Pickling vinegars can be made in advance and kept until required. Because the fumes of hot vinegar are so pervasive, it is a good idea to make them on a day when you can have all the doors and windows open. Like deep-frying, the aromas and essential oils linger in hair and clothes for days. This sweet pickling vinegar is the one I like to use for small cucumbers, onions and mixed vegetables. For samphire, which has such an elusive flavour, I leave out the ginger, dill and coriander, but keep the ‘sweet spices’.
For an aromatic pickling vinegar, omit the sugar, and flavour the vinegar with 24 allspice berries,
With both vinegars, spices can be added or left out, as you prefer. Hotter pickles can be made by increasing the amount of pepper, ginger, or mustard seed, and with the addition of dried chillies.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.