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.
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 8 white onions, sliced thinly
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large zucchini, finely chopped
- 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 black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 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.
- Strain each vegetable well and set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, clean and sterilize your jars and lids.
- 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.
- Bring to a low boil over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once done, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.