The combination of a wet December and hot January appears to be the perfect equation for an abundant garden harvest. The fruit trees are producing fruit on steroids this summer, and six cocozelle zucchini plants are certainly keeping me on my toes.
After harvesting a(nother) basket of my favourite purple runner beans and zucchini, and pondering what to make, I received a timely request for a piccalilli-type preserve recipe to use the aforementioned vegetables. Clearly, I am not the only one experiencing a glut of this kind.
I took to the preserving pots to create a summery pickle reminiscent of my nana’s table. This delightful tart mustardy condiment is a perfect match for sharp cheese and cold meats or served alongside a vegetable quiche.
Any selection of firm summer produce can be used, corn and capsicum would also make excellent additions. The ground fenugreek adds a savoury note to balance the brightness of the vinegar. Fenugreek can be found at bulk food stores, or substitute mild curry powder.
1 litre water
1kg summer produce – I used 400g zucchini, 400g beans and 200g onions
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour (for gluten-free, use arrowroot)
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek or mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- First weigh the produce to determine the total salt quantity (per kilogram use 100g salt to 1 litre water). Prepare the soaking brine by combining salt and water in a bowl, stir to dissolve the salt.
- Cut the produce into bite-sized pieces and add to the brine. Cover with a small plate to keep produce submerged, and leave to soak overnight or for at least eight hours.
- Make the pickling sauce. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- In a jug, combine the flour and spices and add a scoop (about 1 cup) hot vinegar mixture, stirring to make a paste. Drizzle the paste into the hot vinegar and whisk over a gentle heat until slightly thickened.
- Fill another large saucepan with boiling water, bring to a rapid boil. Drain and rinse the brined vegetables and add to the pan. Blanch for 2-3 minutes - the aim is to retain some crunch in the vegetables. Drain in a colander and pack hot vegetables into hot sterilised jars (see below). Pour over the hot pickling sauce to within 5mm of the top of the jar, clean the rim with a wet cloth and secure the lids.
- Preserving directions: To safely preserve this pickle I suggest using the "hot jar, hot liquid" method (or use a "water bath" if making a larger batch). First clean and sterilise jars, either place on a tray in the oven set at 120 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes (boil lids for 10 minutes); or boil jars AND lids in a large pot of water for 10 minutes.
- Carefully drain and air-dry on a dish rack. Whichever sterilising method, use oven gloves to handle the jars and sit them on a wooden board or bench (not a cool tile/concrete surface as the difference in temperature could result in a breakage). Leave filled jars to cool completely then check lids are inverted to create a vacuum seal. Store in a cool dark place and use within six months. Once opened store pickle in the fridge and consume within one month.
Tip: If you end up with a jar that is not quite full (more than 2cm below the top), secure the hot lid, and invert the jar to cool. This will ensure the cooling pickle creates a vacuum seal.