Preserved Mustard Pickles are a sweet and tart condiment or side dish made from cauliflower, zucchini, red bell pepper, onion, and carrot. A condiment so delicious, I often eat it as a side dish!
A NEWFOUNDLAND DELICACY!
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 most often 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.
PRESERVING FOOD IS NECESSARY IN SOME CULTURES
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.
IT ISN’T A FAIRYTALE – IT WAS REAL LIFE!
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 Dad’s Canned Pickled Beets the same day I canned these pickles; 7 hours in the kitchen and I enjoyed every single minute. #nolie
Now, excuse me, while I go crack open a jar of these 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.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Cauliflower – One large cauliflower is all you need. Wash it well and trim away any discoloured bits. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
- Onions – You will need about 8 large onions. Yes, that’s a lot, but this recipe makes a lot! I like to cut the onions into slices, but you can dice them if you wish.
- Red Bell Pepper – Two of these are required. Finely chop them.
- Zucchini – Three large zucchini, skin on, finely chopped.
- Carrots – I used 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 in thick.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Dry Mustard – This is a powdered mustard, usually sold in small cans. You will find it in the spice section of most grocery stores.
- Sugar – Use regular granulated sugar. I have not tested this recipe with Splenda or any other low-calorie sweetener.
- Spices – Turmeric, curry powder, ground ginger, black pepper, and salt.
- White Vinegar – Only white vinegar will do here. Anything else with throw off the taste.
- Mustard Seeds – Just like the dry mustard, you can find these in the spice section, or even better, at a bulk store.
HOW TO MAKE MUSTARD PICKLES
The hardest part of this Preserved Mustard Pickles recipe is the canning, which in itself, is quite easy especially if you have been canning for a while. If you’re new to canning, do not fret. I’ve got you completely covered in the next section. I will walk you through the entire process. This section will deal with the cooking of the pickles first.
Begin by washing and cutting all of the vegetables and keeping them in separate bowls. One type of vegetable at a time, partially boil each vegetable in lightly salted water for about five minutes. This will ensure the vegetables retain their colour. Discard the water and add fresh water to the pot for each vegetable.
In a very large stock pot, place all of the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Those ingredients are the flour, dry mustard, sugar, all of the spices and mustard seeds. 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 stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a low boil and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. That’s it! Now, it’s time to move on to the canning part!
HOW TO WATER BATH CAN
STEP 1: PREPARING THE JARS
Some canners say that if you need to boil the jars longer than 10 minutes, then you don’t need to sterilize the jars. I say no! Canning is not as simple and cheap as frying an egg. It takes time, and an investment if you don’t already have the equipment. Eliminate any risk whatsoever by always sterilizing your jars. It’s easy to do! Wash the jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse the jars well under running water to get rid of any soap residue.
Transfer the jars to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Using a jar wrench/lifter, lift the jars out of the water, tilting to pour out the water. Be careful; it’s hot! Stand the jar up onto a baking sheet. Once all of the jars are on the baking sheet, place them into your preheated oven at 200 degrees F. This will keep them hot and away from any contamination.
STEP 2: PREPARING THE SEALS AND RINGS
Mason jars are equipped with three parts. The first is the jar. The second and third parts combine to form the lid. The flat disc with the rubber ring on the bottom is the seal. Finally, the circular part that screws onto the jar is called a screw band. Depending on the brand or the recipe you’re reading, the names of these things can vary. But, they all do the same thing.
The screw bands never come in contact with the food, so they do not need to be washed or sterilized. But, because I want to eliminate any risk of contamination, I make sure they’re clean. After all, they have been sitting in a warehouse before they got to the store, and then finally, to me. That’s too many germs for my comfort level! I wash them in hot, soapy water, rinse them well, and transfer them to a bowl until I need them. The sealing disk/sealing ring needs a little more consideration.
If you look at the bottom of the lid, you will see a reddish-brown rubber ring. It’s attached to the lid. This ring has a huge job! It is pretty much in charge of keeping your food safe for long-term storage. Place the lids into a glass bowl. I like to separate them so that they are not all stacked. When I’m ready to ladle the food into the jars, I pour a kettle of boiling water over the lids so that they are sterile, and the rubber band softens. That’s it. You have now prepared your jars. Next, we need to get the canner ready!
STEP 3: PREPARING THE CANNER
You can buy a canning pot, but you don’t have to do that. Any stock pot will do just fine. Be sure that the pot is tall enough to hold enough water so that your jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Fill the canning pot accordingly. Also, be sure to insert a canning rack or mat into the bottom of your pot. If you buy a canning pot it will come with one. Otherwise, you can buy them for any pot size. Never let your jars touch the bottom of the pot when boiling. They could easily break. Once you’ve done this, bring the water to a full boil.
In most cases, if you’re new to canning, you might notice some white residue on the jars. This can easily be cleaned off once the jars are cool. A few tablespoons of white vinegar in the boiling water helps to eliminate most of it. I use it every single time.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to keep a kettle of boiling water close by. Depending on how many jars you need to process, you might have to boil them in batches. You will be surprised at how quickly rapidly boiling water can evaporate. Having a kettle of boiling water will allow you to easily top up the canning pot without altering the temperature of the water.
STEP 4: FILLING THE JARS
Depending on the recipe, filling the jars is quite easy. Having some inexpensive equipment on hand can make this process much easier. Invest in a canning funnel. It will help you ladle the Preserved Mustard Pickles into the jars without making a mess. Remember to pay attention to the recipe’s recommended headspace. This is the amount of empty space from the top of the food to the very top of the jar. Also, it’s imperative to keep the rim of the jar clean to ensure a good seal. You will also need a bubble remover. You can buy these, but I’m not a fan of them. A clean wooden chopstick does the same thing. Removing bubbles will prevent mold from growing.
Lastly, you will need a magnetic lid lifter. Remember how I said the flat sealing lids will be submerged into a bowl of boiling water? Well, you can’t just pick them up with your hands. First of all, it’s hot! Secondly, you will want to eliminate the risk of any contamination. Do not touch the underside of the lid. Period! Using a magnetic lid lifter will allow you to pick up the lid and position it right onto the rim of the jar without ever touching it.
Finally, you will need to screw on the metal screw bands. In most cases, the food in the jars is scalding hot, so you can’t touch the jars to tighten the lids. But, that’s a good thing! You should never over tighten the lids. Place the screw band over the jar and tighten it with one hand. It should be snug, not tight. Now, that’s it! You’re ready to boil these jars!
STEP 5: BOILING THE JARS OF FOOD
Carefully lift the jars straight up using a jar wrench/lifter. Lower the jar into the pot of boiling water. Fill the canning pot with jars in this manner. Don’t jam the jars in; leave a little bit of space between the jars. I aim for about a centimeter or a finger’s width. Remember, you can process the jars in batches.
Once the canning pot is loaded, place a lid on the pot, and start your timer according to the Preserved Mustard Pickles recipe below. If the water is not at a full boil, do not start timing until it is! When the time is up, use the jar wrench to lift the jars straight up out of the water. Transfer the jars to a flat surface that has been lined with a few layers of kitchen towels. Allow the jars to fully cool – at least 24 hours! Finally, wipe the jars down, label them with contents and date, and store them into a cool, dark cupboard or pantry.
Some people remove the screw bands after the jars have cooled for 24 hours. I remove them just to check if there is a good seal. I put them back on once I’ve checked. It’s up to you if you want to leave them off. If you notice that a jar has not sealed, you can either discard it, or refrigerate it for immediate consumption. Only do so if you are 100% sure the food has not been compromised and that it is safe to eat.
Preserved Mustard Pickles
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 8 large onions, chopped
- 2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 large zucchini, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 in thick
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons dry mustard
- 2 1/2 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
- 6 teaspoons mustard seeds
- Begin by washing and cutting all of the vegetables and keeping them in separate bowls. One type of vegetable at a time, partially boil each vegetable in lightly salted water for about five minutes. This will ensure the vegetables retain their colour. Discard the water and add fresh water to the pot for each vegetable.
- 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 stir to combine. 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.
- Fill a large stock pot with water. Lay a circular wire cooling rack into the bottom of the pot. This will act as a insulator between the jars and the bottom of the pot. The pot will get very hot; allowing the jars to sit directly on the heat source might result in breakage and you’ll want to avoid this.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil. You can use this hot water to sterilize your jars as described above. When you remove the jars and fill the jars with the pickles, you can use the same boiling water to process the jars for canning.
- To process the jars, first, carefully lower the jars into the boiling water using a canning jar lifter. Leave a 1/2 inch between the jars; I don’t like them to touch while boiling. You can do this in batches if you need to do so rather than overcrowding the pot.
- Boil for a good 20 minutes. Remove each jar from the pot using the canning jar lifter. Set the jars aside and leave to cool for at least 12 hours.
- About 30 minutes or so into the cooling time, the jars will making a popping sound. This sound is a result of the air contracting inside the jar which pulls the ring down creating a vacuum seal. You will note that the center of the lid will have been pulled down. When the jars are cooled, gently push down on the center of the lid. If the lid pushes down, the jar did not seal properly. Store that particular jar in your refrigerator and eat first. The rest of the jars can be wiped down with a moist towel, the lids re-tightened by hand, and labeled for storage.
- Store in a dry, dark cabinet.