Piccalilli with pear

recipe-image-legacy-id-12370_12Piccalilli is a true British classic. It is a relish full of chopped vegetables and spices, with inspiration coming from India. Usually, this preserve would be enjoyed in the summer, but we’ve put a little autumnal twist on this recipe by including pear. If eaten immediately, this piccalilli is tangy and punchy, making it great to eat with strong cheese. But if left to mellow for a month or two,  the flavours will become sweeter and would be great with ham. It’s a versatile concoction, and it would be ideal for charity sales!


  • 2 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 400g silverskin or pearl onion
  • 600g courgette, cut into small chunks (about 2cm pieces)
  • 6 firm pear, cored, and cut as the courgettes
  • 100g salt
  • 1.7l cider vinegar
  • finger-length piece fresh root ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons brown or black mustard seed
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cornflour
  • 5 tablespoons English mustard powder
  • 3 teaspoons turmeric


  1. In a bowl, mix together the vegetables, pears and salt with 2 litres of cold water, then cover and leave overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the brine from the vegetables, rinse briefly, then tip into a large saucepan with the vinegar, ginger, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are just tender, but still with a little bite. Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid, and set aside while you make the sweet mustard sauce.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the cornflour, mustard powder and turmeric, then gradually pour in the hot vinegar while whisking, until you have a lump-free, thin yellow sauce. Return it to the saucepan and bubble over a low heat, stirring constantly, for 4 mins until smooth and thickened. Stir in the veg and spoon into five sterilised 500ml jars while hot, then seal. Once cool, you can enjoy straight away, or they can be stored in a cool, dark cupboard for 2-3 months. Be sure to refrigerate once opened.

If you find that this recipe makes a little too much piccalilli for you, then you can easily half the recipe to fill smaller jars. But this recipe is perfect for preserve beginners and tastes absolutely wonderful. It would be perfect for pairing with Christmas leftovers. Turkey and piccalilli sandwiches anyone?

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