Easy Peasy Picalilli

Easy Peasy Picalilli


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About this recipe: This is a great and easy recipe for picalilli which is perfect for the end of the summer when there's a glut of beans, cauli and onions. It MUST rest for 3 months at least which is perfect timing for Christmas presents.

alliballibee Midlothian, Scotland, UK

Makes: 10 jars approx

  • 2 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 450g (1 lb) small pickling onions (or small onions, quartered)
  • 1.2L (2 pints) malt or cider vinegar
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut into 6mm (1/4 in) half moons
  • 450g (1 lb) runner beans or dwarf green beans, cut into bitesize chunks
  • 110g (4 oz) sea salt
  • 2.35L (4 pints) cold water
  • 1/2 nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice powder
  • 140g (5 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 dessertspoon grated root ginger
  • 55g (2 oz) dry mustard powder
  • 25g (1 oz) turmeric powder
  • 25g (1 oz) plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons water

Prep:1day  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1day1hr 

  1. Get your equipment ready: You will need a preserving pan, or a heavy-based saucepan, with a capacity of 8 3/4 pints (5 litres); seven 1 lb (350ml capacity) jars and one 1/2 lb (175ml capacity) jar, all with airtight lids which can be sterilised (see tip below).
  2. You need to begin this the day before. What you do is place the prepared cauliflower and onions in a non-metallic bowl, and the cucumbers and beans in another. Then whisk the salt into 4 pints (2.25 litres) of cold water to make a brine, and pour this over the vegetables. Now put a plate with a weight on it on top of each one to keep them submerged and leave them for 24 hours.
  3. The next day, drain away the salt water and briefly rinse the vegetables. Now place the cauliflower, onions and the 2 pints (1.2 litres) vinegar together in the pan. Then add the nutmeg and allspice, bring it up to the boil, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Next, take off the lid and stir in the cucumbers, beans, sugar, garlic and ginger. Now bring the mixture up to simmering point again, cover and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. The vegetables should still be slightly crisp, so don't go away and forget them.
  4. Next, 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. Then mix the mustard powder, turmeric and flour together in another bowl. Gradually work in the additional tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons water so the mixture becomes a fairly smooth paste. Now add a ladleful of the hot vinegar liquid drained from the vegetables, stir again and transfer the sauce mixture to a saucepan.
  5. Bring it to the boil, gradually whisking in the remaining hot vinegar. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then transfer the vegetables from the colander back to the large bowl, and pour over the sauce. Stir really well now to mix everything evenly, then spoon the piccalilli into the hot, sterilised jars. Cover straightaway with waxed discs, seal with vinegar-proof lids and when cold, label and store the piccalilli in a cool, dry, dark place to mellow for 3 months before eating


To steralise jars easily wash in hot soapy water and rinse in hot water. Place the jars and lids in an oven at approximately 140 C for 15 minutes on their sides. Spoon the hot picalilli into the hot jars and carefully seal with hot lids. When the mixture cools the lids will shrink and pop.

Serving suggestion

This is great with cold meats or cheeses in the depths of winter and keeps in the fridge once opened for up to a month.

How to sterilise jars

Learn how to sterilise jars two ways with our handy step-by-step guide and video.

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Reviews (2)


- 05 Dec 2011


Ive made my own picalli in January 2011 and used the last of it April 2013,kept in the dark until opened then in the fridge where it sat for 6 months with some being used at the time,it got so much better with age!if I was giving it for Christmas 2013 I would be making it now!Vinegar will preserve for years,I didnt cook any of the veg just cut into very small pieces!They must be well submerged in the sauce in the jars!Brown sugar works well! - 16 Apr 2013

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