Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Piccalilli, Chow Chow, Relish . . . A Condiment By Any Name

Mother always canned a few things every year
Some because she had the produce and it was a way to save it for winter
while others she preferred home canned (peaches and green beans especially)
and would buy bushels to "put by" for the winter.

There were always jars of piccalilli in the pantry
Her home canned piccalilli
Which is what we called it --

In fact, I was 26 years old before I realized that one could buy pickle relish
For she kept me supplied with jars and as I emptied one, a full one would find it's way home with me.

I never did ask her for the recipe
But I knew it was made from garden produce.

I never took a liking to store relish.
I would buy it
But it just didn't taste right!

How I missed Mother's

And then the search began . . . 
Piccalilli yielded recipes which included cabbage and other things.
I was sure Mother's never did --
Hers after all was made from her garden
And she never grew cabbage.

I did get a recipe for a cucumber pickle relish from Friend Sally
but Mother never really grew all that many cucumbers and most year's she didn't bother

And then in Door County, I found green tomato relish
And the light bulb came on

I googled
I found
And it, too, was called piccalilli!

I was fortunate enough to have a supply
of green tomatoes
And I began the process
The old fashioned process
For I ground the vegetables in my old food grinder
(not the new modern electric food processor)
The grinder gives a different texture than the food processor

It wasn't all that hard
And the tastes I had while it was simmering
made me think that I had finally found Mother's recipe!

8 cups of ground green tomatoes plus peppers and onions

garnered 4 pints and a really full half pint of relish

And what did we have for lunch the next day?

Hot dogs, of course!

Served with a slather of mustard
And piccalilli!

And yes, it is a taste remembered
If it's not Mother's recipe, it's close

I shall treasure these jars
(and don't except a gift jar of it!)
for unless you grow them, green tomatoes are hard to find!

The lost recipe:


8 cups finely chopped (processed or ground) cored green tomatoes
• 2 cups finely chopped (processed or ground) peeled onions
• 4 bell peppers, part red, finely chopped (processed or ground)
• 1/3 cup pickling salt
• 2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
• 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 2 1/4 cups white vinegar
• 1 2/3 cups packed light brown sugar

Combine the chopped vegetables and salt in a large stainless steel pan. Cover and let stand in a cool place (about 65° tF to 70° F) for 10 to 12 hours, or overnight.
Pour the vegetables in a colander over the sink and let drain. Rinse with cool water and use your hands to squeeze out any excess liquids.
Tie the pickling spices and celery seeds in a cheesecloth spice bag.
In a large stainless steel or enamel-lined pan, combine the vinegar, the spice bag, chopped garlic, and the vinegar.
Put the vinegar mixture over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the drained green tomato mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently, stirring often, for 1 hour.
While the mixture is cooking, prepare the work area, canner, jars, and lids. See Preparing Jars for Canning and Boiling Water Processing.
Fill hot, prepared jars and remove any air bubbles with a small plastic spatula, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Clean jar rims and fit with lids and rings. Process in a covered boiling-water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove the cover, and let jars stand in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool completely.
Makes about 7 half-pint jars of relish.



Pat said...

Ed's Mother, Mary, always made Piccalilli!!!
We loved it so much, I've been known to eat a teaspoon full right from a freshly opened jar!!!
Thank you for sharing the recipe you found closest to your Mothers!!!
Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!!!

Unknown said...

Are you talking about Mary Pratte?

Anonymous said...

Made this recipe. It is delicious. My Mom made piccalilli but hers did not have bell peppers.