Speculating on Pickles

Over the last few days it has been pickling season in our house.  We got the vegetables, vinegar, salt, jars and lids from the Wednesday market.  On Wednesday afternoon Hilary made preserved lemons.  These need to sit for four weeks and then get used for tagines and other Moroccan-style dishes.  With lemons at 75 kurus a kilo we felt the opportunity should not be passed up.

On Thursday Ashley pickled beetroots.  These do not take so long to mature.  They look pretty good.  Today Hilary pickled red cabbage.  All the recipes we found said to salt it for 24 hours first.  We’re not sure how well this will work (the cabbage was a bit coarser than we would have wished) – it was cut by hand and on reflection, it might have been better to use the food processor.

It will be a couple of weeks before we can announce the results of our efforts.  Meanwhile they are sitting in a cool, dry cupboard getting shaken (but not stirred) from time to time when we think of it.

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7 responses to “Speculating on Pickles

  1. Apart from jam which I make all through the year, I’ve only got around to pickling onions this month. The problem is we eat them far too quickly so Ive got to go out and restock now.
    Id be interested in your recipe for the lemons…we have two lemon trees in our garden and Ive picked loads today. Ive made some lemon curd but of course you cant make too much at a time because it doesn’t last so long.

    • My ‘proper’ recipe for preserved lemons is in one of the Claudia Roden books that is still in the UK. We are waiting for the shippers to ship it (along with the rest of our stuff). Basically though you almost quarter the lemons longwise (leaving them attached at the stem end) and stuff them with salt. I used a desert spoonful per lemon which is probably the minimum. Then you squash them into a sterilised jar, pushing them down really hard to get juice out and exclude as much air as possible. After that comes controversy. Some say to cover them with lemon juice straight away, others say to leave them a few days then cover them with lemon juice. This time, for the first time, I tried covering them straight away. I also put some bayleaves and a few coriander seeds into the jar. Put on the lid, shake them occasionally and leave them for about four weeks. Some people only use the skins – we tend to use the pulp as well because we really like lemons. You probably do need to rinse them as they are very salty. Once they are done they should keep a good while in the fridge. We did once sling an entire jarful because they had developed white mould. According to the internet this is harmless and you just need to scrape it off before using the affected lemons… It tends to happen when they float up out of the juice. I’ve yet to find an effective way of keeping them under.

  2. My mouth is watering at the future pickles prospecting. Beetroot recipe? I used to home can with my Granny, need to break out the habit next year!

    • Recipe wise we were lazy and bought a big bottle of prepared pickling vinegar. It was simply a matter of boiling some beetroot for a hour or so, peeling and slicing, putting into a bottle and pouring over boiling vinegar along with a couple of crushed dried chilies. They are delicious, we need to make some more.

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