September 24, 2010


We've had a tepid Summer in Montana with lots of rain. It wasn't weather that our garden needed to flourish. So, here it is the end of September and there are more green tomatoes on the vines than we've picked red tomatoes.

My friend, Jady at Cucino Panzano urged me to try her grandmother's recipe for Piccalilli that dates back to the 1800's! Jady says that this recipe is so perfect, she hasn't tweaked it a bit over the years.
The simplest of ingredients turned out to be a flavorful and aromatic relish. I haven't tried it with any meats yet, but I had more than a few spoonfuls before I canned it! It is delicious!
If you're lucky enough to have a garden with lots of green tomatoes leftover at the end of the season, or a neighbor with a garden, I hope you'll try this lovely, sweet relish for yourself!

Piccalilli - adapted slightly from Cucina Panzano
8# sliced green tomatoes (weigh after slicing)
3# sliced onion (weigh after slicing)
1/2 cup salt
4 cups apple cider vinegar
5 cups granulated sugar
16 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

In a large pot, alternately layer sliced tomatoes and onions, sprinkling with salt between each layer. Cover pot and let stand overnight, unrefrigerated.

The next morning, drain the vegetables, but do not wash them. Put the cider vinegar into the pot, add sugar, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Heat to boiling, until sugar has dissolved. Add tomatoes and onions and cook slowly until the vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat, cover pot, and let set overnight, unrefrigerated.

The next morning, bring the piccalilli to a rapid boil, stirring well. Do not cook anymore. Remove cinnamon sticks. With a slotted spoon, fill canning jars with vegetables. Fill jars with hot liquid leaving 1/8" headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

This recipe made six 1-pint jars (2 cups).


  1. Karen, thanks for posting this. I watched my grandmother make this when I was a child and lost her recipe over 30 years ago. I think this one is really close. I can't wait to make it.

  2. they look great! It made me want a garden just so I can make this recipe!

    Have a great day!

  3. What a great idea! We've had a run in with some viscious squirrels this year who seem to have stolen almost all our tomatos, green or otherwise, but next year there wil be a much better spot for them and we fully intend to grow more than the 4 we got this year. I'm saving this for a later date thanks :-)

  4. Perfect packaging Karen! Your piccalilli looks great! I'm so glad you enjoyed Nana's recipe. :)

  5. I have so many green ones on. I might just have to try this! Cloves and cinnamon...yum.

  6. Yum! It looks and sounds great! What a cool delicious treat to give as a little gift!

  7. This really looks delicious--and so nicely packaged! My grandmother made piccalilli at the end of every summer. It was the only way she could get my sisters and me to eat pinto beans. She added a big spoonful of the piccalilli. She, having grown up during the depression, loved pinto beans. We, having not grown up during that time, turned our noses up at them. Thanks for the memories.


  8. I have never heard of piccalilli! It sounds interesting and you say that you use it as a relish/garnish with meat?

  9. It looks soo good, Karen!

    And the way you packaged and embellished the little jars just melts my heart. Very nicely done my friend!! xo

  10. Perfect timing! I actually just bought quite a few green tomatoes from the farmer's market. I think I'll pickle half and then use the rest for this relish! Awesome.

  11. Karen, I have GOT to try this. No green tomatoes however. I'm heading to a Farmer's Market tomorrow, hopefully I can pick up some there. Love you packaging.

  12. I am up to my eyeballs in green tomatoes - it HAS been a wet year up here, hasn't it? This recipe couldn't have come at a better time. Your pictures are awesome as always!

  13. Wow, a recipe from the 1800s! How special - thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  14. I made your pizza dough recipe last night. It was great. The crust was not rock hard like the crusts I have made in the past. I will make this again. Thank you!

  15. Yum, I love this relish. My grandmother used to make it and the wonderful aroma filled the house. What a treat to open a jar of this in the winter.

  16. I love piccalilli. It is a favorite when I serve a Ploughman's Lunch, great on a big slice of bread with a wedge of good cheese!

  17. My Sicilian grandmother used to make a similar piccalilli relish and we would put in our bowls of navy bean soup. MMmmm MMmmm Good.

  18. I tried the recipe this year and it was great! Thank you Karen but I have to add yours turned out much prettier than mine.


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