New recipes

Gran's Piccalilli recipe

Gran's Piccalilli recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Pickles

This is my gran's recipe. Serve with cold cuts, cheese or a Ploughman's lunch.

107 people made this

IngredientsServes: 80

  • 300g (11 oz) salt
  • 3L (5 pints) water
  • 1kg (2 lb) cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1kg (2 lb) pickling onions, halved
  • 1kg (2 lb) cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 250g (9 oz) caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1.4L (2 3/8 pints) distilled cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric

MethodPrep:1day2hr ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:1day3hr40min

  1. Dissolve the salt in the water, and add the cucumber, onions and cauliflower. Cover and leave for 24 hours. Drain the vegetables.
  2. In a large pan, blend the sugar, mustard and ginger with 1L of the vinegar. Stir in vegetable mixture, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Blend the flour and turmeric with the remaining 400ml vinegar and stir into the cooked vegetables. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into sterilised jars.
  4. In a large stock pot, pour water half way to top with boiling water. Using a holder, carefully lower jars into pot. Leave a 4cm (1.5 in) space between jars. Add more boiling water to cover them, about 4cm (1.5 in) above the tops. Bring to the boil and cover, processing for 15 minutes. Remove jars from pot. Put jars on a wood or cloth surface, several inches apart and allow to cool. Jars will be sealed.

How to sterilise jars

Learn how to sterilise jars two ways with our handy step-by-step guide and video.

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(40)

Reviews in English (28)

Used different ingredients.I used crushed mustard seeds instead of powder. This took away the "heat" of proper mustard piccalilli, but my kids don't like anything too spicy! In general one whole cucumber weighs about a pound, so I halved the other veg to keep the proportions right. I got 6lbs of pickle from this recipe.-18 Dec 2008

by discojoy

This is not a good recipe! Unless you like mushy pickled vegetables! After buying the califlower, onions, spices and using the cucumbers from my garden, then chopping everything, the whole thing turned to "mush" after simmering for 20 minutes. I binned the entire thing!!! It didn't even taste that good either. Yuck!! Not a good recipe to try!!-21 Jul 2008

lovley nice and easy to do this amount makes just over seven large jars-07 Sep 2010

Recipe Summary

  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 6 cups seeded and finely chopped green tomatoes
  • 2 cups finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 cups finely chopped red onion
  • 2 cups finely chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 8 4-ounce canning jars with lids and rings

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, and basil in a large pot bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir green tomatoes, red bell peppers, red onion, and Granny Smith apples into vinegar mixture boil vigorously, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and relish flavors have blended, 15 to 20 minutes.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack relish into hot, sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids and screw on rings.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil and lower jars into the boiling water using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary to bring the water level to at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and process for about 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound salt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 pounds cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 2 pounds cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 pounds pearl onions, halved
  • 9 ounces white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 6 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 ½ ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric

Dissolve the salt in the water, and add the cucumber, onions and cauliflower. Cover and leave for 24 hours. Drain the vegetables.

In a large pan, blend the sugar, mustard and ginger with 5 cups of vinegar. Stir in salt and vegetable mixture, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend the flour and turmeric with the remaining 1 cup of vinegar and stir into the cooked vegetables. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into sterilized canning jars.

In a large stock pot, pour water half way to top with boiling water. Using a holder, carefully lower jars into pot. Leave a 2-inch space between jars. Add more boiling water to cover them, about 2 inches above the tops. Bring to a boil and cover, processing for 15 minutes. Remove jars from pot. Put jars on a wood or cloth surface, several inches apart and allow to cool. Jars will be sealed.

Chop tomatoes, onions, and green peppers and place in a bowl. Sprinkle salt all over the top and ice down.
Let stand at least 4 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain mixture. Place in a large pot. Add the vinegar, brown, and white sugar.

Combine pickling spices, celery seed, and mustard seed in a piece of cheesecloth, tie, and put into the center of the pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Discard cheesecloth and mixture. Put into sterilized Mason jars and preserve the piccalilli while hot. Yields 5 to 6 quarts

Recipe Note: Covering the vegetables with ice retains the crispness.

For more recipes and our family history check out our new cookbook!

Gran's Piccalilli recipe - Recipes

Here’s an old recipe clipped from a newspaper and found in a large collection, date unknown. The recipe has handwritten notes that I’ve included in brackets (with the font italicized)…you’ll find it typed below along with a scanned copy.

For you gardeners who are going to have green tomatoes that will not ripen here is a good recipe for just such tomatoes. It’s a recipe of Mrs. Evans’ for piccalilli.

Grind 1-2 peck green tomatoes, 10 red pimiento peppers, 6 green bell peppers, 5 tiny hot peppers, 10 onions. Drain. Pour boiling water (I didn’t use boiling water) over above and let stand 15 minutes. Drain again. Put vegetables in large kettle, add 1 pint vinegar (5 cups) (barely cover), 3 1-2 cups granulated sugar, 1-4 cup salt, 1-4 cup mustard seed, 3 tablespoons celery seed, *1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon allspice, 1 tablespoon ground cloves* (*omitted*). Bring to a full rolling boil. Pour into sterile jars and seal at once.

Please read the Safe Canning & Food Preservation section if planning on canning this recipe.

Print A Copy Of This Recipe:

Related Video

Be the first to review this recipe

You can rate this recipe by giving it a score of one, two, three, or four forks, which will be averaged out with other cooks' ratings. If you like, you can also share your specific comments, positive or negative - as well as any tips or substitutions - in the written review space.

Epicurious Links

Condé Nast

Legal Notice

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.

Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21).

The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast.

For More Information on Pickles

Pickles - How to Make Pickles

Relishes - How to Make Relishes at Home

Preserving Jars, Labels and Covers

Jam and Preserve Making Equipment

12 comments on &ldquo Hot Piccalilli Recipe &rdquo

could you tell me please how long this needs to be left before it is at its best…many thanks

About 12 weeks. If you’re using cauli, it’s best to eat it between 3 and 6 months or they tend to get a bit mushy.

Hi, Is it normal for this to taste very salty when it has just been made, i tasted some of the sauce after potting and it was really salty. Have I done something wrong?

How thoroughly did you wash the vegetables after layering in salt? This might be the problem.

Hi, Well I thought I had washed it fairly thouroughly, do you think it will fade or is it best to get rid now?

I’d leave it for 3 months and then taste again.

I found that trying to wash all the mixture together was insufficient, so I washed it by one hand-full at a time under the cold tap.I should have taste tested before I added the spices, because I too thought ahh it’s salty.However, I tasted the vinegar from the bottle and found that it does have salty undertones.The product tasted ‘thin’ but I suppose that’s why it’s left to mature.

Hi I did the recipe from womans weekly which is a toatally diferent method to yours Val, & it has turned out brilliantly, only prob was they didnt say how much cauliflower or vegetables to use so had to guess, luckily it has turned out very well it has made 4 small kilner jars full (approx 4lbs)

Hi, I am just about to make some picalli but after reading the comments decided to check the saltiness of the veg before going onto the next stage and I must admit it was very salty so after several rinses I decided to let the veg soak in cold water for a couple of hours which seems to have lost a lot of the salt. Will let you know how it turns out.

Well it’s been a couple of weeks now since I made the piccalilli and I can say it has turned out very well, by soaking the veg in water for a couple of hours I managed to remove enough salt to make the veg palitable, the other thing I did was added a small jar of silverskin onions sliced in half and that has worked extremely well too. I think if making this again I might just half the salt at the brine stage or rinse the veg after less time and maybe make a little more sauce as I only just had enough and would have liked just a little more. Anyway hope my observations may help.

I’ve only found this site tonight – I can’t wait to make some piccalilli now! @Lynne – I like your idea of adding some extra silverskins – it’s because I’m doing my annual pickled onions for Bonfire Night that I am on here for some inspiration so I will be using my own pickled onions within the recipe and some extra chillies as I like Chillies. I’m going to try out the original recipe (if it’s v salty there are plenty of my family who heap salt onto there food so they may prefer it), the well rinsed version and finally my own version. Here’s hoping to some good butties!

  • 4 Cups water
  • 1/2 Cup caster sugar
  • 1 Cup white wine vinegar
  • A few strands of saffron
  • 1/4 Teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, divided into small florets
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow carrot, thinly sliced
  • 3 Teaspoons arrowroot

In a pan, combine the water, sugar, vinegar, saffron, curry powder, turmeric, and bay leaf and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Add the vegetables and simmer until just tender, then remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Mix the arrowroot to a paste with a little water and stir it into the cooking liquid.

Simmer for 1-2 minutes, until thickened, then remove from the heat and leave to cook.

Return the vegetables to the mixture.

Adapted from Fortnum & Mason: The Cook Book by Tom Parker Bowles (Fourth Estate, 2016)

What is Piccalilli?

Piccalilli is a British interpretation of an Indian-style pickled relish. I had never tried store-bought piccalilli, and Katie assured me that it was fairly different from her lactic acid and salt fermented condiment.

Intrigued, I explored other piccalilli recipes, which were much more sweet and vinegary. I particularly liked the River Cottage version of piccalilli. So my fermented piccalilli recipe is a mash-up of these two very British recipes.

Sweet fermented piccalilli

Making a sweet cabbage ferment is unusual. Cabbage quite naturally sours with its own bacterial culture. However, this recipe switches the usual fermentation method by using a yeast-based culture to ferment sugar. The exact sweetness will depend on how long it is left to ferment.

For a more traditional piccalilli flavour, I recommend fermenting for just 3 to 5 days. It’s a perfect recipe for beginners or anyone who doesn’t typically enjoy sauerkraut.

  • This sweet and sour condiment is perfect with Indian food, like pakoras or dosas.
  • Serve it as a relish on sandwiches or at a barbecue.
  • It’s a trendy addition to a charcuterie board.
  • Follow Katie’s suggestion and add it as a topping to soups. It’s particularly nice on cream soups or plain lentil soups.

This recipe was updated from the original version. If you are looking for a savoury, spiced fermented sauerkraut, check out my mixed vegetable and turmeric sauerkraut. It’s practically the same as the original piccalilli recipe. Print


Heat the salt in 500ml boiling water until dissolved. Dilute it with 1 litre of cold water, then pour this into a very large glass or china bowl and set aside to cool.

Separate the cauliflower into small florets, discarding any thick stems. Quarter the shallots and cut the courgettes, beans and pepper into 2cm pieces. Put the vegetables in the cold brine, cover and leave for 12-18 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 120°C/gas mark 2. Drain the vegetables and wash them thoroughly under a cold running tap. Put some tea towels or kitchen paper on the counter and let the vegetables drain in a single layer for about 20 minutes. Put 6 x 350g jam jars and their lids in the oven to sterilise them while finishing the recipe.

In a small food processor, whizz the garlic, peeled ginger and chillies together to make a paste. If you want a milder sauce, remove the seeds from the chillies before you process them.

Grate the peeled apple, discarding the core. Put the apple and the spice paste into a large heavy-bottomed pan and mix in 250ml vinegar. Place the pan on the heat, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Mix the sugar, mustard powder, turmeric and cornflour together in a bowl and, using another 250ml of the vinegar, gradually mix to a smooth liquid. Add the remaining 250ml vinegar, then scrape this into the pan.

Over a low heat, bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly, then cook for 3-4 minutes or until you can no longer taste raw cornflour. The sauce should be very thick at this stage.

Put the vegetables into the pan and stir well. The sauce may not completely cover them, but stir them around. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes until the vegetables just soften. The sauce may thin a little as some of the juice from the vegetables comes out.

Spoon the piccalilli into the hot jars, packing it down well and making sure the vegetables are covered by the sauce. If you're low on sauce, pour over a little extra vinegar and seal.

Allow them to cool, then label and store in a cold, dark place for 6-9 months.