- 1kg green beans
- 140g coarse crystal sea salt
For the pickling vinegar
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 10 cloves
The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety…
- few pieces of mace blades
- pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 700ml white wine vinegar, plus 3½ tbsp
- 100g white sugar
- 1 finely chopped red onion
Trim the stems from the green beans. In a large bowl, mix the coarse crystal sea salt with 300ml boiling water and let it dissolve to make a brining solution. Add 1.2 litres cold water, then the beans. Cover and leave to soak overnight, then rinse and drain.
To make the pickling vinegar, put the whole spices in a medium saucepan. Toast over a low heat until they begin to smell aromatic. Add the dried chilli flakes last, as these can easily catch. Add the bay, pour in all of the vinegar, the sugar and the red onion, let the sugar dissolve, and bring to a simmer.
Pack the beans into sterilised jars (see tip below), then pour over the hot vinegar and seal. Ready to eat in 2 weeks, or longer, if you like.
Sterilising jars and equipmentWash jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray and put in a low oven for 10 mins or until completely dry. If you want to use rubber seals, remove the seals and cover in just-boiled water. Make sure you sterilise any funnels, ladles or spoons you’re going to be using too. All equipment must be sparklingly clean before you begin, to eliminate bacteria or yeasts from the equation.
Choose the right vinegarFor pickles to last in the jar, the vinegar must be 6% acidity. White wine and malt vinegars are 6%, but cider vinegar has slightly lower acidity, so is more suitable for chutneys.
Choose the right saltDo not use table salt for pickling, as the anti-caking agents can give a cloudy, discoloured result. Look for either coarse crystal or coarse grain salt.
Cover the vegAllow a few centimetres of space at the top of the jar and make sure the vegetables are well-covered in vinegar. A pestle or the end of a rolling pin is ideal for pushing the veg down into the vinegar.
Storing the picklesWhen salted or brined and pickled, and kept in a cool, dark place, these pickles should last, unopened, for several months. Softer vegetables, such as beans and cucumbers, are most likely to go soggy sooner, as they are the most watery.