September brings with it a feeling in me to urgently pack and store away as much summer produce as possible.
My store cupboard is rapidly filling up as the curtains at home are being drawn in the early evening. It’s time to focus on creating a warm and cosy nest for the coming months.
Food plays such a big part in the feeling of comfort in the long dark evenings at home, and so much the better when you can pop a jar that has sealed in the summer’s bounty.
By far my most used cookbook at this time of year is Sarah Raven’s garden cookbook.
Whatever produce you have a glut of, its pages promise to unfold a happy collection of recipes to preserve it.
I followed her recipe to make a sweet cucumber pickle.
Start by cutting three whole cucumbers into sticks 6cm long, 0.5cm deep and 1.5cm wide.
Put into a large mixing bowl along with 2 large onions cut into half-moon slices. Add in 50g salt, mix and allow to steep for two to three hours with a plate and a weight over the top.
Then rinse them in cold water, and drain.
In a saucepan, add in 600ml of white wine vinegar, 450g granulated sugar, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp celery seeds, 5 cloves, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric.
Put over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the cucumber and onion, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute.
Remove from the heat, take out the cucumber and onion and put them in sealable jars.
Return the liquid to the heat and boil rapidly for at least 10 minutes to reduce.
Pour the liquid over the cucumbers in the jars and seal.
Enjoy with cheese or cold meat. This will last for a year, but refrigerate once opened.