Veggie Might – oh what a pickle!

As you may have read before, I recently acquired an allotment and planted some veggies – what I could, considering the lateness of my acquisition(check that out here: And Sow It Begins).  You will be delighted (I am sure) to know that some of those veggies have managed to push themselves out through the soggy clay soil that is so prominent here in the South East of England.

First ones to come out and get pulled up were my radishes.

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze

I was so proud of them!   But then I wondered what I would actually do with them.  I have never liked sliced radishes in salad.  They suddenly seemed so boring.  Then I thought that they would probably just sit in my fridge until I threw them out but I couldn’t possibly allow that!  So I looked up various radish recipes and discovered there are actually a variety of things you can do with radishes but the one that appealed to me the most was to slice and pickle them because then you can do so much more with them afterwards.  The recipe I decided on had garlic too but I didn’t have any garlic at that time so thought I would leave the radishes and turned my attention to my other blossoming veg(?) – well I don’t actually know what to class chillies as but I had a little plant filled with gorgeous looking red ones.  No, I do not know the names of chillies.  I don’t even like chillies.  But I love my husband and he loves chillies so…well you see where this is heading.

I was going to make a chilli chutney or sweet chilli sauce but because my brain was locked on to pickling, I looked for a chilli pickling recipe.  Lo and behold, I stumbled upon the perfect one.  Pickled onion and chillies 🙂

Here is the recipe I used for that (in case you get the urge to eat a load of tasty home-made pickles!)

Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

600g of shallots

650ml of white wine vinegar
2 cardamom pods – crushed (one for each jar)
2 allspice berries (one for each jar)
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
2 teaspoons of mixed peppercorns
2 birds eye chillies split lengthwise – including seeds
2 bay leaves

Saline solution:
500ml of water

35g of salt


  • Peel the shallots and put them in the saline solution for 12-24 hours depending on size. Place a small plate over the onions to make sure that they are submerged in the solution and store in the fridge.

The next day:

  • Rinse the onions well. Put the jars into the oven to sterilise them (I turn the heat to 160c/140c fan and when the temperature is reached I turn off the oven. The jars keep hot for quite a time).
  • Add the spices to a dry non reactive saucepan and gently fry to increase the aroma of the spices (don’t let them burn!). After a few minutes add the vinegar and boil for 5 minutes. Best to open the window during this process and keep well away from the saucepan as it reeks. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Pack the shallots into the jars, adding the bay leaves, chillies and a little of the spices from the hot vinegar between the layers. Finally pour the vinegar into the jars, pushing the onions down so that they don’t float on the surface of the vinegar. I reserve a few big ones for the final layer. Seal immediately and store in a dry dark place for at least four weeks before opening.

I used shallots but I believe small onions work just as well.  I used a pickling spice mix and pickling vinegar.

onions pickled

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze

And the recipe for the radishes:

  • 1 bunch or 4 long radishes (about 1-pound, 400 g of radishes)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • optional: 1 chile pepper, split lengthwise

1. If using long radishes, peel them. Trim off the leaves and roots and slice thickly (as shown.)

2. In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar or honey to a boil, until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and add the peppercorns, garlic and chile, if using.

3. Pack the radishes in a clean pint-sized jar, and pour the hot liquid over them, adding the garlic and chile into the jar as well.

4. Cover and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Storage: The radishes will be ready to eat after 24 hours. During storage, the liquid will turn a nice rosy color and flavors – such as garlic and hot peppers – will get stronger. The radishes can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Obviously I had far less radishes and had to make do which is why they are floating a bit but I compensated for this by loading in the garlic (about 7 in all) and I used the pickling spice mix and threw in two bay leaves for good measure.

Copyright © 121013 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze

Well I so enjoyed making these pickles that I have decided I am going to do some baskets  with home-made goodies for the teachers’ Christmas pressies, including two smaller jars of my pickles 🙂

Oh, and stay tuned for more.  I am going to try making rosehip jam and jelly (obviously depending on the state of my rosehips in the garden) and lemon and lavender drizzle cakes using my own lavender 🙂

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze



  1. Nice one! It seems that part of the appeal of growing your own stuff is learning what you can do with it all afterwards.

    I remember as a kid going round a friends house and he always had large jars of pickled onions that his nan made… they made your eyes water and your teeth fall out.

    Still, I love garlic so anything with garlic is automatically great. Thing is, jars of pickled goods always conjures up images of 1940s rationing-era Britain. I reckon you should you dig a bomb shelter to go with your allotment just to get the full experience.

    • Haha already co.sidered that, putting up a shed on the allotment then digging underneath, make for a cosy underground shelter. Just in case the zombies come ;p

  2. I love new recipes. I’m making a list, and checking it twice. hehehe
    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    • Me too and I always feel proud of myself if I do something new 🙂

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