The last time I visited my in-laws, John’s mom reminded me about Piccalilli. Dad and I had been out walking around in his garden, both of us bragging how many green tomatoes we already had, and who would produce the first red one. He’s still bitter about the fact that my wisteria is laden with abundant flowers, and his much older vines have yet to bring forth a single bloom. But I digress…
As we were talking about green tomatoes Ginny suddenly said, “Do you remember that relish you made for me? It was so delicious! It was like what my mother made back in Massachusetts…” My mother-in-law’s face was ecstatic!
I had to laugh. It’s been more than 25 years since I made that piccalilli, and to think that the memory of it is right up there with my mother-in-law’s cherished childhood memories.
I must be getting old!
It had been so long since I made piccalilli that I don’t even know what recipe I used, but I remembered most of the basic ingredients. Since it’s an old fashioned sort of food, I decide to look in my 1942 Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook. I have at least 50 cookbooks crowding two shelves, but I hardly ever follow a recipe to the T. This was no exception. But it’s pretty close.
*The process is very easy but it takes at least 8 hours or overnight to prepare.
About 7 medium-sized green tomatoes
2 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 yellow onions
1/2 cup salt
1 quart cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon horseradish
½ teaspoon whole cloves
Canning jars (5 or 6 pint sized jars or 2 quart sized jars)
Canning lids and rings
Cut the tomatoes in half and then slice them into nice chunky bite-sized slices.
Slice peppers and onion to about the same size
Place in a large bowl and mix in the salt.
Cover, and let stand overnight.
In the morning (or after about 8 hours) drain off the salt water that will have formed.
Do not rinse.
While vegetables are draining, wash your jars and fill them with hot water. (In the past I have had canning jars break when I put something hot into a cold jar – quite a mess!)
Place the canning lids into a pot of water and bring it to a boil, then turn it off. The hot water softens the rubber so you get a better seal on the jars.
Mix the cider vinegar, sugar and spices in a large pot, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the drained vegetables, and bring it back just to a boil. Turn off heat.
Fill the clean hot jars, put on the lids and tighten the rings.
Allow the jars to stand upside down on the counter for an hour or so, then turn them upright.
I love hearing the “ping” as each jar seals!
And I can hardly wait to see mom’s face next week when I bring her a few jars of “Ginny’s Piccalilli”