Crisp Orchard Pickle

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    2 kg

Appears in

We do not use pickles and chutneys a great deal at home, so they tend to mature nicely in the jar, and I’m always glad to have a jar or two on hand for presents as well. Serve this one with some farm-house Cheddar and a thick slice of good bread; instant lunch, instant bliss.

By the way, a reader once sent me a most useful tip for dealing with very hard pears: poach them in lemonade rather than water, and they quickly become tender.


  • 1 lemon
  • 500 g (1 lb) firm pears, such as Conference
  • 750 g ( lbs) apples, Bramleys for preference, or a crisp green apple
  • 1 kg (2lbs) firm Victoria or Marjorie Seedling plums
  • salt
  • 600 mls (1 pint) distilled pickling malt vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 crushed cardamom pods
  • 175 g (6 oz) unrefined granulated or light muscovado sugar


Squeeze the lemon into a large glass, china or ceramic bowl. Peel, core and dice the pears and apples, and turn them in the lemon juice. Halve the plums, and remove the stones and cut up the fruit. Put in the bowl. Sprinkle liberally with the salt, about 110-140 g (4-5 oz., cover and refrigerate or keep in a cool place for 24 to 36 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the vinegar. Since it is already spiced, it does not need long cooking. Put in a saucepan with the spice and sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, and then boil for two minutes. Cool. Rinse the fruit thoroughly. Drain and dry it, and pack it into jars. Pour the cold strained vinegar over the fruit, seal, label, and store it for a couple of weeks before using.