Getting all in a Pickle

With Spring about to be sprung, that means we are heading into growing season. Gluts of produce, longer days, salads and hopefully more outdoor cooking!

I am sure I am not the only person who makes all sorts of pickles and find half eaten jars, unopened jars and failed experiments at this time of year.

If it is a fruit or vegetable, it can be pickled, some work better than others. Pickling will extend the life of the food by fermentation or simply immersion in the pickling liquid.

Some produce requires blanching before pickling, some brines require heating before pouring over the produce.

Depending what you read, pickling can break down and reduce vitamin content but it can also add good bacteria to your digestive system. Its all a bit of a balancing act.

However, the one thing that you must adhere to is hygiene. If you are re-using lids, make sure they are clean. Sterilise jars and lids and store your product out of direct sunlight and if we are being really observant. Keep them in the fridge.

Vegetables – not to thick and not too thin. The thinner the slice the quicker the process. Think about it. Sliced onions in vinegar and sugar can be done in 30 minutes, while whole pickling onions about the size of a 10p piece will take several weeks.

Pickling brine is made with vinegar and sugar and then supplemented with aromatic herbs and spices.

Cider vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, distilled vinegar, pre-prepared pickling vinegar- yes. All have slightly different flavour profiles, some are more acidic. Cider vinegar is certainly less tart and has a slightly sweeter flavour. Rice vinegar, probably not, sherry vinegar, what a waste. I am sure most vinegars will work eventually but the final product might not be as good as what went in. But there is a project for someone. Let us know how you get on.

Here is a good one to get started. Click here to view Easy Pickles recipe

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