For as long as I’ve known my husband, and that’s coming up to 28 years now (wow!!), his all-time favourite sandwich has been cheddar cheese and Branston pickle – it doesn’t need anything else added, just those two ingredients onto buttered bread and he’s a very happy man. When we moved to Canada back in 2005 however, we found out – much to his dismay – that traditional Cross & Blackwell Branston Pickle isn’t readily available in every grocery store in our area, and even when we do manage to find it, it is hideously expensive for a small jar. This has resulted in him having to limit his favourite sandwich consumption at times which makes for a sad hubby :o(
My quest was on to try and make an acceptable substitute and after mixing and matching various recipes online, and reading the ingredients on the back of the Branston pickle jar in the fridge, I came up with my first attempt for him. His verdict?…..a little spicier (but he likes spicy so that’s okay), not quite such a deep colour or flavour (but I’m hoping the longer the jars sit the flavour will intensify), but all in all a very nice pickle to accompany his cheddar cheese :o) I’m soooo pleased he liked it, because he has another seven jars of it in the cupboard to get through before I attempt another batch!!!!
This is definitely not a spur-of-the-moment thing to cook – the prep work alone took me over one and a half hours with all the fine chopping, but pop the TV on a movie channel or the radio onto your favourite station and the time will soon pass :o)
Lou’s Spicy “Branston” Pickle
makes about 2 lbs of pickle
9 oz carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small rutabaga (swede/turnip), peeled and chopped
1 small cauliflower, florets divided and chopped
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
5 oz dates, chopped
15-20 small pickled gherkins, chopped
3 Tbs of juice from pickled gherkins
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup malt vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs blackstrap molasses
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 ½ tsp allspice
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
- in a small bowl or measuring jug mix together well the pickle juice, malt vinegar, brown sugar, lemon juice, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard seeds, allspice, cayenne, salt and pepper; set aside.
- after you’ve chopped the carrots, rutabagas, cauliflower, apples, onions, dates and gherkins into small dice (about ⅛-1/4 inch), mix all together, with the chopped garlic in a large lidded pot.
- pour in the vinegar mixture and blend together well (it may seem that there isn’t enough liquid at this stage, but as the vegetables softened over time the liquid will increase.)
- bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
- after an hour, remove the lid and simmer for another hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes until the liquid has reduced, thickened and darkened in colour. If you feel that you need it, you can add 1 Tbs of cornflour to thicken the liquid and simmer for a further 15 minutes, but mine came out fine.
Lou’s Spicy “Branston” Pickle ingredients (except the molasses – it joined the party too late for the photo shoot :o)
I found it easier to peel everything and get it ready for the….
….marathon chopping session – phew!!!
add the vinegar mixture to the chopped veggies, bring to the boil and then simmer with the lid on for an hour.
this is what it looked liked after the first hour.
another hour with the lid off and the colour had deepened and the liquid had thickened up.
I managed to get 7 x 250ml jars, plus extra that is already in the fridge being used.(I sealed the jars using the boiling water, canning method – I haven’t included all the details here as you can find instructions for canning on the internet really easily.)
hopefully this little lot will keep Deanie happy for a while :o)
it got it’s debut on some fresh homemade bread pretty much as soon as Dean got home :o)
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