My previous post on pickling went on a bit, so I’ve added these two simple recipes as a separate one. The methods are not particularly comprehensive, so if you haven’t pickled before read the previous post for hints and tips.
Pickled Red Cabbage
As with many recipes for preserving, it’s difficult to come up with precise amounts. It all depends upon how much produce you have and the size and shape of your jars . A certain amount of guesswork is required. If you don’t make enough pickling liquor, you can quickly make more, and if you make too much, keep it in a sterilised jar; you can always use it pickle something else, or use it in salad dressings.
It is a good example of a system rather than of a recipe, but I reckon a good-sized red cabbage will need a litre of liquor. Oh and it’s a two-day affair, so don’t start this the day before a fortnight’s holiday or something:
1 red cabbage, sliced thinly, centre removed
Sea or rock salt
Scatter your sliced cabbage into a colander placed on a deep plate or large bowl and strew with plenty of salt. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight for the water to drain.
1 litre of cider, wine or distilled vinegar
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp Allspice berries
50 g sugar
1 star anise
1 tsp Mustard seeds
Boil the vinegar with the spices and sugar, simmering for 5 minutes. Rinse the salt from the cabbage and pack into sterilised jars. Strain the hot vinegar and fill the jars with the piping hot liquor. Pop the chilli and star anise into the jars and a few of the seeds and berries (for prettiness). Put on lids and leave to mature for four weeks.
- Cover cabbage with salt for 24 hours.
- Next day, rinse away the salt and pack into sterilised jars.
- Boil up the remaining ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes and pour over the cabbage.
Delia Smith’s Quick Pickled Onions
from her Complete Cookery Course, 1982
“I’m afraid I have neither the strength nor the patience of endure long pickling sessions…so I always use the method below” says Delia.
No faffing about with this one: onions usually need brining or dry-salting. Delia skips this stage, but be warned: they don’t keep as long as regular pickled onions as the excess water isn’t drawn out by the salting process. They’ll keep 4 months maximum.
In her recipe, Delia asks for pickling spice, which you can buy already blended, but have a go at making your own; a keen cook will probably have most of the spices needed anyway! See the previous post for an example.
2 kg pickling onions [or shallots]
1.75 l of malt vinegar (Sarson’s is best)
25 g pickling spice
The first task is to peel the onions. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water straight from the kettle, drain and get peeling. The skins should now be relatively loose from their hot water treatment.
Half-fill your jars with onions – 4 1-litre jars will be enough – and share out half of the pickling spices between them, scattering nicely. Top up with the remainder of the onions, and then the rest of the spices. Pour the vinegar in (no need to heat it) and screw the lids on tightly. Leave the onions 8 weeks before eating them.