Sunday, April 22, 2012

In a pickle

I arrived back from Akaroa last weekend with a bagful of tomatoes from Mum's garden, including a number of green ones suitable for making mustard pickle (p231).

It took me a few days to accumulate the other ingredients, but finally I was ready to make a start. The vegetables for the pickle have to soak in salted water overnight, so I chopped up the tomatoes, and placed them in a bowl along with chopped cucumber, cauliflower florets and pickling onions. The recipe didn't specify that the onions should be chopped, so I just left them whole, and covered the lot with salted water.

The following evening, I put some jars in the oven to sterilise, drained the water off the veges, and got a large saucepan out to finish the pickle. Into the pan went flour, mustard powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper and sugar, along with enough malt vinegar to make a paste. When I had a smooth paste I gradually added more vinegar, and put the pan on the heat.

When the mustardy mixture had boiled and thickened, I added the vegetables (I'd changed my mind and chopped the onions into quarters - the whole ones were just too big), and allowed the pickle to boil until the veges were heated through. When this was done, I packed the pickle into some of my prepared jars, and sealed them. I'd only made one-quarter of the full recipe, but the two largish jars this made will be more than enough for my needs.

The pickle has a fairly strong flavour - tangy, but with a slight spicy kick. You wouldn't want to eat too much of it in one sitting, perhaps: a small amount goes a long way. I also think it might work well added to casseroles and the like for extra flavour.

Compared to the various other chutneys and relishes I've made, mustard pickle was almost ridiculously easy. It doesn't require long boiling, just enough to heat through. Mine was very chunky, but I quite like it like that. If you don't want it so chunky, just chop the veges smaller.

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