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All Of A Pickle & Flavoured Vinegars

Welcome to Edible Leeds All Of A Pickle Page. I hope this page will inspire and excite all that are exploring wild foods in their various forms. It's Wild. It's Wonderful!

Wild Spiced Apple & Elderberry Pickle

Trying to knock up as much stocks as is possible before moving house this weekend. This pickle is an absolute cracker! Big on flavours but at the same time mellow, fruity & unctuous. This version is tweaked from a recipe in Roger Phillips, Wild Food book.


600g Elderberries                                        
3 Apples
1 Red Onion (finely chopped)
65g Soft Brown Sugar
250ml Cider Vinegar
50g Sultanas
Ground Hogweed Seed
Ground Wood Avens Root
Ground Mace
Ground Ginger
Chopped Fresh Ginger
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Strip and wash the eldeberries and put in a pan with the chopped apples and cider vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer until the apples are soft. Remove from heat and push the fruit pulp through a sieve into a clean pan. Add the sugar, onion, sultanas, fresh ginger and all the herbs/spices except the salt (add that at the end). Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for approx 20-30 mnutes to reduce some of the liquid content (it may take less time, it may take more). Once satisfied with the consistency put into sterilised jars and store. Regarding the spices/herbs add to taste but start off with a pinch of each and add as you feel necessary - bear in mind that the flavours will mingle while in storage, so be careful not to overpower the pickle with too many.

Hawthorn Apple & Hogweed Seed Ketchup

After making a Hawthorn only version last year I thought I'd experiment this year. Autumn is
the season of fruits & seeds among many other lovely wild treats so why not combine a few to create something even more delicious and use some of that available abundance. Hawthorn & Apples go well together and I've quite a love affair going on with hogweed seed in particular, which in my opinion is one of our finest native wild spices - I've been putting hogweed seed in just about anything I can! This ketchup is fruity, zingy, aromatic and down right delicious and has many uses.


750g Hawthorn Berries
2 Apples (large)
3 Large Pinches Ground Hogweed Seeds
350ml Cider Vinegar
300ml Water
150g Golden Granulated Sugar
Salt & Pepper

Strip the haws from their stalks, wash, drain & place in a saucepan. Chope the apples and add to the same pan. Add the vinegar and water and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for approx 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and using a wooden spoon or flexible spatula push the contents through a sieve to remove the seeds and skins. After this you should have a lovely magenta coloured pulp. Add the hogweed seed, sugar, fresh ground black pepper and cook this gently for 10-15 minutes to thicken and to ensure the sugar dissolves. Once happy with the consistency add salt to taste, stir for a minute or so and then spoon/pour into sterilised glass jars. Use as you see fit :)

Sweetened, 3 Rosehip Vinegar - I used Japanese/Dog/Black rosehips

Place 500g of chopped mixed rosehips into a pan with 500ml of cider vinegar, bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for approx 20-30mins, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 mins. Strain the contents through double muslin sheets and leave liquid to drip into a clean pan. Once liquid has stopped dripping, bring flavoured vinegar up to a gentle simmer once again, adding sugar to sweeten. Once you have the required sweetness, pour into clean glass bottles and store until ready to use.


Pickled Ash Keys


500g Fresh, young, tender Ash Keys, de-stalked        

500ml Cider Vinegar
50g-100g Golden Unrefined Cane Sugar

I used the following spices - (Black Peppercorns, Coriander Seed, Lemon Peel, Garlic).

1 Tsp Sea Salt
NB. Play about with Spices/Flavourings!!

Place the Ash Keys into a pan, cover with water, bring to boil and simmer 10-15 minutes, drain and repeat this process twice more using fresh water each time (this process softens the keys and reduces their bitterness, be careful not to soften them to a mush). Once they are softened adequately, drain, pat dry and leave to cool.

While the keys are cooling, put all the other ingredients into a small pan and over a gentle heat bring slowly to the boil, stirring to ensure the sugar dissolves, and boil for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, strain contents through a fine sieve or piece of muslin cloth into a clean measuring jug or pan.

Place the cooled Ash Keys into clean, sterilised jars, cover with the spiced vinegar, put lids on and store in a cool, dark place to mature for several months.

Pickled Ash Keys are fantastic added to salads, pasta dishes, pizzas, served with cheese or on their own straight from the jar. Once opened store in the fridge.

Sweet Pickled Ox-Eye Daisy/Dandelion Flower Pods

The best pods to use are ones that haven't opened yet, if you're lucky enough to have either growing in your garden watch as the season begins and you'll work it out. To make the vinegar put a quantity of cider or white wine vinegar into a pan with seeds/spices/herbs of your choice & bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, add sugar to personal taste and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and pour directly into a clean sterilised jar containing the unopened ox-eye daisy/dandelion flower pods, seal and leave to infuse for at least a month. Alternatively to retain crunch, allow the vinegar to cool before pouring over contents of jar. Add some fresh young leaves to the jar if you desire too.

Sweet Pickled Ramson Flower Buds   

Unopened Wild Garlic (Ramson) Flower Buds
500ml Cider Vinegar
150g Honey
Sugar (according to personal taste)
Half a Cinammon Stick
1 Tsp All Spice Berries
1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tsp Coriander Seeds

Place all ingredients in a pan (except flower buds). Bring gently to the boil ensuring sugar and honey dissolve. Then boil rapidly for 5 miutes. Remove from heat and pour into sterilised jars packed with the Ramson Flowerbuds (the heat from the vinegar will soften them), seal immediately. Once opened store in the fridge. 

Sweet Pickled Wild Garlic Seeds 
Spiced Vinegar 

Put a quantity of cider or white wine vinegar in a pan with suagr to sweeten and balance the acidic bite. Add spices. I used - whole blade mace, allspice berries, cinammon stick, coriander seed and mixed peppercorns. Gently bring to the boil making sure the sugar is dissolved and boil for approx 5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to infuse 24 hours. Next day remove the spices (keeping some to put into jars if you so desire) and bring back to the boil gently

Brine Solution 

Dissolve 3 teaspoons of sea salt in approx 1 litre of water (simple!).

The fun foraging bit

First of all, ensure you pick the seed heads within a week or two of the flowers dying off. Later on they become very tough indeed. Pick enough Wild Garlic Seed heads for the quantity of jars you require (remember not to de-seed an entire crop of garlic, pick from several sites if possible or reduce the amount you intend to preserve). 
Cut the seeds from the stalk heads using scissors (dont worry about leaving individual bits of stalk attached, unless you have lots of time to spare!). 
Place the seeds in a bowl with the brine and leave 24 hours. Drain the seeds through a colander/sieve and then dry them between two towels. Pack the seeds tightly into clean, sterilised jars and cover with the re-heated spiced vinegar. Seal with lids and leave to mature for a few weeks.

Sweet Magnolia Flower Vinegar

I tweeked this recipe, an initial idea from Robin Harford, by adding sugar. The colour transformation, even after a few hours is fantastic, the taste, simply divine!

Magnolia Flowers (choose a mix of clean, fragrant open and unopened flowers, collected on a warm sunny afternoon).
Cider Vinegar

Gently pack the flowers into a kilner jar and then cover with cider vinegar. Leave for 2 weeks, up-ending the jar every couple of days. Strain through, clean, scalded muslin cloth into a clean pan. Add sugar to taste and bring gently to the boil. Boil for 2-3 mins, remove from heat, allow to cool and then pour into clean sterilised bottles. Use in salad dressings, to pickle other wild foods, drizzled on roast veg, in fact use it however you like.

Pickled Scots Pine Flowers

A recipe I've been hoping to try for a couple of years but kept missing the 'window of opportunity'. The individual flower bulbs are delicious just on their own, crunchy, a hint of sweetness and that unmistakable pine fragrance but not too overpowering.

Pick enough green flower cones for your number of jars - pre-pollen phase. Put cider vinegar in a pan with spices - I used; Peppercorns, Whole Allspice, Coriander Seed and Pine Needles, and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 mins add sugar to sweeten and balance the acidic bite (not necessary if you like the acidity!) and leave to cool. Place pine flowers in clean sterilised jars and cover with the cool spiced vinegar (You could re-heat the vinegar and then pour over the flowers, this would soften them slightly in the jars, play about to your hearts content! 

Pickled Kelp
Use only the freshest, healthiest Kelp from clean waters. Wash thoroughly to remove any sand/debris. Slice into strips and place in salted boiling water and simmer for approx 10-15 minutes to soften slightly. Remove from heat, drain and leave to cool. Meanwhile, put cider vinegar, enough to fill desired amount of jars, into a pan, with soft brown sugar (to personal taste), coriander seeds, cinammon stick, peppercorns, whole blade mace, allspice berries and a pinch of salt (!). Bring gently to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, and boil hard for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool. Remove spices and bring vinegar back to boil for 2 more minutes. Pour into Kelp filled, clean, sterilised jars and seal.

Pickled Wych Elm Seed Pods

Pick enough seed pods to fill required amount of jars. Put cider vinegar in a pan with spices - I used; Peppercorns, Whole Allspice, Coriander Seed and Pine Needles, and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 mins add sugar to sweeten and balance the acidic bite (not necessary if you like the acidity!) and leave to cool. Place pine flowers in clean sterilised jars and cover with the cool spiced vinegar. You could re-heat the vinegar and then pour over the flowers, this would soften them slightly in the jars, play about to your hearts content! NB. Delicious in their own right straight from the tree, fresh, slightly succulent, nutty & a hint of flour.

Pickled Elder Flower Buds 

Enough Elder Flower Buds to fill your desired jar
Cider Vinegar (enough to cover contents)
Sugar (to personal sweetness)
Spices: I used, Cinammon Stick, Blade Mace, Coriander Seed, Mixed Peppercorns, Allspice Berries (you can use whatever you like)

Put all the ingredients in a pan. Bring gently to the boil & boil approx 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over Elder Buds. Seal and store. Ready to eat once vinegar has cooled. Simple!  

Sweet, Oregon Grape & Elderflower Vinegar

1 kg Oregon Grapes
1 Ltr Cider Vinegar
10 Fresh Elderflower Heads

Wash the Oregon Grapes and dry gently between two towels to remove excess water. Place in a large glass bowl and add the vinegar. Squish it all up using your hands (you will end up with purple hands for a couple of days!), cover and leave for one week but give it a stir each day. After a week, strain the vinegar through two sheets of muslin and leave to drip for a few hours. Put in a pan, add the sugar (this is very much down to personal taste, I used approx 500g) and the fresh elderflower heads. Bring slowly to boiling point, stirring to ensure sugar is dissolved and then boil for approx 5 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into clean, sterilised bottles and hey presto, sorted! Great used as a salad dressing, trickled over roast vegetables/meats and when added to general cooking when the right meal advocates use.

Hawthorn/Mayflower Vinegar 
Pick enough, freshly opened, dry Hawthorn Flowers and pack into a kilner jar. Cover with white wine/cider vinegar and leave in a warm sunny place for a couple of weeks. Strain through doubled muslin, squeezing out all the liquid and put into clean, sterilised bottles. Use on salads, roast vegetables and anything else you want really (we all have different preferences, just experiment and have fun)     

Dandelion Flower Vinegar

Collect and fill a kilner jar with dandelion flower heads, best time to pick is on a hot sunny day in the early afternoon, the flowers will be fully opened, warm and vibrant. Cover with cider or white wine vinegar. Leave for two/three/four weeks or however long you prefer, strain through muslin, add sugar to taste and put in sterilised bottles. Great for salad dressings, home-made chips, cooked fish, really you can just experiment and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Elderflower Vinegar

Collect approx 20 fresh Elderflower heads on a hot sunny afternoon, remove green stem and place
them in a kilner jar with 500ml of cider or white wine vinegar, leave for 1 - 2 weeks, strain through muslin and put into clean bottles (the empty vinegar bottle will be perfect). If you prefer a slightly sweeter vinegar, add sugar to taste, I find this balances the acidic bite associated with vinegar and creates more balance.

Pickled Grayling


1 x Grayling, cleaned, filleted & cut into 5cm length pieces
150ml White Wine Vinegar
50ml Nasturtium Vinegar or 50ml White Wine Vinegar
200ml Rhubarb Wine or other White Wine
150g Soft Brown Sugar
50g Dark Molasses Sugar
1 x Large Shallot thinly sliced
10 Peppercorns (any)
Brine solution: Water and Sea Salt (approx 2-3 tsp), enough to cover and soak fillets in, be careful not to make too salty!

1. Place all ingredients (except Grayling & shallot) into a pan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins, remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
2. Meanwhile, put the Grayling into the brine solution and leave at least 30 mins and certainly until pickling solution has fully cooled, remove and pat dry.

3. Put Grayling and shallot into cooled pickling solution and place in a fridge. Leave 24 hours before consuming.

N.B. This works equally well with Trout. Some of the ingredients I have made myself, Rhubarb Wine and Nasturtium Vinegar.


  1. Hi, for the pickled Scots Pine flowers you say pre pollen phase so assume you are pickling the male flowers, but the cones in the jar in the photo look to be young female cones. Can you do it with both?

    1. Hi yonderhillwildlife. I have no idea as to whether male or female flowers, I presumme it ok to pickle both. C :)


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