Heaven's Preserve Us - Pig Row Piccalilli

Autumn is with us and there’s no better way to use up the end of your glut of vegetables than as a preserve to tide you over until summer comes again.


One of the most popular preserves which goes with cheeses, cold meats, pies and sausages is Piccalilli. 

It’s not only worth making for your own larder, it also makes a lovely Christmas present as part of a hamper of homemade or shop bought  edible goodies.  Best of all if you make it now it will be at its best at the festive season.

The recipe that we use is a flexible one and you can vary the sugar and mustard powder to taste or follow it directly.  You can also experiment with the types of vegetables you use, we reduced the amount of cauliflower we used  and substituted some green beans to my vegetable mix last time we made it and this worked really well.

You will need
  • Four large screw topped sterilised jars 
  • 1 cauliflower cut into small florets 
  • 1lb (450g) small pickling onions – quartered 
  • 1 courgette cut into small chunks 
  • ½ grated nutmeg (optional) 
  • ½ teaspoon powdered allspice 
  • 6oz (150g) caster sugar 
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed (mix with 3 teaspoons of salt to make a paste) 
  • 1oz (25g) turmeric 
  • 1oz (25g) dry mustard powder 
  • 2 pints (1.137 litres) malt vinegar – for a lighter colour use ½ malt and ½ white vinegar 
  • 7 tablespoons plain flour mixed into a smooth paste with extra ½ vinegar and ½ water mixture (place the flour in a small bowl and gradually add the vinegar and water mix)

How to make it

Warm the clean jars in a low oven.

Meanwhile place the cauliflower florets, onion, 2 pints of vinegar in a large pan, add the allspice and nutmeg and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and add courgettes, sugar and garlic/salt paste. Stir well and bring back to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes (no more!).

Place a large colander over a large bowl, pour the contents of the pan into the colander and leave to drain – keeping the vinegar.

 Mix the mustard powder, turmeric and flour paste in a bowl. Gradually work in more extra vinegar and water to form a fairly loose paste. Add a ladle of hot vinegar of the drained vinegar. Stir to blend. Continue to add ladles of drained vinegar until all is blended.

Transfer the mixture into a saucepan. Bring to the boil whilst whisking with a balloon whisk, gradually add the remaining hot drained vinegar.  Boil gently for 5 minutes.

Place the vegetables into a large pan or bowl. Pour over the vinegar sauce, stir well.

Spoon the mixture into the warm screw top jars

Keep for 2 – 3 months before eating. That is if you can resist it for that long!