Piccalilli Recipe

Here is another wonderful “glutney” recipe that will help you to preserve four vegetables that don’t store very well - cauliflower, runner beans, cucumber and courgettes. It makes a wonderful, spicey, vibrant-coloured picallilli.


  • 450g/1 lb salt
  • 4.5 litres/8 pints boiling water
  • 2 medium cauliflowers (each weighing about 450g/1 lb), broken into small florets
  • 450g/1 lb pickling onions, peeled and halved
  • 450g/1 lb runner beans, topped and tailed, sides peeled away and cut diagonally into 2.5cm(1 in) pieces
  • ½ large cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds removed and then into 1cm(0.5in) chunks
  • 225g/8oz courgettes, topped and tailed and cut into 1cm chunks
  • 275g/10oz caster sugar
  • 1.5 litres/2 pints 13fl oz distilled malt vinegar, plus extra 5 tbsp
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ whole nutmeg, grated
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  • 25g/1oz mustard powder
  • 25g/1oz turmeric powder
  • 15g/½oz ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper


Mix the salt with the boiling water. Leave to cool, divide between two large bowls and add the cauliflower and onions to one bowl and the runner beans, cucumber and courgettes to the other. Cover with a plate to keep the vegetables submerged and leave for 12-24 hours. Drain the vegetables and rinse them well, still keeping them separate.

Put the sugar, garlic and 1.5 litres (2 pints 13fl oz) of vinegar into a large pan. Bring to the boil, add the cauliflower, onions, allspice and nutmeg and cook for just three minutes. Add the beans and the cucumber and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. The vegetables only want to be just cooked, with still a little crunch left in them. Lift out of the vinegar with a large spider or sieve into a large bowl and set aside.

Mix the flour, mustard, turmeric and ginger powder with the rest of the vinegar and enough water to make a smooth paste. Add a little of the hot vinegar mixture, stir into the rest left in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the sauce into the vegetables, spoon into warm sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids.

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