Pickling for Beginners

Pickling is a very handy culinary skill for the kitchen gardener, and it is very simple and straightforward to do. It’s a great way to preserve some of the gluts that you get, meaning that you can have them to hand to bring out at a later date. Pickled veg can make a great accompaniment to BBQ or grilled food, tacos and wraps, or sandwiches adding a bit of zing in the same way that a relish or chutney might.

Here, we give you the very basics to get you started so that you can pickle away to your heart’s content!

STEP 1: Make the Brine


750ml white vinegar (e.g: apple cider, white wine)
250ml water
2 tbsp sea salt (use sea salt, not table salt)
1 tbsp sugar

Put all ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and allow to cool thoroughly.

STEP 2: Prepare your Veggies

You can pickle pretty much anything – some are best cooked, others are best blanched and others can be left raw. As a general rule, prepare it as you would want to eat it… e.g., boil beetroot until it’s cooked, blanche beans, leave cucumber raw.

Chop your veggies as you wish to eat them – you might leave beetroot whole, or finely slice cabbage or onion. Remember that you will be putting them into jars and you want to fit in as much as you can.

STEP 3: Fill the Jars

Use an airtight jar (e.g. Kilner or equivalent). Stuff the jar with your veg of choice until it is approx 1 cm from the top of the jar. Add a few sprigs of herbs and a few black peppercorns for flavour, or even a chilli, then completely cover with brine. Pop the lid down, seal, and leave for a day or two (to get the fermentation process going) before putting them in the fridge.

STEP 4: Use Within 1 Month 

These pickles are for short-term storage only, so should be kept in the fridge and used within a month.


  • Red Onions, finely sliced, raw
  • Beetroot, whole, cooked
  • Cabbage, finely sliced, raw
  • French/Runner Beans, blanched, whole or sliced
  • Cucumber or Courgette, sliced lengthways or chopped into 2cm pieces, raw
  • Globe Artichoke, hearts, cooked