Home How To's How to make pickles, chutneys and sauces

How to make pickles, chutneys and sauces



  • Use ripe, but not over-ripe vegetables and fruit for making pickles, and fully ripe for chutney, relish and sauces. 
  • Cider vinegar is best for most preserves, but use malt vinegar for darker pickles. Vinegar must have 5% acetic acid – check the label. Vinegar is the preservative in pickles so always use the amount given in the recipe. 
  • Use white or brown sugar as you wish.
  • Use whole spices tied in muslin for paler preserves, or ground spices for darker ones. 
  • Use iodised or non-iodised salt as you wish. 


  • Always wash, drain and dry vegetables and fruit before you begin.
  • Chutneys, relishes and sauces need at least 1 hour of cooking to thicken them and achieve a warm, rounded flavour so make a good-sized batch or the mixture may catch and burn on the bottom of the pan. 
  • Use an aluminium or stainless steel preserving pan for this sort of preserve, not a copper pan. 
  • Always use hot sterilised jars or bottles and fill close to the top. Less air space mean less likelihood of mould. 
  • You can leave chutneys and relishes to get cold in the jars, covered with a cloth, then cover with sterilised lids. Make sure metal lids are lined or the vinegar may make them rust. 
  • A food processor or blender is useful for making smooth sauces.
  • Always label preserves and store them in a cool, dark place. 
  • Leave pickles, chutneys and sauces for at least a fortnight – and as long as two years – before using them. They improve and mellow with age.