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  • Fran and Adam

How to make summat outta nowt #8 In a Pickle?

Have you overbought onions? Is your cucumber going floppy? Countless carrots or too many eggs? Pickling is a great way to preserve foods and save them from going to waste.

Pretty much any vegetable is good for pickling, mix and match vinegar and spices and see how they turn out- just use what you have.

You can use leftover jars from your recycling- just be sure to sterilise them first.

Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray and put in a low oven for 10 mins or until completely dry.

Quick pickled onions

300ml vinegar

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp salt

6 black peppercorns

3 small red or white onions, sliced into rings

  1. Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the sugar, salt, and peppercorns, and bring to a simmer. After 1 min, check that the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat.

  2. Boil the kettle. Put the onion slices in a sieve or colander. Pour over the hot water from the kettle and drain well. When cool enough to handle, pack the onion rings into a 500g sterilised jar . Pour over the warm vinegar and seal. Cool, then chill and leave to pickle for 2 hrs. Will keep for 6 months unopened, or 2 weeks in the fridge once opened.

Easy pickled eggs

400ml white wine vinegar

100g sugar

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 tbsp coriander seeds

6 large eggs

Put the vinegar, sugar, bay, spices, ½ tbsp salt and 150ml water in a small pan and heat for a few mins until the sugar dissolves. See tip below about adding other flavours and spices. Leave to cool completely while you boil the eggs.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, lower in the eggs with a slotted spoon and set a timer for 10 mins. Once the timer goes off, immediately plunge the eggs into ice cold water and leave to cool. Gently tap the eggs on the work surface and peel off the shells.

Put the boiled eggs in a sterilised jar where they all fit, about 1 litre, and pour over the cooled pickling liquid to cover. Seal and leave in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, or up to three months. Once opened, keep in the fridge and eat within two weeks.

** Tip

Add spices like chilli flakes, turmeric, curry powder, mustard seeds or fennel seeds to flavour and colour your pickled eggs. You can add chopped beetroot to the mixture to pickle them pink. Strain the pickling liquor before adding to the jar for these.

Quick pickled Cucumber

1 large cucumber, ends trimmed, cut in half width-ways and peeled into thick ribbons or sliced very thinly

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

½ tsp coriander seeds

Toss the cucumber ribbons with the salt in a colander. Leave for 15 mins then squeeze out any excess moisture with your hands and pat the ribbons dry with a tea towel.

Mix the other ingredients together in a small bowl then stir in the cucumber

Pickled carrots

8 carrots, peeled and julienned (chopped into thin strips)

White vinegar and water mixed 50/50 to cover

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

1 teaspoon dried herbs

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Grind of black pepper

Add the vinegar and water mixture, white sugar, salt, pepper to a suitable pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Place the carrots in a sterile jar

Cover with the vinegar solution

Seal the containers, refrigerate and marinate for at least a week to allow the flavours to permeate.

These should last about 3 months

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