Winter might not be the most fruitful season when it comes to produce, but it’s a great time to do some pickling. Not only are they great for gut health, but pickles are perfect to enjoy with some cheese at Christmas. Here chef Paul Leonard, who heads up the restaurant at Lake District hotel The Forest Side in Grasmere, shares his favourite festive pickle recipes. Paul is big on foraging, pickling and fermenting, working closely with the gardeners year-round to pick fruits, veggies and herbs – of which there is plenty in the region.
Festive Pickle Recipes To Make This Winter
By Paul Leonard
- 2 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 400g silverskin onion
- 600g courgette, cut into small chunks
- 6 granny smith, cored, cut into small chunks
- 100g salt
- 1.7l apple vinegar
- 40g piece fresh root ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 3 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 300g caster sugar
- 8 tbsp cornflour
- 5 tbsp English mustard powder
- 3 tsp turmeric
- In a bowl, mix together the vegetables, apple and salt with 2 litres of cold water, then cover and leave overnight.
- The next day, drain the brine from the vegetables, rinse briefly, then tip into a large saucepan with the vinegar, ginger, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8-10 mins until the veg is just tender but still with a little bite. Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid, and set aside while you make the sweet mustard sauce.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cornflour, mustard powder and turmeric, then gradually pour in the hot vinegar while whisking, until you have a lump-free, thin yellow sauce. Return it to the saucepan and bubble over a low heat, stirring constantly, for 4 mins until smooth and thickened. Stir in the veg and spoon into five sterilised 500ml jars while hot, then seal. Once cool, enjoy straight away, or store in a cool, dark cupboard for 2-3 months. Refrigerate once opened.
Pickled Red Cabbage
- 500g red cabbage, finely shredded
- 1tbsp maldon sea salt
- 500ml apple vinegar
- 200ml red wine
- 400g caster sugar
- 2tsp black peppercorn
- 6 bay leaves
- 2tbsp yellow mustard seed
- Place the shredded cabbage in a colander over the sink and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 2-3 hours, then drain and wash away the salt. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.
- Put the vinegar, wine, sugar, peppercorns and bay leaves into a big, wide saucepan and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half.
- 1 ½kg baby onions
- 1l white wine vinegar
- 150ml rapeseed oil
- 600ml water
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black peppercorn, cracked
- 100ml balsamic vinegar
- Tip the onions into a large bowl, pour over a kettleful of boiling water, leave to stand for a minute, then drain. When cool enough to handle, peel the brown skin away, keeping in tacked as possible.
- Set the peeled onions aside and place all the other ingredients except the balsamic vinegar into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, then simmer for 3 mins. Drop the shallots into the pan and simmer for 8-10 mins until just tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the shallots into sterilised jars, then boil the liquid vigorously for 5 mins. Turn the heat off, stir in the balsamic vinegar, then pour over the onions to cover. Seal the jars and leave for at least 3 days. Will keep for up to 3 months.
- 1kg medium sized raw beetroot
- 200g caster sugar
- 300ml white wine vinegar
- 2 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- Heat oven to 180C, Wrap the beetroots individually in pieces of foil and place on a baking tray. Roast for 1.5 until the point of a sharp knife can be easily inserted then leave to cool.
- Unwrap, peel and trim the stalks away from the beetroot. Leave the small ones whole and cut larger ones in half and pack them into a large sterilised kilner jar.
- Tip the sugar, white wine vinegar, 200ml cold water the spices and bay leaves into a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and bubble gently, stirring, for 2 mins until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the balsamic if using.
- Carefully pour the hot vinegar, spices and bay over the beetroot (you might not need it all) and leave to cool uncovered. Once cool pour the rapeseed oil over, seal the jar and keep in the fridge for up to a month.