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. This is a recipe shared with me years ago so I don't have the source, so credit goes to the original cook.
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 sliced into really fine rings
3 tspbrown mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dill seeds
2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
12–18 black peppercorns
My optional extra is a small clove of garlic!
Slice the cucumbers into rounds about the thickness of a coin. or chunks 9 (I prefer chunky, crunchy pickles). Put into a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, then leave to sit for an hour or two (or overnight whic is my preference). 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 (2 cups) of water into a 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 onionsi along with the mustard, fennel and dill seeds, pepper corns and the chilli flakes (optioonal). Mix everything together well but gently so as not to bruise the Cucs.
Carefully pack the cucumbers into sterilised jars and I like to add sprigs of homegrown Dill if available. 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.
I use the same recipe for pickling my Balcony grown Daikon and red Chilli too!
Do you want to enjoy your holiday away from your precious pots and not worry about how your garden is doing while you're away? It can be difficult to leave your garden for a holiday or work travel. This is especially true if you have a vegetable garden. A little preparation ahead of departure day will give your small space garden the very best chance of surviving without you! Plants in pots tend to dry out quickly.