Pickled fennel

Serves 12
45 minutes

Ingredients

For the brining

  • 800g of fennel, finely sliced
  • 1.2l water
  • 30g of sea salt, such as Maldon or Halen Môn

For the pickling

  • 500ml of cider vinegar
  • 50g of sugar
  • 1 orange, zest finely sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 50ml of rapeseed oil

Method

1
Dissolve the salt in the water and cover the sliced fennel. Leave covered overnight at room temperature
2
The nest day, preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 to sterilise the Kilner jar
3
Remove the rubber seal from the jar, wash well in soapy water and then dry in the oven for 20–30 minutes. Sterilise the rubber seal separately in Milton solution. Fill and seal the jars while hot
4
To make the pickling liquor, bring the cider vinegar and spices to a boil and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes
5
While the vinegar is heating, drain the fennel well
6
Stir the sugar into the vinegar and taste, adjusting if necessary to your own preference
7
Pack the fennel into a hot sterilised jar. When two-thirds full, cover with the spiced vinegar, prodding down to ensure the spices get right down into the pickle. Fill the jar carefully until well-crammed
8
Top the pickle with rapeseed oil so that all the veg is covered; seal the jar and leave to cool
9
You can eat the pickle straight away, or keep in the fridge. Advice varies as to how long your pickles will last – my suggestion is not to worry but to keep a casual eye on things. Signs of cloudiness or a bad smell hint that the pickle is no longer good to eat but it should keep well refrigerated for a few months