Growing up, the only time we had pickles in the house was at Christmas. I don’t remember them as a feature of the dinner table at other times of the year, but at Christmas, they were a noticeable presence.
And I loved them. Jars of hard, crunchy cauliflower, silverskin onions and mixed pickle, which I favoured less. I would pop a large floret of pickled cauliflower into my mouth to see how long I could keep it there until my lips would purse from the vinegar and I had to drop it onto the plate, only to be told off for lack of manners.
I would cut little silverskin onions into quarters to place carefully on top of a piece of ham, carefully making sure the piece wasn’t too big to overpower the salty bite of ham. To be honest, I could have eaten a plate of pickles in place of turkey. But that is another story.
I love pickles. When a little punnet of baby turnips and a kohlrabi arrived in my vegetable box this week, pickling them seemed like the obvious thing to do. Summer turnips are small and pale with a purple blush. They give a lovely sweet hit and a milder bitter note than the mature turnips, harvested later in the year have. Paired with a juicy, cabbagy kohlrabi, it makes a nice, fresh summer pickle.
I love fresh pickles for their ease of making and their immedacy. They will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. I’ve been using them as a nice little acidic flourish to salads, steamed vegetables drizzled with pesto and vegetable burgers.
4-5 small summer turnips
1 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cup water
1 tbsp seasalt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 star anise
Cut the turnips and kohlrabi into matchstick shaped pieces and fill a sterilised, 1L kilner jar.
Add the rest of the ingredients to a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to make sure the salt and the sugar has dissolved.
Pour over the vegetables, making sure to cover.
Cool and keep in the fridge for at least 48 hours before using to give the flavours a chance to marry.