Bunched carrots and radishes are in season at the start of summer.

Taste the rainbow: Recipes for pickled veg

It’s intoxicating when you start pickling salted vegetables yourself - serve alongside a BBQ or as a starter with dips with these guest recipes by chef James Strawbridge.

Rainbows spring to mind when you see this on the plate – the pot of gold is realising just how simple these are to make.

Salting vegetables draws out some of their moisture and leaves them ready to draw back in your culinary breath – the calming process of osmosis in action like a yoga class breathing pattern. A slice of cucumber or a ribbon of beetroot can keep its crunch after salting while soaking in the flavours of your choice, immersed in a so-sweet pickling bath. It’s intoxicating when you start pickling salted vegetables yourself. They provide a kaleidoscope of colours – the entire colour wheel – along with high-frequency tastes, textures coming alive as you bite.

Slice all the vegetables thinly and uniformly so that they cure and pickle at a similar rate to each other, except leave the carrots whole and the cauliflower broken into florets. Arrange on a large plastic tray (keeping the different veg separate from each other) and sprinkle evenly with the fine Himalayan salt. Leave for at least 1–2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge below 5˚C/41˚F.

Prepare all the pickling solutions, one at a time (rinse the pan out between making each solution). In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar with the corresponding spices until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to the boil. Transfer each of the salted vegetables into separate small bowls, then pour over the matching hot pickling solution.

Toss each veg in its pickling solution to coat evenly and then leave submerged to cool back to room temperature, stirring each bowlful of veg every 5 minutes. Remove each veg from its pickling solution using a slotted spoon while the veg still has a bit of bite and before it softens too much. Discard the pickling solution, aromatics and spices before serving.

Serve all the pickled veg as a colourful side at a barbecue or as a starter with a cooling labneh dip.

Once drained off, these pickled vegetables will all keep together in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2–3 weeks.

Serves 6 (all the pickled veg together)


2 tbsp fine Himalayan crystal salt

For the carrots

6 baby carrots, peeled

150ml/¼ pint mirin

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp shichimi togarashi (a Japanese seven-spice blend)

For the cauliflower

¼ cauliflower, broken into florets

150ml/¼ pint white wine vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp sliced (peeled) fresh

turmeric root

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

For the beetroot

2 beetroots, peeled and thinly sliced

150ml/¼ pint red wine vinegar

2 tbsp light soft brown sugar

1 tsp za’atar

For the radishes

6 radishes, finely sliced

150ml/¼ pint cider vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 jalapeño chilli pepper, de-seeded and sliced

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

For the cucumber

1 cucumber, crinkle-cut using a retro slicer, or sliced into thin discs

150ml/¼ pint cider vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp chopped dill

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

For the red cabbage

¼ red cabbage, finely sliced

150ml/¼ pint sherry vinegar

1 tbsp light soft brown sugar

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 sprig rosemary

For the onions

2 red onions, finely sliced

150ml/¼ pint cider vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp ground sumac

Salt and the Art of Seasoning by James Strawbridge (£27, Chelsea Green Publishing) is out now.


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