Saturday, 15 August 2015

Sweet mustard pickles

I love pickles, as simple as that. It must be in my genetic material, as the Russians are well known for their fondness for a good old pickle. And I'm always on the lookout for new recipes. One of my favourite boards on Pinterest is Jams, Pickles and Preserves, where I add whichever recipe took my fancy. Browsing through the latest issue of Sainsbury's magazine, I came across a few recipes created by the "preserves queen" Thane Prince. While I haven't liked the sound of the strawberry jam with liquid pectin (I generally don't like added pectin in any jams or jellies as I believe it changes the flavour and the texture becomes too solidified), I was very curious to try her Sweet mustard pickles. If you have the magazine, the recipe is posted on page 80.

I haven't changed anything except using a red chilli pepper rather than a green one, and haven't scooped the seeds from cucumbers.
Having sliced all the veggies - 2 cucumbers, one big red onion and 1 sweet red pepper - with the mandoline slicer (thanks heaven for the OXO Good Grips mandoline slicer, which makes the slicing job a mere doddle), I have sprinkled them generously with salt, and left in the ceramic dishes covered with the plastic film overnight in the fridge. I put the setting on quite thin for all vegetables.

Next morning, I put all the salted slices in a big pasta colander and washed under the running cold water, to get rid of all salt. At that point the vegetables were semi-cured with salt, and nothing special yet.

I left them drain for an hour in the colander rather than dry on a clean towel as suggested in the recipe.

In a saucepan, mix the vinegar with sugar and spices - mustard powder, fennel seeds, celery salt and dried dill, then bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Put the veggies into sterilized jars and pack them tightly. Pour the hot brine over the veggies and seal the jars.
Let the jars cool completely before putting in the fridge. The pickles should be ready in a couple of days and will last up to 3 months.

Now, what did we think of the taste? I loved the mustardy sweet flavour, but wasn't very keen on the "muddy" brine. The mustard powder stayed at the top of the jar, and the brine looked like murky water. Next time I try this recipe, I will use mustard seeds instead, they will look much prettier in the jar, and will keep the brine clear.
I also added a handful of baby tomatoes to one of the jars with pickles.

I have tweeted the photo of my jar of pickles to Sainsbury's magazine, they kindly RTed it and tagged Thane Prince. She suggested that the cucumbers should be all covered with vinegar, not like in my photo at the top. I agree with her, they should have been covered, and there was enough brine, but interestingly enough, the photo in the actual magazine clearly shows veggies well above the brine. I guess it was done for the purposes of the picture, but so was my photo, I piled them up higher so that one can see what's inside rather than the powdery mustardy brine at the top.
As the song goes, Do what I say, not what I do. But honestly, this is a sensible advice: if you make your own pickles, make sure they are covered well with brine.
Saying that, one jar is already empty. I did say, I love my pickles.


  1. My hubby loves all kinds of pickles, I bet he would like to try this one out, I'll be showing him this tonight!

    1. Thank you! I left the 2nd jar until my Mum comes to stay with us, as I wanted to have her opinion on the pickles

  2. This looks interesting, I haven't made pickles for years. I bet they are tasty with a nice board of meats and cheeses.

    1. They taste quite nice, but I can do better pickles, even if it sounds rather immodest. I might be not exactly a queen of preserves, but my Mum has taught me to prepare some excellent pickling recipes

  3. oooh my granny made something a bit like this which I want to recreate. It was more a salad pickley cucumber if that makes sense but these look close

    1. I wonder if it something similar to what in Russia is called semi-pickled cucumbers, when you keep them in brine for a day or two, and eat almost at once.