Tag Archive for preserving

pickled cucumbers

A kilo or so of small lebanese cucumbers that were not going to last the weekend landed in my possession, courtesy of some leftovers at Fareshare. I hate waste, so I used them to make some pickled cucumbers. I’d got the idea to do this after my sister-in-law brought some to a family dinner.  It has taken me an age to publish this post. I wrote it in March and forgot about it.  Here it finally is.

These pickles need to be stored in the fridge as they are not sterilised by heat. But I like them better this way as they retain more of their crispness. It also means that they can have less vinegar than a stored pickle, which I also like, as they are not so tart. They will last several weeks in the fridge.

The important part is to get the ratio of vinegar to water right so they preserve. Everything else is really to taste. The right ratio is about 5 parts vinegar to 3 parts water. I needed about 2 cups in total.

I used this mix and then added enough sugar to take the edge off the vinegar and seasoned with salt, thinly sliced garlic, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and fresh dill. That’s it.

They are delicious.


pickled cucumbers
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recipe type: vegan
serves: 4 jars
  • small cucumbers
  • 11/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I like this because it is mild)
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1-2 tbs salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbs sugar (to taste)
  • 4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
  • fresh dill sprigs
  • fennel seeds ½ tsp per jar
  • black pepper corns ½ tsp per jar
  1. Wash and prepare the cucumbers. I sliced mine in quarters lengthways.
  2. Pack the cucumbers tightly into clean jars. Add peppercorns, fennel seeds, garlic and dill to the jars.
  3. Add the water and vinegar to a non metal pan (I heated mine in a microwave in a ceramic bowl)
  4. Heat until almost boiling.
  5. Add salt and sugar to taste.
  6. Pour the hot liquid into the jars until they are brim full.
  7. Screw the lids on tightly.
  8. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.


tomato bottling

bottled tomato puree

I’ve been bottling the odd jar of tomatoes here and there over the summer, when I had too many from the garden to use.

But I upped the scale of bottling massively this weekend by spending a good part of Sunday bottling tomato puree at my friend Susan’s house. Susan (aka Saucy 7) is the part owner of a tomato passata making machine,  which makes doing this on a grand scale feasible. I cannot imagine doing this by hand except for a jar or two. We’ve done this larger scale bottling for the last few years. It is fun, messy, completely exhausting and we get to the stage where if you ever see another tomato it will be too soon.

Our haul was 67 jars from 32 kilograms of tomatoes, plenty to last us both through the winter.

Here’s the day as it unfolded, washing, boiling, draining, pureeing, bottling and sterilising! We also stopped halfway for a delicious lunch of rice, veg and a tahini miso dressing which I will write a blog post about soon.


machinery with minnie the cat

Getting our equipment sorted. It is always a challenge to put the machinery together after a year. The manual is in Italian only. Minnie the cat was most helpful by being decorative all day…but her Italian language skills are nil.


boiling the tomatoes

After washing and slashing the tomato skins (and of course my finger at one point), we set the tomatoes to boil, to soften and loosen the skins.


draining the tomatoes

We then drained the boiled tomatoes in a crate lined with cheesecloth.


juice from tomatoes

The liquid that runs out is tomato flavoured stock good for cooking risotto and pilaf, so we put a tray underneath to catch 4 containers of goodness.



We were tired by now and stopped for lunch. The miso-tahini dressing on this veg and rice was deliciously cheesy.  That has set me thinking about possibilities which I will blog about soon.


tomatoes everywhere

Pureeing in action. A huge mess. We were both covered with tomato splatter. I wisely wore a red t-shirt, my black pants didn’t fare so well!


vat of puree

Here is one of several vats of puree that we produced.


filling the jars

Next, filling the jars – we also dropped some basil into each jar.


bottled tomato puree

All filled and ready to sterilise.

All in all a fun, but exhausting day. I couldn’t look at a tomato for a couple of days afterwards…but I know I’ll be happy to see them in winter.



Yes. It is the “attack of the killer tomatoes” month.

I have so many at the moment that I can’t possibly use them all, so it is time to start preserving them. Note to self, do not plant 14 tomato plants next year! I’ll be making passata soon, but not yet. Today it will be relish.

I love kasoundi, a big spicy indian flavoured tomato relish, so I have made up a batch that is big enough to use up some of my tomatoes. I will keep some of the relish for myself and give the rest away to friends. I used a mixture of large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes (of which I literally have hundreds if not thousands).

This recipe was published in the Age newspaper years ago. I’ve changed it only by reducing the amount of salt. The original called for 60-90 grams, I’ve used only 50 grams.

This relish is good on everything savoury. Pastries, pies, cheese, patties, burgers, sandwiches, roasted vegetables…are all improved by the zing of kasoundi.


5.0 from 2 reviews
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serves: 8 jars
  • 90 grams black mustard seeds
  • 250 grams of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 500ml malt vinegar
  • 125 grams garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 60 grams green chillies, seeds removed unless you want it HOT
  • 2 kilos of ripe firm tomatoes chopped. There is no need to skin the tomatoes. You can also use diced tinned tomatoes.
  • 250 ml oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • 30 gm turmeric powder
  • 90 gm cumin powder
  • 30 gm chilli powder
  • 250 grams brown sugar
  • 50 grams salt
  1. Mince the ginger, garlic and chillis with 50 ml of the vinegar in a food processor. Set aside
  2. Heat the oil until smoking hot, and add the mustard, turmeric, cumin and chilli powder.
  3. Stir continuously and cook for a few minutes, taking care nothing sticks.
  4. Add the minced garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another five minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, salt, vinegar and sugar, and cook at a simmer for 60 to 90 minutes or even longer.
  6. The kasoundi is ready when the oil comes to the top and the chutney is thickened.


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