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Piccalilli Recipe

A bright-yellow mustard pickle with Indian roots (the colour coming from turmeric); made from mixed vegetables – especially small onions, cauliflower florets and cucumber. It was first mentioned in a recipe in 1694 with the title 'To pickle lila, an Indian pickle'.
It's now a traditional English Mustard pickle. It goes beautifully with cold meats or Cheddar strong enough to stand up to it. But it would destroy the taste of the very best Cheddars – such as Keen's, Quicke's or Montgomery.
Piccalilli improves with keeping and will happily last for months for months in a cool dark place – as long as the jars are sterilised and sealed – once opened, it should be refrigerated.

Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Suitable for Vegans


Ingredients for about 1.5 kilos/3 lbs):
1 Medium-sized Cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small flowerets
1 Cucumber, headed and tailed, then quartered lengthwise and cut into 1cm/1 ins pieces
250gr/8 oz Pickled Onions, peeled
1 big Spanish Onion, peeled and chopped
6 Green Tomatoes, blanched, peeled, then cut into chunks
250gr/8 oz Coarse Sea Salt
500ml/1 pint Malt Vinegar

For the Sauce:
900ml/1½ pint Malt Vinegar
4 tablespoons (60ml) Mustard Seeds, bruised
a 5cm/2 ins piece of Root Ginger, peeled and finely-chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon (15ml) Black Peppercorns, bruised
2 tablespoon (30ml) Turmeric
1 tablespoon (15ml) Dry Mustard
120ml/4 oz Caster or Granulated Sugar
4 tablespoons (45ml) mixed to a paste with 6 tablespoons (90ml) Water


Put the cauliflower florets, cucumber, baby onions, chopped onion and tomatoes in a non reactive bowl (so not aluminium), sprinkle them with the salt and leave them for 3 hours.
Drain the vegetables and discard the liquid.
In a non-reactive pan (large enough to hold all the ingredients) bring the vinegar to the boil. Add the drained vegetable and reduce the heat to a bare minimum.
Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, or until they are almost cooked when pierced with a skewer or small sharp knife.
Remove the pan from the heat and drain the vegetables - discarding the vinegar.
In another non-reactive saucepan, pour the second batch of vinegar in and add the garlic, ginger, mustard, mustard seeds, peppercorns, sugar and turmeric.
Heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring the vinegar to the boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the liquid into a non-reactive mixing bowl. Discard the solids.
Return the vinegar to the pan and add the flour and water paste, mix well and slowly bring this to the boil, stirring continuously.
Simmer for 2 minutes, to take away any flavour of raw flour.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the vegetables, tossing them carefully until they are all well coated by the sauce.
Spoon the piccalilli into warm, sterilised jars - either screw top or of a kilner-type. Push the vegetables down so that they are covered with the sauce.
Keep them in a cool dark place until needed.

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