I've stocked up for 2013, but even though I adore them fresh, there are only so many greengages I can eat in one sitting. Nope - I want to preserve the gage glory through autumn, winter and beyond. So I pickled them!
Pickled plums of any kind are delicious, and greengages respond particularly well to being drowned in fragrant vinegar and hidden away in a cupboard for months. Eat them with cheese, cold meats, whatever - they are glorious.
As with any pickling recipe, add or remove ingredients depending on your personal tastes. Don't meddle too much with the vinegar-sugar ratio (although do add a wee bit more sugar if your gages are on the tart side), but feel free to lose the chillies, bump up the cinnamon - go WILD. Yeah. Pickling is WILD.
Pickled Greengages (makes one 500ml Kilner jar's worth)
You will need:
- 350g greengages, washed and stalks removed
- 5 cloves
- 200ml white vinegar
- 100g granulated sugar
- 2 star anise
- 5-6 cardamom pods, lightly bashed
- 1 tbsp mixed peppercorns
- 2-3 whole dried chillies
- A cinnamon stick, broken in half
- A 2cm chunk of fresh ginger, sliced
- A swirl of unwaxed lemon rind
- A pinch of salt
- Sterilise your jar. If you've been blessed by the dishwasher gods, that's nice for you. Otherwise, 10-15 minutes submerged in a large pan of boiling water on the stove (bring the water to a boil with the jar in situ, otherwise SMASH) should do it. I put mine in a low oven to keep warm - and to dry without me touching it - before I fill with deliciousness.
- Prick the greengages all over with a toothpick. Stud five of them with a clove, then pack all the gages into your dry, warm jar.
- Meanwhile, boil up the remaining ingredients, stirring well with a very clean spoon to help dissolve the sugar. Keep at a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, then pour the hot liquid and all the spicy, flavoursome additions over the greengages. Ensure everything is submerged.
- Seal, and turn the jar on its head for about half an hour to fully seal it, and to allow the bits to mingle.
- Your greengages are best enjoyed after at least a week of absorbing the gorgeous flavours. HOWEVER - a couple of days might be enough if you really can't resist. They should be stored in a cool, dark place, and have a shelf life of about 6 months.