Gherkins

I grew up in a family who enjoyed weekend visits to the bakery followed promptly by cheese and pickle sandwiches. My mum loved branston pickled while my dad also loved that brightly coloured yellow stuff. These days I prefer to make my own pickles and enjoy them in a variety ways. The combination of the crisp sharp pickles with tangy creamy cheddar cheese, will always be my favourite combination.

5 kilos of fresh small cucumbers*
2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch of dill
1 1/2 litres apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 litres of water
5 tablespoons of salt
250g raw sugar

Wash (and trim if necessary) your cucumbers and squeeze into your prepared pickling jars, along with your onions.

Squash in some dill springs and any other spice you feel like, mustard seeds and pepper always work nicely.

Bring the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to the boil. Pour the hot brine into the jars of cucumber and spices then seal immediately. The easiest way to do this if using WECK jars is to place the rubber seal on top of the jar and then place the glass lid on top. Once the contents has cooled slightly you can attach the metal clasps.

Place the jars into a pot of boiling water and boil for 20 minutes. The pickles will be ready to enjoy in about a weeks time, but will last in your pantry for six months or longer.
*Recipes usually call for a special variety of cucumber, however I think you can use whatever variety you have on hand. I used a mini organic version of the traditional Lebanese cucumber, although a little softer than a true pickling cucumber, these still tasted amazing!

Makes approximately 10 medium sized jars.