Sunday, September 25, 2011

Perfect piccalilli

I'm fed up with chutney.
Each year I use all the odds and sods from the plot, chop them up, spice them and cook them in vinegar til they're completely unrecognisable and when they disintegrate into a brown, smooshy mess, stick it in a jar.
Chutney tastes pretty good and is generally well received but it seems a shame to to reduce all that colourful, crisp veg down to gloop.
  So this year I made piccalilli instead.
The beauty of piccalilli is that the vegetables are raw. You don't cook them at all and they retain their colours, crunch and vitamins. 
You take 2kg of chopped veg (I used cauliflower, onions, peppers, nasturtium seedpods, chard stalks, cucumbers, green tomatoes, immature tiny pumpkins, carrots, bulb fennel and purple beans) layer with salt and leave overnight.
Next day, rinse the veg and drain,
Make the sauce.
Mix (all heaped teaspoons)
6 of cornflour
2 of turmeric
2 of colemans English mustard powder
2 of ground ginger
2 of all purpose seasoning
1 of smoked paprika
make into a paste with some vinegar taken from 1.2 litres
Heat the rest of the vinegar with 300g sugar and 100g honey to boiling.
Thin your sauce with a little of the hot vinegar then put the sauce into the saucepan and stir.
Boil for 5 minutes or so then remove from the heat, fold in the veg and spoon into hot sterile jars and seal immediately.
Allow to mellow for a good six weeks before eating.

 For the vinegar I tend to use whatever I or cider, sometimes pickling. I find brown malt vinegar a bit strong but if it's all you have then so be it.

I use jars from instant coffee because they have plastic lids....metal lids react with the vinegar. If you only have metal lids put a wad of cardboard in between the cellophane cover and the metal.

And I know American readers will be stressing about the lack of a waterbath and the inclusion of cornflour but truly, piccalilli has been made this way for centuries! 
It's delicious (even though it looks a bit radio active in the picture) Give it a go.


Ruth Trowbridge said...

Today is my first visit to your blog and WOW - am so glad to have found you! I am going to make this recipe today, as I too refuse to reduce my veggies to goop! Thanks peace

sunflower said...

Thank you Ruth,
I've been over at yours reading about ladybirds....had loads of them this year...and now they will be forever accompanied by Barry White music in my head!!
Thanks for popping in,
Enjoy your piccalilli!