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How to make a quick pickle

How to quick-pickle onions (or anything else)

Sometimes time just gets away from you and it’s at moments like these when a cooking shortcut becomes your saving grace. Having this recipe in your arsenal will take dishes like sandwiches or salads from mediocre to magnificent in a jiffy.

By Jana du Plessis

The steps
The basic recipe for any pickle would be to mix an acid with water, salt and a sweetener. From there you can add spices or herbs for flavour, and then adapt the ratios to your liking.

The flavours
The flavours in your pickle are completely up to you. If you like plenty of zing, go for lemon or lime as your acid, or use apple cider vinegar if you want something sweeter. Regular white or brown vinegar will work just as well, but if you’re feeling fancy, grab the red wine or grape vinegar.

A sweetener isn’t compulsory, but it does help to balance out the sourness of the acid. Sugar, honey or maple syrup will all add a different flavour dimension to your pickle.

The fun part is choosing which herbs and spices you want to use to jazz up your pickle. Mustard seeds are a oldie and a goodie, but why not experiment with exciting additions like orange zest or cumin, cinnamon or chilli flakes? There are also peppercorns, turmeric and herbs like rosemary, basil, mint or coriander.

The time
Letting your pickles stand for 2-3 hours would be preferable (2-3 days would add even more complexity to the flavour), but if your time is very limited, half an hour to an hour will suffice.

Stuck on what to pair your pickles with? Try our roast chicken with pickled red onion on sourdough <> and share your creations with us on social media.

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