Pickling Perfection

Pickling Perfection

If it was left to Dave I think he’d snaffle every jam jar in the kitchen and fill them with tasty treats, pickled items, chutneys, the lot. Our fridge at one time or another has shelves filled with all sorts of colourful jars with big labels. If someone brings in a herb that’s in abundance in their allotment it gets stuffed in a bottle with tasty liquor and away we go! Or a recipe takes Dave’s fancy and you get slightly concerned when he’s asking you to keep watermelon rind? What’s going on? Want to be a pickling wizard like our chef Dave then read on…

What is PICKLING?… Pickling is a process of adding acid to a low acid food as a method of preserving. Or in layman’s terms a jar of veg that tastes tangy! Choose your item to pickle, here’s a few items that we find work well, radishes, shallots, mushrooms, cucumber, and yes bizarrely watermelon rind. TOP TIP always use the freshest of ingredients, soft radishes and floppy cucumbers will just not work.

Enoki mushrooms Pictured – Enoki Mushrooms ready to go…

Prep… Take you chosen item, slice it thinly, cube it, smash it, whatever you want and pop it in a bowl, add a liberal handful of Sea Salt / Coarse Salt (refer to recipes, experiment). This draws excess water from your veg, allowing a more intense pickling flavour and also changes the texture of the final product. Times vary but after your set time, thoroughly rinse the salt off your veg.

Salted shallots Pictured – Shallots, sliced, salted, waiting to be rinsed and pickled…

LIQUOR… Now for the chemistry and making of your pickling liquor. TOP TIP make sure windows are wide open when heating vinegar as it does have a great gassing effect!

Red wine vinegar pickling liquor Pictured – A Simple Red Wine Vinegar Pickling Liquor…

Enoki mushrooms in pickling liquor Pictured – Enoki Mushrooms in a ‘secret’ Liquor, using Olive Oil for added richness…

We have our own ‘House’ Pickling Liquors, closely guarded but as a basic guide try the following: 115g Granulated Sugar 400ml White / Red Wine Vinegar 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds (crushed) 1 Tsp Black Peppercorns (crushed)

Bung everything into a saucepan and bring to the boil, either use straight away or cool and keep for those lazy Sunday play-days! (TIP: Try different pickling approaches, hot vs cold liquor etc)

JAR… Choose your vessel, old jam jar, retro Kilner jar or even an old ice cream tub will do if you’re going to eat them soon. Make sure it’s clean, wash it in the hottest water you can bear and dry in a warm oven. (Don’t put them plastic ice cream tub in the oven!)

EAT… We recommend tasting your vegetables through the whole process so you get a really good idea of what’s going on. Pickles work well with cold meats, cheese, the humble pork pie and have been on a classic country pub Ploughmans for years.

These are a few of our sexy homemade pickles we did for a recent wedding. Used to pair with and decorate a lamb sweet bread terrine starter, they looked and tasted amazing.

Pickles Pictured - Our beauts ready to eat…

The final product Lamb sweet bread butchers terrine delicately decorated with some punchy pickles!

Give it a go and let us know how you get on using the #picklingperfection

Kitchen equipment needed – Scales, saucepan, jam jar. Skill level – pickling apprentice no experience necessary.

Recommended Reading: Diana Henry – Salt, Sugar Smoke Simon Poffley & Gaba Smolinska-Poffley – Ferment, Pickle, Dry