26 Dec

Piccalilli is something I never envisaged myself going near, let alone making, let alone eating, let alone enjoying!!

But I have a lovely Nan who is rather fond of the stuff and so I decided to make a batch for Christmas. The recipe yielded loads, meaning that I wound up with enough excess piccalilli for me to think ‘”Right… I’ve heard it’s nice with cheese”.

And that’s where the love affair started. I now smell of onions far more often than is socially acceptable I think.

I have looked at a lot of recipes for this, and it has led me to believe this is a fairly milder version of the usual, so may be good for first-timers (judging by my reception of it anyway)! This is a great way of using up a glut of vegetables, so feel free to substitute certain ingredients if you like. Quartered shallots could be used instead of pickling onions; apples or pears would be lovely I think; cherry tomatoes; cucumber… and other additions such as coriander seeds; mustard seeds; ground ginger instead of fresh; capers if you like them…


So here it is. Makes 4 x 450g jars.

  • 500g courgettes
  • 500g cauliflower
  • 400g silverskin or pearl onions
  • 100g salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 400ml white wine vinegar
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • thumb-length piece fresh root ginger, grated

Before you start, I think it ought to be made known that this requires overnight brining. 

  1. Chop the courgette and cauliflower into similar sized pieces. I chose to make mine into 1 inch cubes, but a little thinner or chunkier would be no terrible thing. Peel the onions. 
  2. Boil 1 litre of water, then add the salt and mix until the salt has dissolved. Leave to cool, then tip the brine and all of the veg into a large bowl or saucepan. Weigh it down using a plate and leave overnight.
  3. Drain the veg thoroughly, swilling it briefly under cold water.
  4. Put the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently, whisking until blended. Slowly bring to a simmer and take off the heat when thickened. Mix this sauce into the vegetables and leave to cool.
  5. Transfer the piccalilli into sterilised jars (see below for instructions), seal and leave for at least 2 weeks before eating for the flavours to develop.

And here’s some piccalilli outings… Cue the ‘best friend’ music; imagine I have a 2-seated bicycle 🙂

Here’s piccalilli with some ham…

Here it is with some cheese and crackers…


Okay I’ll stop. I hope you get the same pleasure from this as I do.

Sterilising Jars

Preheat the oven to 180°c. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Place the jars upside down on a rack in the oven and allow to drip-dry. Leave for at least 20 minutes.

Sterilising jars and equipment is essential to the success and longevity of any preserves you make.

Do not add anything cold to hot jars, or anything hot to cold jars or the jars will shatter.

6 Responses to “Piccalilli”

  1. diane mavity December 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    delicious Anna xx

  2. ChgoJohn December 27, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Piccalilli is a new one on me. I’d like to give it a try this Summer, when I can get some really fresh veggies. Thanks for sharing.

    • shikoomkoom December 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      Oh how exciting! Sounds like a great idea 🙂

  3. musingmar December 27, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Piccalilli is such a charming name. I can imagine this is a fresh and zesty pickle!

    • shikoomkoom December 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      It certainly is! If only pickles always looked as good as they taste!

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