While summer is a classic time for preserving, most people think of jam – the perfect way to use up a glut of summer fruits. However summer pickling is also great fun and just as tasty a way to use up summer vegetables.
Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild with summer pickling – you could try carrots, celery, peppers, squashes, cauliflower and green beans as well as the more traditional cucumber.
Summer pickling courgettes and peppers
- 3 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 4cm strips
- 1kg courgettes, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices
- 3 red onions, peeled and cut into 5mm slices
- 850ml white wine vinegar
- 220g demerara sugar
- 25g mustard seeds
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Half tsp ground mace
- 2 red chillies, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 40g sea salt, crushed
Pickling is a fairly long process. The night before you want to pickle, layer your peppers, courgettes and onions in a colander, sprinkling a little of the salt between each layer. Place the colander over a dish to catch the juices and put a dish with a heavy jar in it on top of the vegetables to press them down.
The following morning, rinse the vegetables in cold water, squeezing out any excess moisture gently and patting dry. Leave to dry thoroughly on a clean dishcloth for a couple of hours.
Place the vinegar, demerara sugar, the chillies and the spices in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer for three minutes. Then you can add the vegetables to the pickling mix and simmer for a further three minutes.
Add the pickle to sterilised jars while still hot, filling right to the top. Seal with vinegar proof lids and store in a cool, dark place for three months before eating. Refrigerate once opened.
A variation on the theme uses apple cider vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, and feel free to experiment with your spices – some peeled garlic cloves and a couple of cumin seeds will give the mixture a bit of a kick.
Eating your summer pickling vegetables
Pickled vegetables are delicious with cold meats and cheese and make an egg salad more interesting but also lift the common burger to more sophisticated levels. They add a delicious tang to cream cheese on crackers and look great garnishing a Bloody Mary. However sometimes it’s most tempting to eat them on their own, straight out of the jar!