Canning and Preserving - The Winter Series: Indian Pickle

You probably know this great pickle as Piccalilli, but I like to give props to it's original name of "Indian Pickle". It's basically a relish of chopped veggies and spices and is wildly popular in England where it was always a part of a "Ploughman's Lunch" which consisted of a hunk of cheese, a hunk of bread, pickle and perhaps a bit of green salad. When it came to America it turned into Piccalilli and holds it's own regional uniqueness.

In the South they often call it "ChowChow", and green tomatoes have replaced the cauliflower. In the Mid-West, it's finely chopped gherkins as the main attraction and it is quite a bit sweeter then it's original incarnation. Think Chicago dog topping. In the Northeast it's all about sweet red or green peppers and it becomes a much more relish-like...something you'd put on a hamburger.

Though they all have a place in the ever expanding world of pickles, I enjoy this original version because it's almost like a vegetable side with it's big, identifiable pieces of veggies. Sometimes I serve it ploughman-style, but I often just stand in front of the refrigerator eating it right out of the jar. When you make your own, everyone can have their personal jar of pickles to eat out of!

1 large cauliflower cut into florets
2 large onions, peeled, quartered and sliced finely, you can also use pearl onions
2 pounds mixed vegetables of your choice such as zucchini, carrots, green beans etc.., sliced into bite sized pieces. This time around it was "use it up" piccalilli so I used maroon carrots, regular carrots, turnips, zucchini and celery
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp. pickling salt (pickling salt is always fine grain salt like Morton's or Diamond, not Kosher)
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar (this makes a sharper, rather then sweeter pickle. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar)
1 tbsp. turmeric
2 oz. mustard powder
3 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

Add all the vegetables to a large non-metallic bowl. Dissolve the slat in 4 cups of water and pour the brine over the vegetables. Put a plate or glass pot lit (inverted) on top of the veggies to keep them submerged and leave them for 24 hours.

The next day, drain the veggies in a colander and rinse in cold water. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add the vegetables, and blanch for about 2 minutes. Do not overcook. You want them to be crunchy. Drain and refresh them in cold water to stop the cooking process.

Put the flour, sugar, turmeric and mustard powder in a small bowl and mix in a little of the vinegar to make a paste. Put it in a large non-reactive pot along with the remaining vinegar, bring to a boil and stir until all the little lumps are gone. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the veggies to the sauce and stir well so they are coated. Ladle into warm sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/4 inch of headroom. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. When cool, store in a cool dark place for about a month to allow the flavors to do the happy dance and live up to their pickle potential!

Refrigerate after opening. Makes about 5 one pint jars.