Pickling 101: How to Pickle Anything at Home

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Pickling is a time-honoured culinary tradition that’s woven its way through generations. With each jar of ready-to-eat pickled veggies, fruits, fish, or even boiled eggs, rich flavours of the past are brought into the present. Pickling allows us to preserve fresh foods, turning them into extra delectable treats. Flavours get punchier, and shelf life is extended.

Whether you're a seasoned home cook or a budding pickling enthusiast, the magic of pickling lies in the process, as well as the kitchenware and equipment used. In this 101, we'll walk you through the essential instructions, equipment, and ingredients you’ll need to pickle anything successfully. Plus, we’ll suggest a few wilder pickling ideas to get you excited after you grasp how to pickle at home. We’ll also explore the significance of high-quality glass preserving jars so that your adventure in pickling is successfully delicious every time.

Pickling 101: How to Pickle Anything at Home | Minimax Blog

How Does Pickling Work?

Before we dive into the specifics of how to pickle delicious foods, let's get to know the two main pickling methods. There’s quick-pickling and there’s fermentation, and there’s a time and place for both of these methods.


The quick-pickling technique is good for those who want to make a big burst of flavour in a pretty small amount of time. It’s a simpler, speedier method that involves preserving vegetables or fruits in a vinegar-based solution. This process gives a punchy flavour to the pickled food, making it ready to add to any meal in just a few hours. The flavour transformation works by osmosis, meaning, when the food is soaked in the vinegary solution, water moves out of them, making them a little crunchy. Quick-pickled cucumbers are a hit on burgers or as a refreshing side, and quick-pickled red onions add a kick to salads, tacos, and grilled meats.


On the other hand, the ancient preservation technique of fermentation takes a lot longer. It provides complex, pungent flavours that reward patience. The method involves creating an environment to help the growth of good bacteria. As the good bacteria consumes sugars in the vegetables, or whatever kind of food you’re pickling, it produces lactic acid, giving rise to that characteristically tangy taste. This process takes longer but allows for richer flavours and improved nutritional benefits. A word of caution though - fermentation will naturally produce some carbon dioxide within the jars. You’ll need to occasionally ‘burp’ your jars to let some gas escape. Use high quality jars which can withstand the building pressure throughout the fermentation process.

Pickling Equipment

To start your pickling journey, investing in high-quality pickling equipment is a must. Minimax offers a range of pickling essentials, including the extra large 3L Kilner Fermentation Kit that’s designed for making large batches of fermented ingredients like kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles. Complete your pickling equipment with:

Pickling 101: How to Pickle Anything at Home | Minimax Blog

The choice of jars plays a very important role in the success of your pickling endeavours. Opt for our high-quality fermenting jars which boast a perfect blend of functionality and style. These elegant European-style glass jars are specifically designed to withstand the pickling process, including the gas released during fermentation. Their airtight seals keep contaminants at bay while allowing beneficial gases to escape, ensuring optimal fermentation conditions.

  • Wide-mouth fermenting jars

Minimax's wide-mouth fermenting jars make pickling extra easy. Their spacious openings make packing vegetables or fruits a lot less fiddly. They also allow for easier cleaning, ensuring your pickling jars stay in brilliant condition for years to come.

A spice grinder is an essential tool for creating your own custom spice blend, adding that unique touch to your pickling recipes.

Grate or zest various ingredients, such as ginger, garlic, citrus fruits, and more, to infuse your pickles with delightful flavours.

These come in handy when straining brines to work with clear and smooth pickling liquid, as well as making spice sachets to pop in the mix.

Essential for measuring liquids and spices precisely so you can keep the flavours and its intensity well balanced.

  • Labels and a marker

It’s essential to label your jars with the contents and date so you know which is which, and how long it’s been fermenting for. Sticking the date on the jar helps you track freshness and figure out when the flavour and quality peaks.

Pickling Ingredients

One of the best things about pickling is the versatility and the fun exploration of flavour combinations. Almost any vegetable or fruit can be pickled, but some ingredients work exceptionally well, such as cabbage and cucumber, offering unforgettably tasty results. The pickling world is your pickled oyster! But here are some interesting ideas to get you thinking.

Pickling 101: How to Pickle Anything at Home | Minimax Blog

  • Watermelon
  • Boiled eggs with beetroot juice
  • Fennel
  • Pine Nuts
  • Strawberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots

How to Start Pickling

With your pickling equipment and ingredients ready, it's time to begin your pickling adventure. Follow these simple quick tips to get to know how to pickle at home:

Quick Tips

  • Preparation is key: Ensure you’ve washed your ingredients thoroughly so that they’re free from blemishes before you begin pickling.
  • Sterilise your jars: Properly sterilise your glass jars by washing them in hot, soapy water, and then immersing them in boiling water for a few minutes. Allow them to air dry to maintain sterility. You could also dry them in the oven between 110-160ºC for about fifteen minutes.
  • Create unique flavourful spice blends: Experiment with various spice blends to enhance the taste of your pickles. Classic combinations include dill and garlic, mustard seeds and turmeric, or cinnamon and cloves. Again, it’s about creativity.
  • Pack with care: Pack your vegetables or fruits into the jars, leaving space at the top for the brine.
  • Mind the brine: Prepare the brine according to your chosen recipe, ensuring the right balance of vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Pour the brine over the packed vegetables, ensuring they are completely submerged.
  • Patience is a virtue: Quick-pickled food will be ready to enjoy after a few hours, while fermented pickles may take several days or weeks. Trust the process, savour the anticipation, and thoroughly enjoy the end product.

Get Pickling with Minimax Today!

With these quick pickle tips for instant delight and fermented pickling tips for more tantalising complexity, you’re set to become a pickling pro. Adding something pickled to even the most humble snack or meal is a surefire way to make it more memorable, so get ready to leave a lasting impression on all those who taste your pickled foods. Explore Minimax’s range of pickling and fermentation equipment, along with an extensive range of premium European kitchenware and cookware.