Piccalilli (Spiced Mustard Pickle)

This flavoursome vegetable pickle from Merilees Parker is the ideal accompaniment to a Ploughman's lunch, cold meats, cheese and pies
By Merrilees Parker
Piccalilli (Spiced Mustard Pickle)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 7 x 350 ml capacity jars and 1 x 175 ml capacity jar
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 24 hrs soaking
  • Effort: medium


  • 2 cauliflower, divided into 2.5 cm florets
  • 450 g small pickled onions, halved through the root
  • 2*250 g cucumber, peeled and cut into 5 mm rounds, then each round quartered
  • 450 g dwarf green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 2.5 cm lengths (or 450g runner beans, stringed and cut into 2.5 cm diagonal slices)
  • 110 g sea salt
  • 2.4 litres water
  • 1.2 litres malt vinegar, plus 5 extra tablespoons
  • 50 g dry mustard
  • ½ whole nutmeg
  • ½ ground allspice
  • 25 g turmeric
  • 175 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
  • 25 g flour

Tips and Suggestions

You need to begin this the day before: to sterilise the jars, wash each jar thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse and heat in a moderate oven for 5 minutes.


1. Place the cauliflower and onions in a non-metallic bowl and the cucumbers and beans in another.

2. Whisk the salt into the water to make a brine and pour this over the vegetables.

3. Put a plate with a weight on it on top of each one to keep the vegetables submerged and leave them for 24 hours.

4. The next day: drain off the salt water and briefly rinse the vegetables.

5. Place the cauliflower, onions and 1.2 litres malt vinegar in a large pan

6. Add the nutmeg and allspice, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 8 minutes.

7. Remove the lid and stir in the cucumbers, beans, sugar, garlic, salt and ginger.

8. Bring the mixture up to simmering point again, cover and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.

9. The vegetables should still be slightly crisp.

10. Set a large colander over a large bowl, pour the contents of the pan into it and leave it all to drain, reserving the vinegar.

11. Mix together the mustard, turmeric and flour.

12. Gradually work in the additional tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons water, until the mixture becomes a fairly smooth paste.

13. Add a ladleful of the hot vinegar liquid drained from the vegetables, stir again and transfer the sauce mixture to a pan.

14. Bring to the boil, gradually whisking in the remaining hot vinegar.

15. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then transfer the vegetables from the colander back to the large bowl and pour over the sauce.

16. Stir really well to mix everything evenly, then spoon the piccalilli into the hot, sterilised jars.

17. Cover straightaway with waxed discs, seal with vinegar-proof lids. Label the jar when cold.

18. Store the piccalilli in a cool, dry, dark place to mellow for 3 months before eating.

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