8 October 2012

Pickled beetroot and sweet mustard pickles

I've been harvesting a lot from the garden lately and the excess, as usual, is either frozen or pickled. I did up a nice batch of beetroot last week and still have another batch in the ground to process later this week. Beetroot is delicious juiced, grated and eaten raw, or roasted and served with other root vegetables - either hot or in a warm salad. These beetroot were boiled, then sliced and pickled in a spicy vinegar. I have two large jars and they'll do us for our salads for the next few months. My recipe for beetroot in spiced vinegar is here.

I also did up a delicious sweet mustard pickle made using a variety of vegetables I harvested or had in the fridge. The cauliflowers were picked too late and the florets had gone all over the place so I decided to use them in a pickle instead of as a hot or cold vegetable for the table. Mustard pickles were the obvious choice to make. I grew up in a family that loved relish, chutney and pickles and sweet mustard pickles was my father's favourite. This is very similar to the recipe he loved.

These two pickles involve cooking vegetables, then adding either a spiced vinegar or a spiced sauce. The sauce I added to the pickles is hot and very spicy with mustard powder, turmeric, pepper, chilli and curry powder.

  • Mix 1½ litres of water with ¼ cup of salt and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  • Cut up about 1 kg/2lbs vegetables such as cauliflower, cucumbers, capsicums/peppers, celery, zucchini and onions into small chunks and place the vegetables in the salted water.
  • Cover and leave overnight.

  • The next day, pour off the salt water, add a fresh litre/quart of water with a ½ teaspoon salt to the vegetables in the saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer until tender - about 20 minutes.
  • When the vegetables are cooked, drain then through a strainer and make the sauce.
  • Pour 750 mls/1½ pints cider vinegar into the saucepan and add 1½ cups sugar.
  • Place it on the stove and bring to the boil.
  • When it's boiling, add 1 tablespoon mustard powder, 1 tablespoon curry powder, ½ tablespoon turmeric, as much chilli as you like, salt and pepper and stir.  
  • Mix two tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch in a cup with a small amount of water to make a thin paste. Add that to the hot vinegar and stir immediately. This will thicken the sauce. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for one minute, then turn it off.
  • Add the vegetables to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Add the hot pickles to a hot sterilised jar.

These mustard pickles may be eaten immediately but they improve as they age.

All the jars I use for storing these pickles in are washed and sterilised by placing them in an oven on 150C for 15 minutes. Boil the lids for 10 minutes.  If you use sterilised jars, boil the pickles and add hot pickles to the warm jars, the vinegar and sugar will help preserve the pickles and they do not need a water bath. I make one or two jars of these and store them in the fridge but they can be stored in a cupboard for up to six months. I know my American and Canadian friends water bath preserves like these but here in Australia and in England we don't, and we're all still here to tell the tale.

Do you have a favourite preserving recipe, using excess vegetables, that you make every year?



  1. Our family has a very old mustard pickle recipe called Military Pickle. Looks similar to yours. I have an original handwritten recipe passed down to me from my Gran written circa 1934

    Also a big pickled beetroot fan here. No one else likes it so i get to eat all by myself :-)

  2. Pickle does look lovely. I am intrigued about the water bathing and why some of us think we need and some (including us in England) don't. Maybe vinegar related? Do pickled onions and gherkins also get water bathed? Very intriguing

  3. Yum :) One of my favorite afternoon snacks growing up was homemade pickle on cheese and crackers. And beetroot sandwiches for lunch, still do. Haven't tried making my own of both yet, but should cause I know my boys would love it :)
    Thank you for the recipes

  4. Hi Rhonda, Love the recipe for the beetroot in vinegar. Most of the time I freeze them, so I think this is a lovely variety ;o)

    And your mustard pickles? Looks like 'our' piccalilly! ;o)

    Love from Holland

  5. Sorry.. it IS 'our' piccalilly ;o)

  6. thankyou so much for the pickle recipe.xx

  7. I an growing beetroot this year so any left over I will make into pickled beetroot, I do like it hot as a vegie.

  8. i love pickles and they certainly deliscious....my favorite beetroot sald recipe is grated beetroot and apple with a dsp of apple cider vinegar over top....simple, quick and and you can feel it zing :)

  9. Oh Sweet Mustard Pickles is my favourite! My cauliflowers were not good this year either. I've put it down to the early heat we have been having.

  10. Hi Rhonda I would like to make up batches of spaghetti sauce do I have to use a water bath also this is my first go at growing baby beets so I will give your pickle ago thanks


  11. those mustard pickles would make a nice christmas present, such a pretty colour and perfect to eat with christmas ham :)

  12. Growing up I used to help my Grandma make Mustard Pickles a few times a year. It was a tradition I continued until a few years ago - not sure why I stopped. They were divine with corned beef or ham!!!! Thankyou for the memory. I will be getting my recipe out and making some this weekend.

  13. Years ago I also make something like piccalilly. It was so delicious but I never made anymore since, not sure why. Love them with cheese on crackers. You have motivated me to make some more.

  14. I love mustard pickles, stirred through a tub of cream cheese, they make a great easy dip for when friends unexpectedly drop through........

  15. Rhonda in the pickles do you add chilie powder or fresh chilies please?

    1. Hi Rose, I used dried chilli flakes but you could use fresh.

  16. We love beetroot here but I don't cook it I leave that up to hubby he makes heaps and we give some to friends, it is more a relish as the beetroot is grated and we have it cold in salad or hot on pork.... don't ask me for the recipe as I don't know it, many have asked but hubby says "if I tell you, I'll have to kill you"

  17. I am not a choko fan but I LOVE this choko chutney.

    6 medium chokos
    2 cooking apples, finely chopped
    3 medium onions, finely chopped
    500g/1pound dates or raisins, chopped
    1 cup sultanas
    500g brown sugar
    1 teaspoon mustard powder
    half teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 litre vinegar

    Cut up chokos into small pieces and sprinkle with salt. Stand overnight in a glass or stainless steel container. Next day strain the liquid off then place into a saucepan. Add the apples, onions, sugar, dates, sultanas, vinegar and spices. Boil very slowly for 21/2 to 3 hours or until it thickens. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.

    Very nice with cheese on a sandwich or on crackers.

    Rhonda, I'll have to try your mustard pickles. I already do your pickled beetroot.

    Best wishes to you and Hanno.

    Lyn in Northern New South Wales.

  18. Thanks for the recipe Lyn. :- )

  19. YUM! I have just finished a jar of sweet mustard pickles that I was given a while back and was thinking it needed to be something I make myself this year as I've really enjoyed it (with grilled cheese sandwiches especially). I've added your recipe to my pinterest board and will make it! thanks Rhonda

  20. I've just (literally) finished making a batch of tomato chutney. I can't claim it was made with produce from our garden, but I got a good deal on all the fresh ingredients, and there is enough to last a year, if I'm not too greedy! I've just finished the last of last year's batch, so I know that's how long it should last for. I just love it and use it in cooking (for sweet/sour type things) as well as a condiment. I might just try some of your recipes, too Rhonda, although I have to make these things when my husband is out, as he hates the vinegar smell!

  21. Thank you for sharing the recipe Rhonda. You have now inspired me to make pickles and the beetroot in spiced vinegar. Since I have been reading your blog I have gone back to basics and cooking from scratch. All for the better. I will also try Lyns chko chuthey. The price of chokos at the moment is very high. I have to look at growing some.

  22. Hi Rhonda,
    Interestingly sweet mustard pickles are called "Chow Chow' here and they are a traditional Christmas accompaniment for ham.

    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. Hope Hanno is feeling better these days. Give him my blessings please.

  23. Rhonda,
    Thanks for this terrific recipe. I love that it's just a kilo of whatever veges are seasonal and cheap. I've just made a batch and instead of boiling the veg, I zapped them in the microwave for a few minutes until they were done to my liking. I like to retain a bit of crunch. It saves heaps of time, power and stops all those nutrients being drained away with the cooking water.
    Thanks again, it's definitely a keeper. Cheers, Karen, Perth WA.

  24. Hello Thank you for your recipe. I am very new to preserving - infact your recipe was my first attempt at a sweet mustard pickle. When I made it the sauce was quite runny after I simmered it for a minute. Is that normal does it set in the jar. Also what brands of curry and mustard powder do you use and did you use white sugar? There is something very comforting about pickles. BEst Kerri


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