I wrote about piccalilli some time ago… here is what I wrote, and this time, (slightly edited!) I have included a recipe!

I bought a huge cauliflower and made some rather gorgeous soup… however as my husband doesn’t like cauliflower, I was left with half a cauli the size of a football.

The obvious answer to this cauli-glut was to make it into piccalilli… which I did.

I took a lovely picture of all the vegetables cut up and soaking in brine, cauliflower, cucumber, marrow, onions, celery, a handful of whole chili peppers.

There was a seriously beautiful picture of a bowl of white vinegar with spices floating in to make the spiced vinegar – allspice, peppercorns, star anise, a cinnamon stick… Then there were the progress pics,  everything in the pan and simmering, the cooked vegetables packed waiting in the bowl (they looked so delicious!) then the mustard sauce being cooked…… And finally there were the triumphant pictures of my jars of piccalilli, brilliant and golden, glowing with sunshine!

Except… there was no card in the camera…

Here is the recipe I used, but there are plenty of variations!

  • 6 lbs prepared vegetables (cauliflower, cucumber, marrow, small onions, beans, celery… and anything else you like!) I always add a couple of chopped chillies, but if you don’t like very hot flavours, then miss this out
  • 3 pints white vinegar
  • 8 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger powder
  • 9 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ oz plain flour (you may need to add a little more, depending on your vegetables)
  • 5 teaspoons turmeric
  • a teaspoon of peppercorns, half a dozen cloves, 5 star anise, a teaspoon allspice berries, half a cinnamon stick, – you can  miss these out if you want!
  1. cut cucumber and marrow into small cubes, peel the onions, break the cauliflower into small florets, cut the beans into small, short slices
  2. make a brine (salty water) with ½ pound salt to 4 pints of water; cover the vegetables in brine and leave over night
  3. add the mustard and ginger to the vinegar
  4. rinse and drain the vegetables (really important to rinse thoroughly so the pickle isn’t too salty)
  5. heat teh vinegar and spices and add to the vegetables and simmer for 20 mins (don’t let the vegetables go too soft) drain and keep the vinegar, leaving vegetables in the pan or a bowl. If you are bothered by the whole spices then take them out if you have put them in
  6. mix the flour and turmeric with a little cold vinegar to make a paste, then add to the hot vinegar drained from the cooked vegetables – stir thoroughly and bring to the boil then pour over vegetables and turn them gently over with a spoon so they are covered with the yellow vinegar and spices
  7. put the vegetables into warm jars, seal… and wait for a couple of weeks for a delicious and yummy pickle
  8. eat with cold meat or cheese


  1. Alastair Savage

    My grandmother always had a jar of piccalilli in the cupboard, glowering at us with its rather alarming yellow colour. It’s funny that it’s now being rediscovered and has become a luxury food. I was in one of Jamie Oliver’s shops in London last year and I saw some on the shelves with his own branding on it. We used to get it with coupons at the Co-op.


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