Getting into a pickle

Fermenting and pickling are the perfect ways to preserve the end of the year’s harvest – read our chef’s tips for green tomato chutney, pickled chillies and more.

Fermenting and pickling are the perfect ways to preserve the end of the year’s harvest – read our chef’s top tips to make green tomato chutney, fermented green tomatoes and pickled chillies. 

Green tomato chutney

Has anyone else found themselves with a glut of green tomatoes that haven’t managed to ripen before the sunshine disappears? Green tomatoes are essentially perfect in every other way – their only challenge is that their sweetness hasn’t had a chance to develop. If you give them a helping hand by adding some apples, sugar and onions, you create a chutney that makes a fantastic addition to a cheese board, a zingy flavour layer when stirred into stews, or a happy accompaniment to cold meats.

Green chutney

Fermented green tomatoes

If you’ve still got a pile of green tomatoes after making chutney, or fancy taking your green tomato skills to the next level, then have a go at making some fermented green tomatoes. They add a sharp and sour note to salads and plates of roasted veg: the flavour and texture is much like a dill pickle. To make these at home, quarter your tomatoes and place in a sterilised jar. Add some spices, (try whole garlic cloves, dried dill heads and peppercorns) and then cover with a two per cent brine and leave in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. You’ll need to make sure your tomatoes are fully submerged under the brine. A clean, non-porous stone works well. Your pickles should be ready to eat in seven days. Leave for longer to allow their flavour develop. Best eaten within six months.

Fermented tomatoes

Pickled ginger

Ginger is one of those vegetables that often gets forgotten at the bottom of the veg drawer, only to be discovered at a later stage in a limp and abandoned state. One way to make use of any excess is to pickle it. The Japanese use pickled ginger as a palate cleanser in between courses of sushi, and it’s also great to add a feisty bite to salads and roasted veg.


500g fresh root ginger⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

1 tablespoon sea salt⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

250ml rice vinegar⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

125g granulated sugar⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


Peel the ginger with a spoon and slice wafer thin. Toss the slices in a bowl with salt and leave for an hour, then rinse and pat dry with a towel. Pack into a warm sterilised jar, quickly heat the vinegar and sugar until sugar has dissolved then pour over the ginger. Once cool store in the fridge for six months.


Chilli pickling

We’ve been harvesting the last of our chillies from the Field Kitchen polytunnel over the past few weeks and using a whole host of ways to preserve their flavour to use on our menus in the chilly months ahead.

One of our favourite methods is to pickle them and then use them in salads. We’re also in the process of pickling all our jalapeno chilies – once pickled, we’ll be putting them on the grill and then serving as a bar snack with a cooling dip. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


100ml water⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

100ml white wine vinegar⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

½ tsp sugar⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

½ tsp salt⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

1 tsp coriander⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

1 tsp pepper corns ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


Clean and dry the chillies and then prick each one with a needle. Place all the other ingredients into a pan and warm until the sugar and salt dissolve. Leave to cool down. Once cooled, place the chillies in a mason jar until they are all fully submerged. Leave for a week to pickle. Store in the fridge once opened.

Pickled chillies

The Riverford Field Kitchen will host a series of fermenting and preserving workshops during 2020. Follow on Instagram or check the website for dates.


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  1. There is also bottling which I have got to grips with thanks to my Slovakian supervisor. It is remarkably easy once you have done it a couple of times, I have jars of gherkins, plums and pears in my pantry. Candying. is also easy. I have candied angelica from my own plants are candied peel from unused lemons and limes that I kept in the freezer after taking the juice. Fabulous taste


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