• Like mothers and grandmothers before us, we, too, should follow this trend. Pickling has made a comeback. Great for preserving and stretching foodstuff, gifting or simply pecking from the jar, add a tinge of nostalgia to the larder.

    3 Tips before you start:

    Tip 1: Sterilising the jars

    Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the Mason (canning) jars, lids and rings, along with a set of tongs and a ladle. Simmer to sterilise, about 20 minutes. Cover the pot and
    turn off the heat.

    Tip 2: Preparation

    When pickling, make sure you’re using fresh produce and give them a great scrub-a-dub-dub before the pickle process commences. This will help to make the pickle last longer upon storage.

    Tip 3: Storage

    Once you’re done with the (not-so-) hard stuff, it’s time to do the fun part! Write a label for each jar and add the date, before storing the pickles in a cool, dark, dry place. Caution: don’t store in a warm spot!

    4 Quick and easy pickle recipes

    Red onion pickles

    Makes 1 jar EASY 25 mins+ 2 hrs, to chill

    375ml (1½ cups) white vinegar
    75g sugar
    45ml (3 tbsp) Maldon Sea Salt
    15ml (1 tbsp) whole black peppercorns
    5ml (1 tsp) coriander seeds
    3 bay leaves
    2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

    1. Pour the white vinegar into a medium pot, add the sugar, Maldon Sea Salt, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Bring to a boil, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then add the bay leaves.

    2. Bring 750ml (3 cups) water to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Poach the onion slices and then drain in a sieve or colander. Set aside to cool down enough to handle, arrange the onion rings in a 500ml sterilised jar, pour over the warm pickling liquid and seal with the lid. Allow to cool down to room temperature and transfer to the fridge to pickle, 2 hours. The pickled onions will keep for up to 6 months, unopened, or 2 weeks in the fridge once opened.

    Preserved figs 

    Makes 1 medium jar EASY 35 mins

    300g sugar
    500ml (2 cups) cold water
    125ml (½ cup) balsamic vinegar
    3 cinnamon quills
    8 fresh figs

    1. In a medium pot, combine the sugar, water, balsamic vinegar and cinnamon quills. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar, without stirring. Add the figs and simmer over low heat, without stirring, until they are just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, 10 minutes.

    2. Pour the figs and pickling liquid in a 500ml jar and allow to cool down to room temperature, 15 minutes. Cover with the lid, seal and store in the fridge, to keep for up to 2 weeks.

    Grapes, shallots and rosemary pickle

    Makes 1 EASY 15 mins + 1 hr, to chill

    1kg shallots, peeled
    250ml (1 cup) red wine vinegar
    80ml (⅓ cup) sherry vinegar
    125ml (½ cup) cold water
    100g castor sugar
    2,5ml (½ tsp) salt
    200g red grapes (some halved and the rest left whole)
    3 rosemary sprigs

    1. In a medium pot over medium heat, bring all of the ingredients, except the grapes and rosemary, to a boil, until the sugar and salt dissolve, 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

    2. Add the grapes and rosemary to a 500ml sterilised jar and cover with the pickling liquid. Allow to cool at room temperature, about 1 hour, or seal and chill in the fridge, to keep for up to 2 weeks.

    Watermelon preserve

    Makes 1 jar EASY 1 hr + 1 hr, to chill

    750ml (3 cups) water
    600g sugar
    250ml (1 cup) apple cider vinegar
    3cm fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
    3 star anise
    large pinch allspice
    seeds of 1 vanilla pod
    ¼ medium watermelon, unpeeled and cut into small triangles

    1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring all of the ingredients, except the watermelon, to a boil, about 30 minutes or until it turns to a light golden syrup. Remove from stove and allow to cool, 2 minutes. Add the watermelon and cool, 30 minutes.

    2. Transfer the watermelon to a 500ml sterilised jar. Pour over as much of the syrup as the jar allows. Seal the jar with its lid and leave at room temperature, 1 hour, and refrigerate, overnight. Store in the fridge, to keep for up to 2 weeks.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com