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Pickling: everything you need to know

Pickling: everything you need to know

by Great British Chefs 27 October 2016
All the pickling tips, tricks, advice, guides and recipes you could ever ask for, as well as insights into the science behind the process.

Chefs these days seem to love nothing more than proudly displaying their collection of homemade pickles in restaurant windows. Preserving of any sort has become a national phenomenon of late, but it’s pickling that we’ve really fallen in love with. While the technique has always been popular with people who grow their own vegetables, many of us now buy fresh ingredients for the sole purpose of pickling them.

What makes pickling so interesting is the infinite number of spices, herbs, vinegars, vegetables, fruits and fish that can be combined together to create something completely new. A few garlic cloves, a sprig of thyme or even the seeds from a vanilla pod can make a huge difference to whatever ingredient you’re preserving. But, like all cooking, it’s important to learn the basics before jumping in at the deep end and wondering why your Szechuan-spiced squid in apple cider vinegar doesn’t taste quite right.

Luckily, we’ve got everything you could possibly need to get started on your pickling journey. The only specialist kit you need is a couple of jars, and there’s nothing more satisfying than opening one after a week or two and tasting the fruits of your labour. If you’ve already mastered the fundamentals, then see if you can match Britain’s top chefs and incorporate your pickles into some more advanced dishes.

Pickling: an introduction

Essential skills

Keep it clean

Sterilising jars when making jams, chutneys and preserves is an important step to prevent all of your hard work spoiling due to a buildup of harmful bacteria. Read our guide to ensure your precious pickles never go awry.

Watch and learn

Meet the producer

It's known as the go-to vinegar for sprinkling over chips, but as Sarson's embraces its pickling heritage we take a look at the company to find out what makes this malt vinegar so special.

Vinegar at the ready