Pickles are one of my favourite foods. Fermented foods aid gut health and it's so easy to do! This is the recipe I use for quick and easy pickles using my Balcony grown Cucumbers. You can pickle Capsicums and chillies using the same technique. I found it on the internet year ago so I am unable to credit the source.
Pickling your food is a great way to make excess produce last - there is an art to it and some very important steps to ensure that you're not breeding dangerous pathogens in your food. I sterlise my jars using a steamer oven, but you can use one of many techniques for sterilsing food that can be found on the internet. Here's the recipe -
2 kg(4 lb 8 oz) Lebanese (short) cucumbers (the smaller, the better)
2 tbsp salt
1 litre(35 fl oz/4 cups) white wine vinegar
220 g(7¾ oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
½ tsp turmeric
1 small brown onion
3 tspbrown mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dill seeds
2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
12–18 black peppercorns
Slice the cucumbers into rounds about the thickness of a coin. or chunks 9I prefer chunky, crunchy pickles). Put into a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, then leave to sit for an hour or two (or overnight). This is to draw out any excess liquid; the bigger the cucumbers, the longer it will take. Transfer to a large colander and leave to drain thoroughly.
Make a brine by putting the vinegar, sugar, turmeric and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of water into a medium non-reactive saucepan over low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and bring to the boil. Let it bubble for 5 minutes.
Transfer the cucumbers to a large bowl. Add the onions, along with the mustard, fennel and dill seeds, and the chilli flakes, if using. Mix everything together well.
Carefully pack the cucumbers into sterilised jars, adding 2 or 3 peppercorns to each jar. The jars should be full but not over-packed – the brine needs to cover every slice of cucumber.
NOW, my pickles don't sit around for long in the fridge, we finish them as quickly as I make them so I don't do the extra step of heat-processing them which one does if storing them for an extended time. Please investigate this is you are intending to keep them for longer than a month in the fridge.
Autumn has arrived and thoughts on the Balcony are turning to planning the Autumn-Winter garden. Many would-be gardeners don't realise that living in a certain place actually determines the type of garden you will have and the plants that you will grow. Focussing on what plants grow best where you live wil help you create a healthy and productive container garden.