Quick Summer Pickles
I came home late one evening last week and it was still light at 9pm. I had a bounty of summer vegetables and citrus left over from a shoot I’d been on that day – so much that two of us had to carry the box from the car and there wasn’t enough room in the fridge. Over the following days I turned the overflowing box of veg into a rainbow of pickles.
Lemons and limes made quick zesty pickles and little Persian cucumbers cut wafer thin with a sharp Victorinox knife were instantly transformed with some acid and sweetness to top veg burgers and salads. Tomatoes were preserved with lovage and olive oil (more of that another time). The one thing all these recipes had in common was they required very little time at the stove and were ready to eat as soon as they had cooled enough not to burn us. Happy bright flavours for summer.
Quick lime and cumin seed pickle
This is my speedy version of the lime pickle that sits alongside curries, I love this most in wraps with spiced paneer and a crunchy spiced slaw. It also works brilliantly with lemon peel too. This makes a small batch to eat straight away but if you want to make a jar to keep in the fridge then double or triple the recipe (it’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks).
2 unwaxed limes
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
To make the pickle, lightly peel the zest from the limes in long strips with a speed peeler. Put them into a saucepan and squeeze in the juice, then add the cumin seeds, salt and sugar. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the strips of zest have shrunk and started to curl at the edges. Once it’s had its time, take it off the heat and leave to cool.
Instant cucumber pickle
I make this instant pickle more than any other, I use it to spruce up burgers, grain bowls, to sit on the side of curries and to pile between two thick slices of bread with some cheese at lunchtime. This takes no time at all the only thing to be mindful of is to cut your cucumber slices nice and thin, a mandolin will speed things up.
a cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoons coriander seeds, bashed in a pestle and mortar
a good pinch of sugar or a good squeeze of honey
grated zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
To make your pickle, put the sliced cucumber into a bowl and add all the other pickle ingredients. Using your hands, scrunch the cucumber slices to get the flavours going.
South Indian lemon and mustard seed pickle
This is my desert island pickle. It was taught to me by the chef from a brilliant South Indian vegetarians restaurant in North London called Rasa. It makes a hero of my favourite ingredient lemons, using the whole fruit peel and all for a sherberty lemon kick. Do make sure you buy unwaxed lemons here as you will be eating the lot. Eat this next to a curry or with a pile of poppadoms.
Coconut or rapeseed oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp dried turmeric
1/2 finely chopped red chilli
a good pinch of dried chilli
small handful curry leaves
2 unwaxed lemons
Place a small pan on a medium to high heat, add a drizzle of coconut or rapeseed oil, then add the mustard seeds, dried turmeric, a finely chopped red chilli, a good pinch of dried chilli and a handful of curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add a pinch of salt and two finely chopped lemons, peel on but seeds removed. Cook for about 10 minutes until thickened a little then take off the heat and leave to cool a little before spooning the pickle into jars. The pickle will be good to eat as soon as it is cool and will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Ways to use your pickles:
Sandwiched inside a veggie burger
Next to a bowl of dhal and rice
In a pitta full of falafels and hummus
In a cheese sandwich
Next to any curry
tossed through a salad for extra interest
This post was sponsored by Victorinox.