My friend Dr Kyle supplies me with the seeds I need each year for the garden. She is also a great cook, so I was delighted when she shared this easy pickled veg recipe with me. She uses beetroot, but I like to use carrots or radishes as well. Cucumbers work too – although they should not be boiled before adding to the pickling liquid. Keep any extras in a non-reactive container and in a cool place. I love to eat these easy pickled vegetables with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream as a salad or side dish – great with leftover meat.
FILLS 4 x 1 LITRE KILNER JARS
PREP TIME 20 MINUTES, PLUS COOLING AND INFUSING
COOK TIME 20 MINUTES
FOR THE PICKLING LIQUID
750g caster sugar
750ml raw cider vinegar
FOR THE VEGETABLES
1kg small raw beetroot, trimmed
350g baby carrots, trimmed
500g radishes, trimmed
2 small ridge-style cucumbers, halved and cut lengthwise into wedges
2 large sweet white onions (look for ones described as ‘salad’ or ‘Spanish’ onions so the flavour isn’t overpowering), halved and thinly sliced
1. Put the beetroot, carrots and radishes into separate pans of boiling water and cook until they are only just soft to the point of a knife. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. When the beetroot is cool enough to handle, rub off and discard the skin. (This is a messy business, so I advise you to wear rubber gloves.)
3. Next, make the pickling liquid. Put the sugar, vinegar and 750ml of water into a pan. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring now and then to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat, add the cloves and leave to cool slightly.
4. Pack the beetroot, carrots, radishes and cucumbers into individual warm, sterilised Kilner jars, top with the sliced onions and pour in enough of the pickling liquid to cover the vegetables generously, then seal the jars immediately.
5. Leave the easy pickled vegetables for at least 24 hours so that the flavours can come together. Store in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place – the pickles will last for around two to three months.
Quick to mature and short-rooted, radishes are the perfect choice for a shallow container and also brilliant for tucking in among other crops. Scarlet Globe is an excellent old-fashioned variety that always seems to do well, while French Breakfast, with its pink and white colouring, has a long, elegant shape and looks striking on the plate.
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