Saffron-pickled lotus root

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Preparation info

  • Makes


    1 litre jar
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

These and the Dill and Mustard Pickled Cucumber are what I call ‘fridge pickles’. You can’t leave them on the shelf in the pantry – they need to be stored in the fridge. They’ll last for up to 8 weeks, if kept covered with pickling liquid and tightly sealed, even after you have used some of them. The premise of these pickles is much the same – approximately one part of vinegar to two parts of water, with seasoning, sweetness and flavourings to taste. These lotus root pickles are lovely when used to garnish a main course, such as grilled fish or roast chicken, or a vegetable pasta or rice dish. They’re great added to both warm and cold salads, put on top of cheese on toast after it’s been grilled or just snacked on after a meal, as the Japanese do with pickles.


  • 350 g lotus root
  • 250 ml rice wine vinegar (or use cider or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 thumb of ginger, peeled and cut into fine julienne strips
  • 2 good pinches of saffron
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey


Peel the lotus root and cut it into slices about 2mm thick (using a mandolin grater is best for this). Place in a large bowl of cold water and rinse thoroughly, then leave a gentle flow of cold water running through it while you prepare the rest.

Place everything else in a pan with 450 ml water and bring to the boil. Fill a heatproof preserving jar with boiling water and leave to sit for a minute on a folded tea towel (it helps, trust me). Tip the hot water from the jar, drain the lotus root slices and place in the jar, then pour as much of the boiling liquid over them as you can, adding as much of the ginger as possible, and seal while hot. If you are recycling a jar, it is important to use a new seal or a very tight-fitting lid. Leave to cool on the tea towel, then place in the fridge. Leave for at least 3 days before using.