What a pickle!

I love this time of year! Experimenting with different ways of preserving fruit and vegetables is so exciting! I’m mad into pickling this year, and with so much to be got at market in bulk (and zero-waste) I’ve been spending time preserving most days in the past week. Here are some of my favourites – and they’re all so easy:

1. Beetroot: boil whole for 40 minutes in the skin (don’t cut into it). Then peel the skin off with your fingers – it’ll come off easily in your hands – and cut into dices. Put into sterilized jars (easiest way to do this is by pouring boiling water in the jars and leaving them be until you need them, obvs not too long) and add whole peppercorns and cloves. Then top up with vinegar (usually they recommend white wine vinegar but I used apple cider vinegar I made myself last year, it worked lovely too), close and leave for a week before eating. I’ve been told these last for 3 months but mine haven’t lasted that long yet before they get eaten… Great in salads!

2. Gherkins

Today was the first time I’ve ever pickled gherkins myself. It’s one of my go-to ingredients for salads and I’ve been getting annoyed at the amount of gherkin jars I’ve been collecting because of this, so I decided to make my own. I found unpackaged ones in Colruyt so this was a perfect match. This is for 800g of baby cucumbers (gherkins).

Wash the gherkins, put them on a tray, and cover with a fair bit of salt. Leave for 2 hours and then rinse thoroughly.

Boil water and pour that over the gherkins. Rinse with cold water. Repeat boiling and cold rinse once more.

Boil 280ml of alcohol vinegar with the same amount of water.

My gherkins were fairly chunky so I decided to cut them lengthwise, but you can leave them whole too. Put dill and peppercorns in sterilized jars (see above) and pack the gherkins in tightly. Push a spoon in the jars along the sides to get rid of air bubbles and close the lid. Leave for a week and then enjoy!

3. Tomato passata

I got more than a kilo at market for a fiver so came home delighted! I washed and blended them in my vitamix mixer (with the skins, I don’t like waste), and then brought them to the boil and left them simmering for 1 hour, until the mix had thickened. I added herbs and the juice of 1 lemon and poured into sterilized glass bottles (the passata bottles from Aldi and Colruyt are great for re-use).

I love making my own staple foods. Makes me feel I’m not entirely dependent on supermarkets for my food…

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