Sunday, 15 November 2009

sweet cucumber pickles & ginger-pickled carrots

I've just discovered I really like making pickles!  I usually write up my recipes as I go, to ensure that I don't forget any stages, but I was so engrossed with this from the beginning I almost forgot.
I've been reading blogs all autumn full of ingenious recipes for pickling but I was very unsure about how to create the right balance of flavours - it didn't really dawn on me to taste the spicing vinegar.  The original plan was to make 2 completely different types of pickles using different types of vinegar to try out their flavours.  As it turned out 1x568ml bottle of distilled vinegar was enough for both the cucumber pickles and the carrot ones, so I just added some additional spice to the carrot, which I made second. I used 2 x 0.5L 'Le Parfait' style jars along with 1 old Bonne Maman jar (this had +20% so a bit bigger than the usual size).
Both the carrots and the cucumbers look really good so will make good Christmas presents.  I am sure that I will be making more of these in the next couple of weeks.

Sweet pickled cucumbers


  • 500g mini cucumbers, halved
  • 25g (1 tbsp + 1dsp) salt
  • 1.5 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 568ml distilled vinegar
  • 175g white sugar
  • 1 x 1L sterilised pickling jar
  • 1 x 500g sterilised pickling jar

Note:  I tasted the dill pickles a week after I made them.  They are really good: sweet yet slightly salty crunchy and spicy.  If you like things a bit more toned down, you could use 150g sugar and 17g salt.  

  • wash then sterilise jars in an oven at 140°C for 15 minutes, cool whilst preparing the cucumbers
  • fill a pan with water and bring to the boil
  • wash  and halve cucumbers (quarter if very plump)
  • blanch the cucumbers in the boiling water for 1 minute
  • drain and rinse in cold water
  • allow cucumbers to cool and dry
  • add the vinegar, spices, sugar and salt to the empty saucepan used to blanch the cukes.
  • bring to the boil, and if you can bring yourself to, taste the vinegar to check the balance of sugar and salt.
  • adjust with extra sugar or salt as you wish
  • dunk a few sprigs of dill into the boiling vinegar for a few seconds to sterilise (I have no idea whether this helps, it just seemed like a sensible idea)
  • pack the cucumbers and dill into the jars
  • pour the spiced vinegar over the packed jars, ensuring the vegetables are fully covered
  • lid with acid-proof (ie not exposed metal) sterilised lids 
  • store in a dark cupboard for 3-4 weeks before serving
  • store in fridge after opening and consume within 1 month

Ginger pickled carrots
Using the (250g)  left over pickling vinegar so I decided to pickle some organic carrots with fresh ginger


  • 300g organic carrots,
  • pan of boiling water for blanching the carrots
  • leftover pickling vinegar
  • 15g peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger

  • wash, peel and quarter the carrots length-ways (to create spears) 
  • blanch the carrots for 1 minute then drain and rinse in cold water
  • bring the spiced vinegar to the boil and add the ginger
  • taste vinegar to check for seasoning
  • pack the carrots into a 0.5L sterilised jar
  • pour the vinegar and spices over ensuring the vegetables are covered
  • lid with acid-proof (ie not exposed metal) sterilised lids 
  • store in a dark cupboard for 3-4 weeks before serving
  • store in fridge after opening and consume within a couple of weeks


  1. Hi Kate
    These look so beautiful - I love the combined colours of the carrots and cucumbers. Can I be on your christmas list?

    Have you tried using natural fermentation for pickling at all. Carrots and ginger work well, although nothing we've tried works as well as sauerkraut. Doesn't look as stunning as your pickles, but they are meant to be especially good for dodgy guts!

  2. Hey, these do look good! I spent Saturday with @bribedwithfood (the other half of FFFY) making pickled peppers, onion chutney and an apple sauce - yours look superb. I'll be comparing recipes!! :P

  3. Hi Kate...Marigold just called and said she really liked your writing...thought I'd pass it on...
    oh...and when are we all going to have dinner?

  4. Choclette - I keep meaning to try lactic fermentation to make sauerkraut but every time I bring cabbage home it gets eaten before I can start. Do you have any tips?

    Matt - Thank you! Are you posting your pickled pepper recipe, they sound interesting?!

    Marigold - thank you for stopping by and reading. I've emailed Tim x

  5. I haven't opened the jar and picked a pickled pepper yet. If they taste good I may share the recipe!