Pickled fennel

Serves 12
45 minutes


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


Dissolve the salt in the water and cover the sliced fennel. Leave covered overnight at room temperature
The nest day, preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 to sterilise the Kilner jar
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
To make the pickling liquor, bring the cider vinegar and spices to a boil and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes
While the vinegar is heating, drain the fennel well
Stir the sugar into the vinegar and taste, adjusting if necessary to your own preference
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
Top the pickle with rapeseed oil so that all the veg is covered; seal the jar and leave to cool
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