do this do, apparently. In a bowl, I threw in all of my ingedients and covered them in a healthy dose of salt (quite a lot of it) and left it overnight. The effect was that the water was drawn out of the veg and they created their own brine mixture. The veg I used were:

  • Shallots (top & tail then blanch them for a minute, the skins'll come off much easier!)
  • Cauliflower
  • Red Peppers
  • Olives
  • Turnips
  • Couple of HOT chilli peppers. I prefer Scotch Bonnet but all they had were Birds Eye.

When you've done that, go onto.....

Step 2 - The Vinegar
How much vinegar you need depends on how much you're making, so you'll have to be the judge of that. One of those big jars of pickling vinegar from the supermarket should do you fine for a good few jars of pickles.

Boil the vinegar and add to it pickling spices, which you can buy pre-mixed, or you can make your own. I boiled it for 5 minutes using the following:

  • Chilli Pepper
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Ground Black Pepper
Then put it aside to cool. Make sure you do it in a stainless steel saucepan or, if you don't have one, a non stick saucepan. DO NOT USE ALUMINIUM PANS, it'll react with the vinegar.

Step 3 - Bring it all together baby!
Once your veg has brined overnight, it's time to bring it altogether. You'll need some airtight jars, and you'll need to sterilise them. I used some of Granny's old Kilner Jars which she kindly lent me. I think they're from WWII era, judging... :D

To sterilise them you need to heat them, and their lids, in the oven at Gas Mark 1/4 (1 quarter) for around about ten minutes. Then, take them out (careful, hot!) and fill them immediately with your pickle mix. Make sure you wash and drain the pickle mix thoroughly, otherwise your pickles may end up being too salty!

Then, pour the pickling vinegar over the top. Seal them.

Keep them in a cool, dark place for two weeks to a month before eating.

I currently have no idea what they taste like. >_>



  1. Silly question - when you put it all together, does that include the brining mixture?

  2. No, not the brining mixture. I'll amend the recipe!