When you’re catching proper large octopus like we did with the legendary Occy Rose, there’s way too much to eat in one go. This is a great way of being able to store some for later. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your octopus tentacles, so use the tenderness of the tentacles as your guide. Serve as part of a mezze plate or toss through a potato salad.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (445 votes)


  • 1 large octopus, about 3-4 kg cleaned (see Note)
  • 200 g cooking salt
  • 200 ml white wine or white wine vinegar
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Pickling mixture

  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 500 ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
  • 6 small dried chillies
  • 3 purple garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time 3 hours

Standing time 12 hours or as long as possible

Place the octopus in a large stainless steel bowl and firmly massage the salt into the tentacles. Stand for 10 minutes, then rinse off the salt and use your hands to remove any slime. Place the tentacles into a stockpot or large saucepan with the wine, celery, onion, parsley and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer very gently for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and stand the octopus in the liquid until cool.

Once the octopus is cooled, remove from the cooking liquid, discard the liquid and cut the tentacles into 3-4 cm chunks and pack into several small sterilised jars.

To make the pickling mixture, place the water and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Divide the chillies, garlic cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns among the jars, then pour over enough hot vinegar mixture to cover. Seal, then store in a cool, dark place for at least 12 hours before serving. Once opened, store the pickled octopus in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.



• To clean the octopus, cut the head from the body just below the eyes and discard the head. Remove the beak from the centre of the tentacles by turning the tentacles inside out and pushing the beak through.


This recipe is from Gourmet Farmer Afloat. Starts Thursday 19 February 2015 at 7:30pm on SBS ONE.