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!
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, such as my Preserved Mustard Pickles, 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, much like these Preserved Mustard Pickles, 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 Dad’s Canned 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.
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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.
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