A Guide to Pickles

Looking to make a pickle or a chutney but not really sure what the difference between them is? Read our guide to pickles page and learn a few interesting facts. For recipe inspiration click here.

1. What is the difference between a pickle and a chutney?

1. What is the difference between a pickle and a chutney?

These sweet and sour preserves are relatively easy and cheap to make, you are no longer concerned with pectin and acid levels, only flavour, spice and bite. Pickles and chutneys need time to mature in flavour after making them so we recommend leaving them for up to 10 weeks before opening to allow the flavours to fully develop.

Although often grouped together as one preserve, the differences between pickles, chutneys and relishes are distinctive.

2. Clear Pickles

2. Clear Pickles

Recommended shelf life: 2 years

Making clear pickles is a traditional way of preserving vegetables which dates a long way back in British history. The vegetables used for clear pickles are often left raw and whole and the main ingredients used are vinegar and salt with sugar, honey, herbs and spices added only for extra flavour.

3. Sweet Pickles

3. Sweet Pickles

Recommended shelf life: 2 years

Sweet pickles are a mix of lightly cooked vegetables and sweet vinegar. The vegetables are generally kept in large pieces. Common ingredients which are used to add flavour to sweet pickles are spices such as ginger, all spice and cloves. You can make a slight variation by thickening the vinegar using cornflour and make the most common of all pickles 'piccalilli'.

4. Chutneys

4. Chutneys

Recommended shelf life: 2 years

Originally learnt from the Indian colonies in the nineteenth century, traditional British chutney is a sharp, sweet, rich and highly spiced preserve made using a mix of vegetables and fruit which is cooked for a long time. The vegetables and fruit need to be cut into small pieces and the resulting mixture should be easy to spoon and spread.

5. Relishes

5. Relishes

Recommended shelf life: 1 year. Needs refrigerating after opening

Relishes are made from a mixture of fruit and vegetables which have been diced and are then cooked for a short period of time. Relishes tend to be spicy and sweet and sour all at the same time. Relishes do not need time to mature like pickles and chutneys and they must be stored in the fridge after opening.

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