Chap. VIII. – Pickling, pp.224-242.

[Pickling Contents]

   PREPARING pickles is now practised in almost every family, and those who make their own pickles have the satisfaction of eating them without the fear of their being hurtful, as must be the case where cleanliness is wanting, or where brass pans are made use of for the purpose of rendering them green. Pickles obtain a beautiful green by keeping them in a proper degree of heat with vine leaves, colewort, or kail blades, put under and over them, and pouring the vinegar warm upon them; repeating this until they are of a good colour. 

   Pickles, when kept in earthen cans, are often lost, from the porous nature of the ware, through which the pickle wastes, and air is admitted. The only proper jars for keeping pickles are the brown stone jars made in England; a few small ones ought to be kept, with a small quantity of each kind of pickle for present use. They ought not to be touched with the hands, a wooden spoon should be used for lifting them. Tie the jars carefully up each time, with a bladder and leather above it, as exposure to the air spoils them in a short time. By observing these rules pickles will keep a considerable time. 

Mangoes of Cucumbers, or Melons,

Are made of the largest kinds, gathered before they are too ripe, and yellow at the ends; cut a piece out of the side, and with a tea spoon, or bone scoop, take out the seeds; put them in a strong brine of salt and water, six or eight days, stirring them frequently every day, when they will be yellow. Put them in a pan, with plenty of vine leaves under and over them, or green kail blades; beat a little alum and put to the pickle they were taken out of, which pour over, and set them on a very slow fire five hours, until pretty green; take them out and drain them in a hair sieve. When cold, take horse raddish scraped down, mustard seed, a few heads of garlic, some pepper, and a few green cucumbers sliced, which mix together; with this fill up the cucumbers, or melons. Or, lay a layer of each until they are full, then tie on the piece with packthread which was cut out; do so to each. Make the following pickle; to every gallon of vinegar take one ounce mace, one ounce cloves, two ounces ginger sliced, two ounces long pepper, two ounces Jamaica pepper, three ounces mustard seed, tied up in a bag, four ounces garlic, and a stick of horse raddish cut in slices; put it on the fire to boil, with the cucumbers, or melons, five minutes; put them in jars, pour on the pickle, tie them down close with bladders and leather above; set them past for use. 

Cucumbers in Slices.

   Take large cucumbers at their full growth, but not yellow, slice them the thickness of a crown piece; slice also two onions to each dozen, and as you cut them throw a handful of salt over each row; let them stand all night, then drain the liquor from them. They do best when laid in a pewter bason, and covered with another; others dry them with a cloth. Put them into a jar and pour on vinegar to cover them; a few hours after pour it off, put it in a pan on the fire with mace, pepper, &c. pour it over them scalding hot, and in a day or two heat it again. Repeat it three times, then tie them up for use. 


   Chuse the smallest, free from black spots, &c. lay them in a jar with a pickle of salt and water for a week, or till they grow yellow; if put by the side of the fire they will sooner become so. Stir them frequently every day, else they are apt to grow soft. Pour off the pickle, cover them with vine leaves, or kail blades, set the pickle on the fire, and when it boils pour it over them. Repeat this until they are a fine green; it will take four or five times boiling up; keep them always well covered with leaves, which change when the colour fades for fresh ones, and close the vessel carefully to keep in the steam. When they are greened put them in a hair sieve to drain, while you make the following pickle. To each two quarts (two choppins) vinegar take half an ounce mace, a few cloves (if very particular to have them well tasted, but they may be omitted), one ounce ginger, sliced, one ounce whole pepper, and a handful of salt. Boil this pickle five or ten minutes, pour it over them scalding hot, and tie up the jar with a bladder. 


   According to the quantity of girkins take water sufficient to cover them, and with salt make a pickle to bear an egg. Set it on the fire, let it boil a few minutes, then pour it over the girkins, cover them close up, and let them lie twenty-four hours; drain them dry and put them in a jar. Make a pickle thus; to each gallon best vinegar take one ounce pepper, one ounce ginger, with a little salt, mace, and nutmegs as you chuse. Boil all these together in a metal pot; pour it over the pickles boiling hot and cover them close. Horse raddish and mustard seed may also be added. Let them stand twenty-four hours, repeat this boiling and cooling till they are a fine colour; or, put them in a pan with the vinegar and let them simmer, but not boil, till they are green. Or, let them lie three days in a strong brine, that will bear an egg; drain them well, and pour on them the pickle ordered in the cucumber and melon mangoes. 


According as they are wanted, are made either black, green, white, or olive colour. 

Black Walnuts.

   Take the full grown nuts, before they are too hard, so that a pin may easily pierce them, gathered in a dry day; lay them in a strong pickle of salt and water for nine days, renewing the pickle every three days; throw them into a sieve and expose them to the air, which turns them black. When black put them into stone jars for keeping; into each jar, when half full, put a large onion stuck full of cloves. To every hundred walnuts add two gills mustard seed; boil a sufficient quantity of vinegar to cover them well, and pour on them; cover them close up with bladders, when cold boil the vinegar again and pour on them; do so three times, allowing the vinegar to be cold between each boiling; tie them up for two months, then pour off the vinegar and season it thus. To each two quarts put half an ounce mace, and some cloves; of ginger, black and Jamaica pepper one ounce each, and two ounces salt; boil it ten minutes, then pour it on the pickles, and tie them close up for use. 

Green Walnuts.

   Get the largest double French walnuts, before the shells are hard, some pare them very thin and throw them into a tub of cold water with some bay salt and let them lie twenty-four hours; take them out, put them in stone jars, with vine leaves at the bottom, betwixt each row, and over the top. Fill up the jar with cold vinegar and let them lie a night; next day pour off the vinegar into a pot with some bay salt, let it boil, and pour it upon the walnuts hot; tie them over with an woollen cloth and let them stand a week. Rub the nuts clean with flannels, put them as before in the jars, and make a new pickle of fresh vinegar, which pour on them boiling hot. Pour off this vinegar at the end of three or four days, boil it again, with plenty of spiceries; repeat this boiling and cooling two or three times; the last time, when cold, put in two gills mustard seed, and a stick of horse raddish sliced; tie the jars over with a bladder. They will be fit for eating in three weeks. If for keeping do not boil the vinegar; they will not be ready for use till six months after. The next year boil the pickle, and they will keep good three years. 

   Others pickle walnuts green thus. After gathering the walnuts good and large, and before the shells are hard, wrap them singly in vine leaves. Put vine leaves over the bottom of the jar and nearly fill it with the walnuts, taking care they do not touch each other; put a good many leaves over them, fill up the jar with common vinegar, or alegar, and cover them close, that the air get not in. Let them stand three weeks, pour off the liquor, and cover the bottom of another jar with vine leaves; as quick as you can take out the walnuts, take off the leaves and wrap them in fresh ones; pack them as before, and fill the jar with wine vinegar; let them stand three weeks, pour off the vinegar, and repack them with fresh leaves as before. Take fresh vinegar, put salt into it till it bear an egg, and add mace, cloves, nutmeg, and garlic; boil it about eight minutes, and pour it over the walnuts. Be careful to keep them covered, and when you take out any cover the jar close up; but do not put any in again that have been exposed to the air, as they are apt to spoil the whole. 

White Walnuts.

   Observe as mentioned before in chusing the nuts, pare them very thin, till the white appears; as they are done throw them in a tub of salt and water, let them lie in it six hours; place a board on them to keep them under the water. Set a pan with soft water on the fire, take the nuts out of the tub and put them in the pan; let them simmer five minutes, but not boil. Have a tub ready with salt and water as before, into which throw them, lifting them with a wooden ladle; lay on a board as before, and let them remain fifteen minutes; if they are not kept under the water they grow black. Lay them on a cloth to dry, then put them into jars, with blades of mace and nutmeg, sliced down and intermixed; then pour over them best white wine vinegar till near the top, which fill up with mutton suet melted, and tie them over with bladders. 

Olive Colour

Is managed in the following manner. Having, as before, gathered the nuts, put them into strong ale, alegar, or common vinegar, and tie them over with a bladder. In this state they lie one year. Then take them out and make a pickle for them, viz. To each quart strong alegar, put half an ounce each of different kinds of pepper and ginger, some cloves and mace, with a little salt; boil all together some minutes and pour over the walnuts; when cold boil it again; repeat the boiling three times, then tie them properly up, and they will keep for years. A very fine sauce is made with the liquor by adding, in proportion, one pound anchovies, one ounce cloves, of long and black pepper an ounce each, a head of garlic, and half a pound common salt, to each gallon of the liquor; boil it till one half is reduced, and skim it well; it will keep a long time, and is excellent. 


   Take walnuts about midsummer, when a pin easily pierces them, put them in a deep jar, cover them over with common vinegar, change it for fresh once a fortnight three times. Then, according to the quantity to be covered, take a proportion of the following. To two gallons best vinegar, add coriander and dill seeds an ounce each, bruised; three ounces ginger sliced, one ounce mace, two ounces nutmeg sliced; make all boil a short time and pour it over the nuts hot; do so three times, letting it cool betwixt each boiling. 

Raddish Pods

Require to be gathered when young and laid in a strong pickle of salt and water a night; next day boil the pickle and pour it upon the pods, cover the jar with a cloth doubled, place a slate over it to keep in the steam. When the pickle is nearly cold pour it off, make it again boiling hot and pour over them, covering as before; repeat the boiling, letting it be nearly cold each time, until they are a fine green. Then drain them from the liquor, and cover them with the following pickle. Take white wine vinegar as much as will cover them, put it into the jar with the pods, ginger, black and Jamaica pepper, mace, and cloves, to the strength you require. Pour the vinegar boiling hot over them, and cover with the cloth only, three or four folds, that the steam may come out a little; let them stand two days, repeating the boiling three times. When cold put in some mustard seed and horse raddish, tie them up close with a bladder and leather. 

French Beans.

   Take the young tender beans, put them in strong salt and water for three days, stirring them frequently; put them into a pan with vine, kail, or cabbage leaves, under and over them, pour on the brine they were steeped in, and set them over a slow fire until they are a fine green colour. Keep them close covered, throw them into a sieve to drain, and make a pickle to them of ale, alegar, or common vinegar, one gallon to the peck of beans, with spiceries and mustard seed according to your taste; pour it hot over the beans, which should be laid regularly in a jar, with the spiceries intermixed. Tie them over with a bladder. Nasturtiums, Love Apples, Capsicums, Kidney Beans, Samphire, and Indian Cresses, may be done in the same manner. 


   Take of best vinegar and water equal quantities, and to every pint of it one pound coarse sugar; set it over the fire with the juice of some barberries, or a few of them bruised with a little salt; boil it half an hour and strain it; when nearly cold pour it into the pots or glasses, over the barberries. Boil a piece of flannel in the liquor, with which cover them, and over that a bladder. Or

   Take a quantity of the berries, not too ripe, pick off the leaves and dead stalks, put them into jars with a large quantity of strong brine, and tie them down with a bladder. When a scum rises on the top put them into fresh pickle; but they need no vinegar, their own natural sharpness being sufficient to preserve them; cover them close. 

Currants for Present Use.

   Take either red or white currants, not too ripe, make them warm in strong vinegar, with as much sugar as indifferently sweeten them, and keep them well covered in the liquor. 


   Take the whitest and closest cauliflowers you can get, and break the flowers in bunches, spread them on an earthen dish, lay salt all over, and let them stand three days to draw out the water. Put them in jars and pour boiling salt and water over them; let them stand a night, then drain them in a hair sieve, and put them into glasses, or bottles; fill them up with spiced vinegar, and tie them over with a bladder. 

Red Cabbage.

   Slice the cabbages cross-ways very thin; put them on an earthen dish, strew salt over and cover them up with another dish; let it stand twenty-four hours, then drain them in a sieve for an hour or two; lay them properly in your jar; take as much vinegar as will cover the cabbages, a few cloves, pepper, ginger, &c; some add a little cochineal, but the true red Dutch cabbage, needs no colouring; boil the pickle, pour it over either hot or cold, and tie up the jar with a bladder. Beet roots prepared as under may be mixed, or cauliflowers. 

Beet Roots.

   Boil them till tender, take off the skins, and slice, or cut them like wheels, according to fancy; put them into a jar, boil as much vinegar with horse raddish and spiceries, as will cover them, pour it over and tie them close up for use. 

Peaches, Plumbs, Nectarines, and Apricots.

   Take the fruits before they are at full growth, or just before they ripen; lay them in a strong brine of salt and water, put a board over them to keep them under, and let them lie three days. Take them out, wipe them carefully with a cloth, lay them in glasses or jars, and fill them up with the following pickle. Take as much white wine vinegar as will cover them; to each gallon take one pint best well made mustard, two or three heads garlic, a good quantity of ginger sliced, half an ounce each cloves and mace, or nutmeg; mix well all together, pour it over the fruits, tie them close with a bladder, or leather. They will be fit for use in two months. Some cut them, take out the stones, and fill them with mustard, garlic, &c. and tie them together. All these strong pickles waste with keeping, and should therefore be filled up occasionally with cold vinegar. 


   Gather the smaller onions when dry enough to be laid up for use; take off the outward dry coat, boil them till tender in water; or lay them in salt and water for nine days, changing the water daily, then put them in jars and pour boiling salt and water over them; when cold pour it off, and put more boiling pickle on them, adding a few bay leaves. To a quart (choppin) of onions, take a quarter of an ounce mace, and two ounces of ginger, mix it through them, and to each quart vinegar add two ounces bay salt; skim it well, and when cold pour it over the onions; cover them with bladders, and as the pickle wastes fill up the jar with more. 


After taking off the brown skin, have ready a pan with boiling water, into which throw them, and when they appear clear lift them immediately out with a skimmer; lay them on a cloth, cover them up, and proceed to scald the rest. When they are cold, put them in wide mouthed bottles; take the best wine vinegar, make it scalding hot, and pour it over them; when they are again cold, cork and seal them. 

Elder Shoots in imitation of Bamboo.

   Take the largest and youngest shoots of elder, which the tree sets forth in May; the middle stalks are most tender, and largest. Strip off the outward peel, or skin, and lay them in a strong brine of salt and water for a night, then dry them with a cloth one by one. Make a pickle, half of white wine and half vinegar, taking to each quart one ounce white pepper, one ounce ginger sliced, a little mace and Jamaica pepper. When the spice has been boiled sufficiently to give its flavour to the pickle, pour it hot on the shoots; close it up immediately, and place the jar before a good fire for two hours, turning it frequently round. If not green enough pour off the vinegar and boil it again; pour it on, and repeat the boiling and cooling three or four times. 

Artichoke Bottoms.

   Boil artichokes till you can pull the leaves off, clear the bottoms by taking off the chokes, and cut them from the stalks; taking care you do not let the knife touch the tops. Put them in salt and water an hour, take them out, lay them on a cloth to dry; then put them in wide mouthed glasses, with mace and ginger between them; pour on the pickle, cover them with mutton fat melted, and tie them close up with bladders and leather. 


   The most proper time for gathering them is soon after the blossoms are gone off; put them in clean salt and water, changing the water daily for three days. Make the pickle strong with white wine vinegar, mace, nutmeg, shalots, pepper, salt, and horse raddish; then drain the berries from the pickle of salt and water, and put them in jars; make the vinegar, with the spiceries, scalding hot, pour it over the nasturtiums and tie them up close. 

Elder Buds,

When about the size of hop buds, are pickled by putting them in strong salt and water for nine days, stirring them frequently every day. They are then put in a pan, and covered with vine leaves, and the water they lay amongst poured over them; keep them over a slow fire till they are a fine green. Make a pickle of common vinegar, mace, shalots, and ginger sliced; boil it a few minutes, pour it over the buds; when cold tie them close, and keep them in a dry place. 


   Take the samphire when green, put it in a jar with a few handfuls of salt over it, cover it with water, and let it lie twenty-four hours; then put it into a clean brass saucepan, throw in a handful of salt, and cover it with vinegar; cover the pan close and set it over a slow fire; let it remain till it is green and crisp; then take it off immediately, for if it stands to be soft it is spoiled; put it in a jar and cover it close, and when cold tie it over with a bladder. It may be kept through the year in a very strong brine of salt and water; throw it into vinegar before you use it. 

Mock India Pickle,

Is made of cauliflowers, white cabbage, cucumbers, raddish pods, kidney beans, beet root, elder shoots, &c. They are put in a hair sieve, a handful of salt thrown over them, and placed in the sun, or before a fire, for a few days, to dry; when all the water is run out of them they are put into large earthen pots in layers, and betwixt each layer a handful of brown mustard seed. Take as much common vinegar as will cover them, and to each four quarts put one ounce turmeric, boil them together and pour it hot on the pickles; let it stand twelve days by the side of the fire, or until the pickles are a bright yellow, and most of the alegar sucked up. Then take two quarts strong ale alegar, one ounce mace, one ounce white pepper, of cloves, long pepper and nutmeg, a quarter of an ounce each; beat them all together, and boil them ten minutes in the alegar; pour it on the pickles with four ounces garlic peeled, tie it close down and set it by for use. It should remain a year before it is used. 


   Take the largest asparagus, cut off the white ends, wash the green ends in spring water, then put them in clean water and let them remain in it two or three hours. Have a broad stew pan full of spring water, in which put a good handful of salt; set it on the fire, when it boils put in the asparagus loose, but not too many at a time, lest the heads should be broken; just scald them, take them out with a broad skimmer, and lay them on a cloth to cool. The pickle is made thus. To each gallon vinegar put one quart (choppin) water, if it is very strong, and a handful of bay salt; let it boil, put the asparagus in jars, add to the pickle two nutmegs, scalded and sliced, of mace and pepper a quarter of an ounce each, pour it hot upon the pickle and cover it. After a week boil it again, and when cold cover and set them by for use. 

Lemon Pickle.

   Cut a dozen lemons into six or eight divisions each; make ready one pound salt, two ounces garlic, peeled and cut, two ounces horse raddish sliced thin, of mace, or nutmeg, cloves, and Cayenne pepper, half an ounce each, and two ounces flour of mustard. Put a layer of the lemons, and then the salt, spiceries, &c. alternately, into a strong brown jar, pour over them two quarts (choppins) of good vinegar, tie up the jar, and put it in a baker’s oven half an hour; or set the jar of boiling water and let the water boil round it an hour. Set the jar aside, keep it close covered, stir it daily for six weeks, and at the end of that time put it into small bottles. 

Sprats to imitate Anchovies.

   To a peck of fresh sprats weigh a pound and a half common salt, half a pound bay salt, salt prunella and saltpetre two ounces each, a quarter of an ounce cochineal; pound all well together in a mortar. Have stone jars in readiness to hold the quantity; put a layer of sprats, properly packed in rows, then the salt, alternately; press them hard down, and tie them up with bladders. They will be ready in six months. Smelts are done in like manner. By using the above proportion, any greater or lesser quantity may be made. When a small quantity is made at a time it is an improvement to pour some port wine over them. They make a very fine appearance as a supper dish. The sprats taste very nice on bread and butter. 

   To one peck smelts take two ounces pepper, two ounces nutmegs, four ounces saltpetre, and one pound common salt, all beaten very fine; wash clean and gut the smelts, lay them into a jar, or anchovy barrel, in rows, with the compound betwixt each row and a few bay leaves; boil as much red wine as will cover them, which pour over and cover them; when cold, lay something heavy upon them to keep them down and tie them over with leather, or bladders. 

To restore and keep Anchovies, when the Liquor is lost, or dried up.

   Pour on them good beef brine, and carefully cover them up to exclude air. 

Caveach, or Pickled Mackarel.

   After cleaning the fish cut them into round pieces; for three large ones take half an ounce white pepper, a large nutmeg, or half the size of one of mace, six cloves, and four ounces salt. Pound them small in a mortar, make a few holes into each piece, which fill with the compound; rub them all well over with it, then fry them brown in oil, or clarified butter. After they are cold drain them out, put them into a jar, and cover them with vinegar. If they are to be long kept they must be covered on the top with oil. 


   Take the button mushrooms, rub them well with a little salt upon flannel, and put them into a stew pan; pound a little mace, which mix with pepper and salt, and throw over them. When the liquor comes from them keep shaking them over the fire, which must be very moderate, until they dry up the liquor; then pour in as much vinegar as will cover them. When it is warm empty the whole into a stone jar and tie them up. They will keep good a long time. 

Sour Crout.

   Take the large white cabbages, when in season; cut them in quarters from top to bottom, then shred them very small as you do for pickling. Put a layer of salt, then a layer of the sliced cabbage, into a cask, strew a little pounded coriander seeds, then salt, and so proceed, with a layer of cabbage alternately, until the cask is full; put on a slate above, with a heavy weight to press and keep it down, and set it in a dry place. When you use it put the quantity you want in a pan of warm water, let it boil five minutes and strain it. Have ready a number of small pieces of pickled pork, of four ounces weight each, and a like number of salted beef; they should be more than half boiled; put them into a stew pan with the cabbage, some fresh butter, onions thin sliced, whole pepper, pimento, and mace tied in a bit of linen; stew till tender, take out the spices, season the cabbage with a little Cayenne, serve it with fried onions and sausages round the crout. 

Pickled Eggs.

   Boil twelve eggs hard, carefully chip and take off the shells, put the eggs into a jar with one dram each of cloves and mace, one nutmeg sliced, some whole pepper, ginger, and a bay leaf; pour over them some boiling vinegar, cover them close up; when cold tie them over with a piece of leather, or bladder. After they have stood three days, pour off the vinegar, boil it again and pour over them; cover them, and when cold tie them close up. They will be fit for use in a month after.