This Piccalilli recipe is a mixed vegetable relish that is has a very distinct look due to its slightly spicy, tangy mustard sauce. It’s a British staple!

Piccalilli in a jar served with fresh radishes

British people love their pickles. Many foods get pickled, from onions to eggs (yes, this is true).

This popular British condiment is usually served with cheese platters, but can also transform a simple ham sandwich or used as one of the components of the Ploughman’s lunch. (see picture below) . There are not really many dishes that this relish would not complement.

A Ploughman's lunch of meats, relish, bread and cheese

If you like spicy mustard, you will love this piccalilli. The vegetables used need to reflect the British nature of the condiment and that are easily available. I have seen mango and other ingredients used in recipe, but these are not typically British.

This Piccalilli recipe is a mixed vegetable relish that is has a very distinct look due to its slightly spicy, tangy mustard sauce. It’s a British staple!

What are the ingredients of Piccalilli?

My choice of vegetables are chopped cauliflower, shallots, cucumber, and green beans which are typically what you will find in most piccalilli recipes. I added carrots for color, but these are optional.

The vegetables are brined to remove moisture, then cooked and pickled in the sauce for at least 3-4 weeks. It is important that the vegetables are chopped the same size so they all cook at the same rate and this also makes for easier eating.

The sauce is a rich combination of vinegar, turmeric (which gives its distinctive color) mustard powder, ground ginger and nutmeg that develops deep flavor the longer it sits.

The history

Piccalilli is traced back to the 18th Century and was originally called Indian pickle, which would indicate its origin. I would imagine since it is a low cost, easy food to make and lasts for months, was the reason it was so popular and has remained so to this day.

If you want a long-term preservation, I recommend this Easy Guide to Canning.

The recipe yields 4 cups/32 ounces/1 quart/1 liter of piccalilli.

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Yield: 4 cups/1 liter

Piccalilli Recipe

Piccalilli in a jar served with fresh radishes

A mixed vegetable relish that is has a very distinct look due to its slightly spicy, tangy mustard sauce. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) shallot, chopped small
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) cucumber, chopped small
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) green beans, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 cups (1 liter) apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (64 grams) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Add all the vegetables to a large bowl, cover with water and stir in the salt. Cover with a towel and leave for 1 hour. After 1 hour drain the vegetables.
  2. Add the drained vegetables, vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard powder, ground ginger and nutmeg to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, sterilize the jars. You will need 1 - 32 ounce/1 liter jar.
  4. Fill a large pan (a pasta pan works well) with water and completely submerge the jars upright, lids as well. Bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Keep the jars hot until ready to use, then remove from the water using tongs. Set on a towel to dry.
  5. Mix a little water with the flour to make a paste and stir this into the pan of vegetables and simmer until thickened.
  6. Fill the jars, leaving 1-inch space at the top and seal the jars tightly. Refrigerate for up to 1 week. For easy extended preservation canning method, click here > Easy Canning

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 210Sodium 1771mgCarbohydrates 41gProtein 3g