This post is getting a lot of action lately, so I’d ask you to bear in mind that it was written in the autumn/winter – it may not be entirely relevant in summer.
Another item from my search engine slush pile – where can I buy malt vinegar for pickling?
Well, assuming the questioner is in the UK, pretty much anywhere. The normal malt vinegar you put on your chips – I prefer Sarson’s or Sainsbury’s – is fine. Just be sure, as those two are, that the strength is 5%. Anything weaker just isn’t strong enough for pickling. And non-brewed condiment, if this abomination is still available, isn’t suitable for pickling. Or for human consumption, for that matter!
At this time of year, supermarkets often have gallon plastic jugs of Sarson’s malt vinegar. It’s labelled as pickling vinegar, but it’s the same stuff as normal, but ready-spiced or not. Currently, neither Tesco nor Sainsbury’s* list any on their websites. These guys sell 1.4litre packs of ready-spiced Sarson’s online.
*Sainsbury’s currently have 2-litre bottles of Sarson’s malt vinegar. Sarson’s pickling vinegars are widely available in the major supermarkets, now (Dec 17), and have been for a while.
Wine and cider vinegar is also good for pickling, especially for foods with a more delicate flavour than onions, and I prefer cider vinegar to wine, it was a greater depth of flavour (unless you opt for a very expensive wine vinegar).
I keep pickled eggs in the fridge, but normal pickles will keep, unopened, in a cool larder or a frost-free shed or garage, or an unheated spare room. Writing this reminded me I had a couple of pickled eggs in the fridge that I’d put up about 4 months ago, and they’re perfectly fine. Obviously, after so long, the vinegar had penetrated deeply, but that’s to be expected. The flavour seems to be rather more mellow, too. In fact, I’d say they’re much nicer now than when they were just a couple of weeks old.
With eggs, as with all pickles, you need to top up the vinegar if it gets below the level of the pickled contents once opened, and they need to be kept tightly capped too. I’d also put opened pickles in the fridge. Other than that, they’re pretty undemanding.