Tips: Pickling

Pickling is awesome. It’s more than likely that you will have most (if not all) the ingredients needed to pickle vegetables already at home, if not then you shouldn’t expect to pay out too much to start. Pickling is an effective way of preserving and adding flavour to food, and it’s not a lot of effort to do either. Here’s a rather basic, but (in my opinion) one of the best pickling liquor recipes:

  • 150g white wine vinegar
  • 150g water
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp table salt

You can of course alter this to your own liking. Mustard seeds are pretty much a must; they add a taste that’s hard to describe, but if you’ve ever eaten a pickle you’ll be more than familiar with the smell and taste of these bad boys. I like to add chilli flakes because it adds a satisfying amount of heat to the sweet and sour taste – it just works.

Enough backstory, so first thing’s first: sterilise your jar(s). Preheat your oven to 140°c – things are about to get wild.

Wash first, realise you left the label on later
From this point forward, I’m going to assume that you’re taking the time to sterilise just one jar like I did (gotta save money, you know). After you’ve washed the jar with hot, soapy water, you’ll need to dry it with a clean cloth and then take it apart – it’s a lot of effort, I know. Place your jar on a tray (minus all the metal bits and the label) and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

I didn’t know at this point what I know now – I’m not qualified to reconstruct jars in a timely manner.
Put your jar back together again (quicker than I did, hopefully) and prepare the liquor. It’s quite simple, you just need to add everything into the jar and stir it a bit – the sugar will dissolve in good time after being annihilated by the vinegar, so don’t worry. I decided to pickle some shallot, which I used later for a salad. I’m a fan of slicing these into rings because it means that they pickle (taking on the liquors’ flavour) in a shorter amount of time. I would allow about a week before eating these – they will have softened up nicely by this point.

Place your sliced shallots into the liquor, and just like that you’re ready to forget about them until you wake up at 2am and need a snack. Unfortunately pickled shallots lose their nice pink complexion (as you can tell from the cover photo on this blog post), but we can’t have everything we want now, can we?

That’s gotta be uncomfortable, right?