Piccalilli piccalilli piccalilli: say it out loud. That's the reason I picked this recipe.
This is a meat condiment with a tangy mustard flavor. I tried it with some leftover chicken and WOW it knocked my socks off. And last night I snuck it onto the table next to my husband's pork loin, and got a pretty good response from friends. Kate from England used to eat it as a kid, and her Mum called it Mustard Pickle.
I call it delicious.
Like salsa, Piccalilli recipes vary widely and are often centered around peppers and cabbage. Versions using green tomatoes like this recipe hail from the South and go by the name Chow Chow—another great name! Kate from England remembers pearled onions and cauliflower.
The moral of the story: all the vegetables that are about to frost, plus cabbage and mustard.
Imagine cooking in the 1940's, when you had a slew of kids and no refrigeration and not a lot time. My aunts tell of "harvesting" a chicken for dinner— not the plastic wrapped convenience of a grocery store we enjoy today. Forget about luxurious obsessions over sauces or 3-step cooking processes on a typical day; all of your time was spent plucking and gutting the bird.
Roasting or boiling was plenty.
Plus, in the dead of winter fresh vegetables were scarce at the grocery. You were probably tired of the stored onions and root vegetables in the cellar.
So you crack open a jar of the Piccalilli that you put up back in September right before the first frost killed your tomatoes and peppers, and voila!
Fast food, 1940’s style:
½ peck firm green tomatoes
6 cups chopped cabbage
6 cups chopped green bell peppers
4 cups chopped sweet red peppers
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped white onions
1 cup salt
1 cup white sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
6 cups vinegar
1/3 cup white mustard seed
2 Tbl cinnamon
1 Tbl celery seed
1 Tbl black pepper
1 Tbl yellow mustard seed
¼ tsp paprika
Wash and remove blossom ends from tomatoes. Finely chop and mix all vegetables. Add salt and let stand overnight or 6-8 hours. Drain well by pouring into a colander.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Boil 3 minutes. Lower heat to a slow boil, uncovered, until thick (about 30 minutes). Process in pint jars.
Yields 10 pts.
Salt: This recipe did not say to rinse the salt off after soaking. I have seen recipes do it either way. In this case I left the salt on.
Mustard: From my research I think that the recipe’s “white” seeds are Brassica alba, the most common mustard seed on store shelves. The "yellow” seems to be brown, the type used in Dijon mustard. If you can find it, by all means try it, but don't let that stop you from trying this out.