The pleasures of pickling

Pickling is on the upswing. Sure, it’s one of the oldest culinary traditions there is, but it’s since become a clever way to lift your food game. In short, pickling takes fresh produce and transforms it into something entirely new. More importantly, it’s a way to balance rich foods with a sour, mouth-puckering note. Think about the glorious marriage of tangy gherkins and a few slices of bitey aged cheddar. Playing with flavours in this way will elevate and enliven all your meals.

Best of all, once you’re familiar with the process, you can pickle almost anything. Beginners, try zucchini, fennel or cauliflower. They’re naturally firm which means they’ll remain crunchy when pickled. Next, you might like to progress beyond vegetables, to things like sardines, quail eggs or even strawberries (yes, you can pickle fruits!)

Here’s our quick guide to pickling fennel:

Step 1:

Using a mandolin, thinly slice two trimmed fennel bulbs (it’s August, so they’re in season).

Step 2:

In a sterilised jar, add your choice of aromatics (think peppercorns, chilli, garlic, fresh dill, mustard seeds). Tightly pack in the fennel.

Step 3:

In a saucepan, bring two cups of water, two cups of white vinegar, and half a tablespoon of salt to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.

Step 4:

Pour the hot liquid over the fennel, right to the top. Seal the jar and leave for at least 48 hours before serving.