Friday, 7 October 2016

Branstonesque Pickle - A British Pickle in Apple Country

Branston pickle is a well-known British pickle, often served with bread and cheese as part of the classic plowman's lunch. There is no official recipe for it out in the wild, as it is actually a commercial product, but there are numerous versions reverse engineered from its list of ingredients. However, this is really not one of them.

It was not actually my goal to make this as much as the real Branston pickle as possible; I noted that it called for some apple ingredients and since here we are in apple country, I had mine call louder. I replaced the malt vinegar with apple cider vinegar and the tamarind with apple butter. I omitted a bunch of sugar and partially replaced it with more apple butter, and I was generous with the apples.

Raisins will maintain a certain integrity, while dates will dissolve into the sauce. Decide which you would prefer, or you could use half of each. The apples should be firm cooking apples that will hold their shape, such as Cortland, Empire, Mutsu or Northern Spy (which is the one I used). The zucchini should be just a tad over-mature; peel it well and discard the seedy centre. If you don't have such a thing at hand (it is pretty much available only to careless gardeners) just replace it with another 1/3 of a cup each of the rutabaga, carrots, and cauliflower.

Makes 8 125-ml jars
1 hour - 40 minutes prep time

Branston Pickle - classic with cheese

1 cup peeled, diced rutabaga
1 cup peeled, diced carrots
1 cup diced cauliflower, mostly stem
1 cup peeled, diced red OR yellow onion
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup peeled, diced zucchini
2 cups peeled, cored, and diced apple (2 medium)
1 1/2 cups raisins OR chopped dates
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple butter
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon allspice berries, ground
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
the juice of 1 lemon

Put the jars into a canner and cover with water to an inch over the tops. Don't turn it on yet; give yourself a 20 minute head start on all that peeling and chopping. Put the vegetables into a large canning kettle or soup pot as you go.

Bring the water in the canner to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Put the lids and rims into another pot of water and prepare according to manufacturer's instructions (boil for 1 minute).

Meanwhile, continue to prepare the vegetables and add them to the pot. Measure and add the seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are fairly soft and the mixture is quite thick. Stir frequently.

Ladle the pickle into the drained jars and seal them with the prepared lids. Return them to the canner and boil them for 10 minutes. Remove from the canner, let cool, check for seals and label. Keep in a cool dark spot for up to 1 year; refrigerate once opened. 

Last year at this time I made Curtido.

No comments: