Pickling has become a new tradition of mine, and is a great way to utilize your favorite vegetables or to transform veggie cast offs that don’t make the epicenter of the Christmas dinner table with the turkey.
They’re great for snacking on with cold cuts of ham or turkey, and you can also fancy it up and serve your pickled vegetables with beautifully thin cuts of Parma ham, Spanish cured meats, spiced chorizo, or a decadent platter of your favorite cheeses. Whatever the occasion, pickling has long surpassed its uglier history of just being a way to preserve edibles during long winter months (or the war), and is the new and cool way to liven up your pantry, dinner party, and now Christmas snacking plate, all while sitting cozy in front of the TV or playing family games on Christmas Day.
This Christmas I have decided to serve a number of pickled vegetables, some spiced with extra dried seasoning, with a homemade honey-roasted shoulder of pork. This partnership has long been a tradition in my family. When I was a child, my mother would leave the pork to rest after basting with honey, butter, and mustard, and when the hunger pains caught you before Christmas dinner was served, you could go a cut yourself a few slices of ham and have it join a plate of pickled onions, veg and some mature cheddar! Nom!
Join me this Christmas and follow this simple recipe for pickling – add whatever additional spices you would like and have a snackalicious Crimbo this year!
750ml white vinegar
200g white sugar
150g Rock sea salt
3 Star Anise’
3 Dried Bay Leaves
8g of coarse black pepper (or peppercorns)
4g mustard seeds
4g fennel seeds
10g Turmeric (or a seasoning of your liking)
3 dried chilies (or fresh if you prefer)
Any selection of vegetables
Suggestions: Carrot, Onion, Kohlrabi, Radish, Pepper, Cucumber and Cauliflower
- Bring to the boil all the ingredients except the turmeric and vegetables in a medium pan
- Once the brine is boiling turn down to a medium heat and simmer for 20mins
- While pan is simmering, wash, slice or dice your ingredients and put them into separate air tight containers and half fill each with filtered water (if using only one type of seasoning and only a few vegetables you can put them into a single container)
- Take the pan off simmer and leave to cool for a few minutes
- Cover your vegetables with the brine
- Add turmeric or your favorite seasoning to your choice of vegetable, to add some variation to your pickled vegetables
- Before sealing add a layer of plastic wrap, and cover and refrigerate
Top Tips: If you’re in a hurry add hot brine to your vegetables to speed up the pickling process. Be imaginative with your selection of containers; pickled veg can go in anything. I chose a water vase for my pickled onions and pepper. Add or take away seasonings to taste.
Photos: Nicole Bonnah, Pixabay