Supermarkets sell pickling vinegar in large jars, suitable for the onions or whatever you want to preserve, but it is easy to make. You can use either white spirit vinegar or malt vinegar for the base liquid.
Put the vinegar in the top part of a double boiler. If you don’t have one, sit a bowl with a lid over a pan of gently simmering water. You should find one of your saucepan lids to fit.
Add the ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, bay leaves and peppercorns. Put over a low heat for 2 hours.
Pass through a muslin-lined sieve and you are ready to start pickling.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.