Pickling Recipes: Pickles and Spiced Fruits


Pickles can be made in great variety and are a welcome addition to the table.

The rules and ingredients for success are simple—well-chosen fresh vegetables without blemish, good quality vinegar and careful and neat arrangement in the jars.

When they have been washed and pre-pared, the vegetables are salted (i.e. sprinkled with dry salt, or soaked in brine). For this, use a good quality block salt—in preference to the packet salt— and grind down to a powder for use. An easy method is to cut the block in half and rub the halves together, or rub the block on a coarse grater.

After the preliminary salting, which is usually 12 to 24 hours, the vegetables may be rinsed in cold water or left salted, as stated in the recipe.

Brine is a mixture of salt and water, and the strength varies according to the purpose for which it is to be used. Standard strength is 1 lb. salt to 1 gallon boiling water. Pour the boiling water on to the salt, strain through a muslin and use when cold.

It is important to use a top quality vinegar for the making of pickles. This means that the vinegar will contain the correct amount of acetic acid to ensure that the vegetables will keep properly. Brown malt vinegar is the vinegar usually preferred, as the pickles have a better flavour when preserved in it. White malt gives a better appearance as the colour and variety of the vegetables are more easily seen when in the jar.

White wine or cider vinegars may also be used, but are rather expensive for ordinary pickles.

Vinegar is usually spiced before being poured over the vegetables etc. to be pickled. It may, of course, be spiced when the pickle is being made, but it is more convenient to spice a certain amount of the vinegar well beforehand and keep it in bottles ready for use. Different combinations of spices for vegetables may be used, or pickling spice, a mixture of ready prepared spices, may be bought from the grocer.

Vinegar may be poured either hot or cold over the vegetables, which have already been packed in the jars.

A general rule is to pour cold vinegar over the vegetables that must be crisp when eaten, such as cabbage, and hot vinegar over softer vegetables, such as cucumber.

Special jars, four square with lined screw lids, are well worth buying if pickles are to be made. They prevent the spilling and evaporation of the vinegar and are easy to pack and store.

Sauce ketchup bottles may also be bought; they are convenient as they have screw tops and so are simple to sterilize.

Vinegars, pickles and chutneys should be made in aluminium, stainless steel or enamel pans, and should not come in contact with copper, brass or iron. A wooden spoon should always be used.


To keep for pickles.

These spices may be varied to taste, but the following is an average mixture. If a hotter one is required, bruised root ginger and chillies may be added and an additional quantity of mustard seed.

To 1 qt. vinegar take: 1 stick cinnamon: 1/4 oz. blade mace; 1/2 oz. black peppercorns: 1/4 oz. allspice (pimento or Jamaican pepper): 1/2 oz. mustard seed.

Tie the spices together in a small muslin bag. Put into an enamel pan with the vinegar. Cover the pan and bring slowly to the boil, but do not allow actually to bubble.

Draw off the heat and leave for 2 hours, to allow the flavour of the spices to get into the vinegar. Then remove bag and pour off the vinegar into bottles.

If using the bought pickling spice, allow between 2 and 3 oz. to 1 qt. of vinegar.


2 lb. tomatoes: 1 lb. onions: 1 small white cabbage: 1 small marrow: 1/2 lb. sugar: 2 oz. dry mustard: 2-1/2 tablespoons curry powder: 2 lb. small outdoor cucumbers: 2 cauliflowers: 1 lb. runner beans: 1/4 lb. flour: 4-1/2 tablespoons salt: 2 qt. vinegar.

Wash, drain and slice the tomatoes. Sprinkle them with salt and leave for 12 hours. Wash and prepare the other vegetables, chop and shred them, put in a large pan with the tomatoes, cover with boiling water and add 3 tablespoons salt. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Drain and cover with the following mixture:

Mix flour, sugar, mustard, 1-1/2 tablespoons salt and curry powder. Blend to a thin cream with a little cold vinegar. Bring the rest of the vinegar to the boil and pour it on to this mixture. Stir well, return to the pan and cook for 5 minutes after it comes to the boil. Pour over the strained vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. The mixture should cover the vegetables well. Pot and tie down while hot. Keep at least 6 months before using.


4 lb. marrow: 1 lb. onions or shallots: 1lb. sugar: 2 pints vinegar: pickling spice: about 1 oz. turmeric and about 3 oz. flour mixed together with a little water.

Cut up onions and marrow, lay on a big dish, sprinkle well with salt and stand overnight. Pour off juice, wash if too salt. Cook with sugar, vinegar and pickling spice for 20 to 30 minutes, then thicken with turmeric and flour. Reboil.


2 cauliflowers: 2 medium-sized cucumbers: 16 french beans: 1 lb. onions: 1 medium-sized marrow: 1 qt. vinegar: 1 oz. whole spice: 4 oz. Demerara sugar: 1 oz. Ground ginger: 1 oz. mustard: 1/2 oz. turmeric: 1 tablespoon flour.

Cut the vegetables into small pieces. Lay on a dish and sprinkle with salt. Leave 12 hours. Drain off the water, boil nearly all the vinegar with the spice, then strain. Mix the other ingredients, with the remaining cold vinegar, into a smooth paste: then mix with the strained boiled vinegar. Pour into a saucepan, add vegetables, and boil for 15 minutes.


Choose firm solid hearts of a good colour. Cut into four and remove the stalk, then shred downward in thin slices. Put the shredded cabbage on a big dish and layer well with salt. Leave for 24 hours. Drain off the brine and pack into jars. Have ready a spiced vinegar and pour into the jars. Make sure that the cabbage is well covered. Tie down securely.

Kilner jars are good for storing red cabbage.

This pickle may be used after one week. Do not keep it more than 2 to 3 months as it will lose its crispness.


3 to 4 cucumbers: salt or brine: spiced vinegar.

Peel cucumbers with a potato peeler, cut into four and then across into 2-in. lengths. Sprinkle with salt or soak in brine for 24 hours.

Drain well, do not wash, and pack upright into jars. Fill to the top with hot spiced vinegar and screw down. Use after a week in pickle.

A small capsicum or chilli may be put into each jar if a hot pickle is liked.


(A useful pickle when there is a glut of tomatoes.) 6 lb. ripe, firm tomatoes: brine or salt: 2 lb. brown sugar: 2 cloves of garlic: 1 qt. vinegar: 2 blades mace: 2 sticks cinnamon: 1 oz. allspice (pimento).

For the brine, take 1/2 lb. block salt to 2  qt. water. Allow to dissolve before using.

Wipe and cut the tomatoes into thick slices (they can be skinned if wished). Put the slices into a crock and cover with brine or layer well with dry salt. Leave 24 hours. Then drain well.

Put sugar, garlic and vinegar together. Bring to the boil in a preserving pan, add the spices tied together in a piece of muslin. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove them carefully with a slice and pack them in layers in clean, dry jars.

Boil the syrup and spices together until the syrup is thick when tested, as for a jam.

Pour into the jars and cover closely when cold.


2 qt. peeled “pickling” or silverskin onions: 1/2 cupful salt: 2 oz. mixed pickling spice tied in a muslin bag: 1 qt. good malt vinegar, brown or white, 2 oz. sugar.

To peel the onions, slice off the root and as little as possible of the crown. Scald with boiling water, drain after 1 minute, put into cold water and peel.

Put the onions into a bowl; sprinkle over the salt and stand overnight. Next day, rinse well and dry.

Boil the vinegar, sugar and spices together for 5 minutes. Throw in the onions and bring to the boil. Then pack them into glass pickle jars, and cover well with the vinegar.

When cold, screw on the lids or cover with parchment.


Small pickling onions: tarragon: mixed spice: wine vinegar: salt: green or red pepper: white sugar.

Put the onions on a large plate and cover well with salt. Leave for 12 hours, wipe all the moisture off and pack into jars with sprigs of tarragon and a piece of red or green pepper. Add 1 teaspoon of whole mixed spice to every 1 lb. jar. Boil sugar in the proportion of 6 oz. white sugar to every 1-1/2 pints wine vinegar, or a little more sugar if the vinegar is unusually strong. Pour into the jars and tie down at once.


Walnuts for pickling must be picked before July for preference, or they become woody. It is best to wear rubber gloves when picking the walnuts as they stain the fingers very badly and it is impossible to remove the stains.

Young green walnuts: salt: water: malt vinegar: peppercorns: allspice: root ginger.

Prick the walnuts all over with a long packing or carpet needle. Cover with brine—6 oz. Salt to each qt. of water. Leave in brine 5 to 6 days, then drain, cover with fresh brine and leave for another week. Drain and place on a tray in a sunny place, turning occasionally. When the walnuts are dry and black, pack them into jars and cover with vinegar spiced as follows:

Allow 1 oz. peppercorns, 1 oz. allspice, 3/4 oz. root ginger, to each qt. of vinegar. Bruise the spices, put in a muslin bag and boil in the vinegar for 10 minutes. Allow vinegar to cool. Remove spices. Cover walnuts and tie down. These will be ready to use in 6 to 8 weeks.


This is a pickle to make either with the hothouse or outdoor cucumbers when they are plentiful.

Sound cucumbers: alum water made with 1 dessertspoon of powdered alum to each qt. of water: syrup made with 2 lb. sugar, 1 pint vinegar and 2 tablespoons each of whole cloves and stick cinnamon tied together in a piece of muslin.

Pare the cucumbers thinly and, if very large, cut into quarters lengthways and then into 2- to 3-in. Pieces. If medium or small, halve and cut across in the same way. Cover with the alum water and bring slowly to the boil. Then drain and chill the cucumbers in iced water.

Have the syrup ready with all the ingredients boiled together for 5 minutes. Remove the muslin bag. Add the cucumbers and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn all into an earthenware crock or bowl. Leave till next day. On 3 successive days, drain off syrup, boil hard for 1 minute and then pour over the cucumbers. On the last day, pack the pieces carefully into jars and fill up with the boiling syrup. Tie down when cold.


3 lb. small, even-sized, green tomatoes: 1-1/4 pints water: 1/2 pint good vinegar: 1 level dessertspoon of salt.

Pickle: 1/4 pint wine vinegar: 1 pint water: 2 lb. sugar: 1 fresh chilli or 2 dried: 10 cloves.

Wipe tomatoes and prick all over with a silver fork. Boil water, salt and vinegar together, pour over tomatoes and leave for 24 hours. Prepare pickle by boiling the vinegar, water and sugar together with the spices tied in a piece of muslin. When a clear syrup appears (after about 5 to 7 minutes boiling), put in the tomatoes, well drained from the vinegar water, and simmer until tender. Remove carefully and put into wide-necked glass jars.

Remove spices and boil syrup 7 to 10 minutes longer, pour over the tomatoes and cover well. This pickle is best preserved in bottling jars.


4 qt. damsons: 4 lb. cane or preserving sugar: 3/4 pint good vinegar: 1 stick cinnamon: 6 cloves.

Wash and prick damsons with a silver fork. Put them in alternate layers with the sugar in the preserving pan, add the vinegar. Bring slowly to the boil, shaking the pan occasionally to bring the liquid up over the damsons.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then lift the damsons from the syrup with a perforated ladle or fish slice, and lay them on flat dishes.

Add the spices to the syrup and boil for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Put the fruit carefully into glass jars, strain the syrup and pour it on boiling hot.

Cover when cold.

25. March 2013 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Jam Making, Pickling | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Pickling Recipes: Pickles and Spiced Fruits


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