Posted in Food

In a pickle

Brown and white onions
Image via Wikipedia

My gran was a great lover of pickles and condiments. She even had a special spring-loaded fork designed to spear pickled onions from the jar. Having inherited her pickle gene, I am now the legal guardian of this mighty implement.

Provided below are two of her pickle recipes (circa early 1970s), transcribed verbatim, hence all ingredients are given as the original imperial measures. As an aside, gran was a great one for typing; these pickle recipes were carefully typed out before being handed over to my mum for safe keeping. I’m sure if granny was still alive today she would be the proud owner of a laptop or tablet. Who knows? Perhaps she might even have been a pickle blogger.

Apple chutney

  • 2 lbs cooking apples (weight when peeled)
  • 1 lb onions
  • ½ pint malt vinegar
  • ½ lb sultanas
  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • ¼ oz mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • About 6 dried chillies
  • Piece stem ginger (take out before putting into bottles)

Mince apples, onions and chillies. Put into pan with vinegar and add sultanas, mustard seed, salt, ginger. Cook slowly until apples tender, add sugar, stir until dissolved and then boil for a few minutes. Put into jars and cover as for jam.

When I was a child, I used to love this chutney in white bread doorstep sarnies with cheddar.


  • 3 lbs vegetables (cauliflower, beans, cucumber, shallots, green tomatoes) (I stopped adding marrow as too wet)
  • 1½ pints vinegar
  • 4½ ozs sugar
  • ¼ oz powdered turmeric (Boots 6d for 1 oz pkt)
  • ¾ oz plain flour
  • ¾ oz mustard
  • ¾ teaspoonful ground ginger
  • ½ lb salt, 4 pints water for brine

Prepare vegetables, soak in brine 24 hours [Note from doctor dolittle: I distinctly remember that this part of the process took place in a plastic washing-up bowl, which was left in the pantry overnight]. Put into pan 1¼ pints vinegar ONLY, ground ginger, mustard and sugar. Add vegetables, heat and then simmer for 20 minutes. Put vegetables in hot jars, strain as much liquid as possible. Mix turmeric and flour with the ¼ pint vinegar, add to hot sauce, boil for 1 minute. Pour over vegetables in jars. Cover as for jam or use salad cream jars.

Piccalilli is good with all sorts of cold meats and cheeses (love it, love it, love it!); however, the king of piccalilli-based food items is the Boxing Day cold turkey sarnie.



Prone to magpie tendencies, I enjoy nothing more than musing – in pictures and in words – on a few of my favourite things.

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