Would you believe me if I told you I’ve never tasted Piccalilli before? I truly believe, at 54 years young I am a ‘Piccalilli Virgin’ so it was with great excitement I prepared these jars of pickle, knowing that after waiting for half-a-century, I was going to experience for the very first time a mainstay of the ‘Women’s Institute’ our Grandmother’s larders and the quintessential food item for sale at English Summer Fete’s. I wasn’t disappointed…
Piccalilli is an 18th century “British” Indian style pickle that always contains cauliflower mixed with other available garden vegetables such as onion, green beans. carrots, marrow/courgette mixed with a thickened vinegar/mustard sauce spiced and coloured with Turmeric. It’s a wonderful accompaniment to bread, cheese, fresh salad vegetables, pies, cold cut meats and I will surely enjoy this as a regular dollop on my plate!
- 2 kg of fresh mixed vegetables (Cauliflower + carrot, cucumber/gherkin, marrow/courgettes, green beans, onions, celery)
- 200g of sugar
- 150g of salt (overnight prep)
- 30g plain flour or cornflour
- 20g ground ginger
- 20g mustard powder
- 2-4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
- 1 litre of white vinegar (although I’m sure malt would be fine too)
You will also need 9 or 10 1lb preserve jars with lids which need to be sterilised. I wash them and rinse, place opened jars on a tray in oven at 160C for about 20 minutes so piping hot. The lids are placed in very hot water (previously boiled) in a bowl.
- Wash, peel where needed and dice all veg into small pieces.
- Put veg into a large bowl and mix well with the 150g of salt making sure to finally sprinkle some over the top before placing the bowl in the fridge overnight. The salt draws out the water from within the vegetables.
- When ready to start making the Piccalilli, wash the veg several times in cold water to remove as much salt as possible and drain thoroughly.
- Add the vinegar and the sugar to a large saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves, add the prepared vegetables.
- Stir veg, vinegar and sugar well, add in ginger, mustard and mustard seeds, bring to boil and simmer for several minutes until the veg is still slightly crunchy. Stir when needed.
- While the veg is cooking mix the flour and turmeric together with a little vinegar to make a smooth, runny paste.
- Add the mixture, while continuously stirring, to the veg in the pan and continue to stir until the mixture thickens.
- After a few further minutes of cooking remove from heat.
- Ladle mixture into hot jars and screw on hot lids immediately. Leave 1/2 to 1-inch headroom under the lid.
- For extra safety to ensure the best seal, process jars in a hot water bath where the jars are submerged in simmering water for about 15 minutes, remove
- Leave jars to cool overnight.
- Label the next day.
The Piccalilli is best left for 2-4 weeks to mature but I ate some the next day and thoroughly enjoyed it!
People have asked me where I have been getting my cute jars and labels. The links are below:
JARS: 24 jam/chutney jars with gingham printed lids
LABELS: Re-usable and removable labels for jars and containers with chalk pen.
CANNING FUNNELS: 2 sizes, stainless steel for all jam/chutney/relish making.