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Pickling Made Easy

Pickling is a method of preserving food in order to extend its shelf life by immersing it in either vinegar or brine. The acidity of the solution means that bacteria cannot survive in the environment, meaning the food doesn't rot or mould. We've put together a simple guide on how to create your own pickled goods, top tips and tricks for ensuring that you get the most out of your home pickling and a selection of our favourite recipes for you to add to salads, sandwiches and stir fries!

Pickling Made Easy
What to Pickle

Whilst a surprising number of delicacies and foodstuffs can be pickled, we've collated a few foods that work well and provide an array of flavours, textures and nutrients that you can use in your dishes.

 

The most popular choice for pickling is typically vegetables - from red and white cabbage, onion, radishes, peppers and cucumbers are all well known pickled goods, most vegetables work well and are a great way to extend the life of fresh produce if it's close to reaching its best before date. As well as the aforementioned, carrots, green beans and pak choi all make fantastic choices.

 

You can even use a shop-bought stir fry mix or coleslaw mix with a variety of vegetables that have already been pre-cut for simplicity and convenience. However, if you're preparing your pickles from scratch, be sure to wash, peel and trim all vegetables first and then slice as thinly as possible.

 

When pickling green vegetables such as green beans, broccoli or pak choi, it's a good idea to balance them for a few minutes first and then immediately place them in ice cold water for a minimum of five minutes. This helps the vegetables to retain their vibrant green colour throughout the pickling process.

How to Pickle

By definition, pickling requires leaving the 'pickled good' in either brine or an acidic solution for a length of time. Here are a few quick pickling solutions that you can try:

Brine:

  • 6g salt
  • 1 cup water

Vinegar:

  • 2/3 Part Distilled white vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/3 Part Water (filtered water where possible as hard water can cause liquid to cloud inside the jar)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons cooking salt (smaller granules will dissolve quicker)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

Wash and dry a mason, kilner or jam jar that has an airtight lid. Mix all ingredients needed for the pickling solution together in the jar, then simply add vegetables, eggs etc. to the jar and seal.

Adding Flavour

For the more adventurous tastebuds, try adding different flavour variations to your pickling liquid. Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices depending on the food item that you choose to pickle and your personal tastes. Sugar will add an element of sweetness, whilst chilli, chilli flakes and ginger will add a little heat.

 

For a lightly spiced flavour, try nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and coriander, or garlic, mustard seeds, dried herbs such as mint or tarragon if you prefer a much stronger aftertaste. Simply mix your herbs and spices into the pickling solution before you add your choice of vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

Pickling Uses

Pickled goods can be used across a multitude of dishes - add to fresh salads for an acidic element and an additional crunch, add to sandwiches to develop the flavour profile or to stir fries for an authentic Asian dish. They can also be served as sides to main dishes or even as snacks for those who get peckish in the afternoon!

 

Pickling also makes a fantastic solution to leftover fresh produce, or groceries that need to be used before they reach their best before date. As pickling acts as a form of preservation, pickled goods can remain in the fridge for up to 6 months (depending on the item).

Pickling Dos & Don’ts

To ensure that you successfully pickle your eggs, vegetables or other choices, we've put together a list of clear dos and don'ts to guide you on your way.

Dos…

  • Always use fresh produce
  • Boil jars before use to sterilise
  • Ensure jars have airtight lids
  • Pack items in jars tightly to avoid them floating to the top of the jar
  • Peel, trim and prepare vegetables before pickling
  • Pre-soak vegetables in a little salt water before pickling to get ride of any dirt or bugs
  • Blanche and ice green vegetables before pickling to retain vibrant colour
  • Try new flavours in smaller jars to reduce waste but enable you to experiment

Don'ts…

  • Use more water than vinegar (this will severely affect the pickling process)
  • Fill the jar all the way to the top, always leave a small gap before sealing
  • Remove the lid for at least two days once the pickling process has started

Check out some of our recipes!

We've put together some of our favourite pickling or pickled recipes for you to try.

Pickled Green Beans and Asparagus

This pickled dish is the perfect summery side for salads and a great way to use up those excess...

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