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If you are a Newfoundlander, of if you’re blessed enough to be really good friends with one, you might have had Preserved Mustard Pickles at least once.  If not, Dear Reader, you’ve missed out on an entire world of culinary deliciousness.


This recipe might not look pretty enough for the pages of a food magazine, but when you’re looking for comfort food, you mostly look in one place: your mom’s kitchen.  Can I get an amen?

Growing up in Newfoundland, things like cauliflower and peppers were not a family table staple.  In fact, I can remember the first time I saw a piece of celery that wasn’t on television!  With limited growing seasons, Newfoundlanders for many generations, have mastered the art of canning for the long winter months ahead.


My mom and dad would often can side dishes and whole dinners.  These jars of food would help to provide an easy, fast meal during the winter months when food became scarce or weather conditions prevented travel to the closest towns with chain grocery stores.  Our pantry was packed with canned moose meat, seal meat, pickled beets, sweet mustard pickles, canned chicken, soups, jams, and jellies.  My mom could have a hot bowl of homemade soup on the table in five minutes.  Or a meaty moose gravy to slather over mashed potatoes in no time at all.


To you, my childhood might sound something like that of Oliver Twist’s, but it was fantastic; really, it was!  I learned so many life lessons watching how mom and dad provided for us three kids on a limited income.  I learned how to knit, crochet, sew, cook, bake, budget, preserve, and how to make every grocery item in the pantry stretch just a little bit further.  I’m fortunate enough not to have to worry about things like that so much, but I still have the skills should the time ever come.


Strangely though, even though I could easily go to the store and buy these things, there’s nothing like homemade, and there’s nothing that can compare to investing the hours it takes to preserve food. I canned 16 bottles of pickled beets the same day I canned these Preserved Mustard Pickles; 7 hours in the kitchen and I enjoyed every single minute. #nolie


Now, excuse me, while I go crack open a jar of Preserved Mustard Pickles and spread some onto whatever I can find – bread, cold roast beef, ham sandwich, crackers, etc.  Or, maybe I’ll just sit back on the couch with a jar and a spoon. 

Preserved Mustard Pickles

Course: Side Dish
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 80
Author: Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 8 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 in thick
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 cups white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Begin by preparing all of the vegetables and keeping them separate. One type of vegetable at a time, partially boil each vegetable in lightly salted water. This will ensure the vegetables retain their colour.
  2. Strain each vegetable well and set aside to cool.
  3. In the meantime, clean and sterilize your jars and lids.
  4. In a very large stock pot, place all of the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Add in the water and vinegar and whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients - be sure to get rid of all the lumps if any form.
  5. Bring to a low boil over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once done, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
  6. Add the vegetables and a dash of salt to taste. Bring the mixture back to a low boil and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Carefully ladle the mixture into hot jars, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Use a wooden skewer or chop stick to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jars clean and place a seal on each jar. Tighten the lid and process the jars in boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

To sterilize your jars, wash the jars well in hot, soapy water. Rinse the soap off in hot running water and place the clean jars into a large pot of boiling water. Allow the jars to sit in the boiling water, fully submerged, for at least 5 minutes. Avoid contact with the inside of the jar when removing it from the pot or when filling it with the cooked beets. To sterilize the seals and lids, wash them as you did the jars, and boil water in your kettle. Pour the boiled water into a clean bowl and drop the seals and lids into the water. Be sure the lids and seals and completely submerged.
Depending on the size of your veggies, you should get about 10 500ml jars. Each jar would serve 8 people at a 1/4 cup per serving. That's a total of 80 servings!!
For best results, I recommend allowing the jars to sit undisturbed for at least 12 hours. With a damp cloth, wipe down the jars, retighten the lids, and store in a dark, cool place.


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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. This looks much like a relish I grew up with in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We called it chow-chow. I have no idea the origin of chow-chow, but because of very diverse ethnic history of the area due to immigrants streaming in to fill copper and iron mines and cut timber, I suspect it is from shores afar. I've seen some recipes for Southern chow-chow that includes tomatoes and corn and collard greens and looks more like a relish ... ours was not this. Ours was chunky with cauliflower, green peppers, onions, and mustard. Enjoying your blog. -- Bill
    1. Thank you, Bill. Your relish with the cauliflower and onions sounds very much like my mustard pickle recipe. I've heard of southern chow-chow too, but being from Canada, it's really not that common this far north. :)
  2. When I saw the photo, I thought it was vegetable soup and then, I read the post and thought, Yum! I love pickles and would love to try some of this.
  3. I'm about to try this... Can't wait. I think I see a carrot in the picture, I bought carrots thinking that I would put them in the recipe. Am I losing my eyesight?
    1. You are quite right, Shannon! Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I've updated the recipe accordingly. There are, in fact, two medium sized carrots used for this recipe. :) You are not losing your eyesight!
  4. I rarely comment on recipes, but when I saw this one, I knew I had to. My grandmother used to make these when I was growing up. I always loved them. I haven't had them in years, as my grandmother passed away in 2002. My mother and I searched her recipes for years, and we finally found it about a year ago. We haven't made them yet, but I hope to someday. Your recipe is identical to hers. Sorry for the long comment, but seeing this recipe brought back a lot of good memories of my childhood.
    1. Laura, you just made my day! I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing. It never gets easy, does it!? I hope you enjoy these pickles just as much as you enjoy your grandmother's memories. :)
  5. I have an dear friend from Holton Maine that turned me onto mustard pickles and Fiddle Heads back in the 1980's. Since I was from SC I had never heard of such things I was shocked how much I LOVED them! I'm making these wonderful pickles. Thank you for the recipe and mouthwatering memories.
    1. Thank you, Tina. It's been so long since I've been to Maine; you're now invoking fond memories for me too. :)

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