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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Midnight Mustard Pickle

Mustard Pickle – Pickles & Preserves, Pg. 215 – Mildred Y. Potter (Mrs. W.P.)

Mustard pickle is a common condiment around many east coast dinner tables. Popular with Sunday ham or roast dinners, this medley of pickled vegetables is the perfect balance of sweet and sour, sure to tingle your taste buds. Pickling began as a way of preserving food for out of season use, and although we now have access to out of season food year-round, many Nova Scotians continue these traditions today to take advantage of the Fall’s fresh and abundant harvests.

To Jan – mustard pickle is to turkey what ying is to yang, what pepperoni is to pizza, what Sonny is to Cher. One just isn’t the same without the other. Fickle as a child (likely a result of only child syndrome), she wouldn’t go near this strange yellow chunky concoction that her mamma purchased by the box-load and pilfered onto their family dinners like taking communion. It wasn’t until her twenties that the clouds parted ways and the mustard pickle gods danced upon her tongue. Once bitten by the mustard pickle bug, there was no turning back. She’d eat it in the rain, she’d eat it on a plane, she’d eat it in a house, she’d eat it with a mouse, she’d eat it here or there, she eat it ANYWHERE! In fact, when invited to dinner - she’s been known to carry an emergency jar of mustard pickle in her handbag (Sophia Petrillo style). After desperately scanning the dinner table and noticing the absence of her favorite condiment crack, the mustard pickle is presented as a self serving host or hostess gift of sorts. Secrets out I guess – “My name is Jan Young, and I’m addicted to mustard pickle”.

The Dutch Oven's mustard pickle recipe is excellent. In fact unlike many pickle recipes – this recipe does not require that you soak your cucumbers in brine overnight. This was a good thing, as time is sometimes of the essence when it comes to cooking with Jan. “Jan-Land” as some of her friends affectionately refer to it, is the land where every minute has an hour and every hour a day. Otherwise known as the fictional land inside Jan’s head. Thus this blog entries title “Midnight Mustard Pickle” – we finished our first go through of this recipe near midnight. Jan-Land is also rumored to be home to a village of little creatures known as Janpa lampas (similar to Umpa lumpas). But enough about Jan-Land – Let’s get back to the mustard pickle.


1 Quart (4 cups) of cucumbers or cauliflower (we used half of each)
1 Quart of chopped celery (we used less celery, more cucumber and cauliflower)
1 Quart chopped sweet onions
2 sweet green peppers (chopped)
2 sweet red peppers (chopped)

Scald (simmer) for 10 minutes in 1 quart of vinegar, then reduce heat.


3 Cups white sugar
1 Tsp turmeric
3 Tsp mustard
¾ Cup flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tsp mustard seed

Blend with a little cold vinegar, stirring until a thick paste is formed. Add paste to vegetables, stir and bring to a boil. Bottle and process immediately.

Dutch Oven Tips & Tricks:

This is a relatively small recipe – we doubled it (was there any doubt given Jan’s little addiction). We chopped the veggies using a food processor – a huge time-saver. We were going for more of a relish consistency so we chopped them quite finely. Obviously the best time of year to make this recipe is late August into September – when the veggies are grown locally and available at seasonal prices$. The best deals are usually found at your local farmers’ market. This recipe is not explicit in its directions that you are to make a paste – we figured this out on our second run through of this recipe (it wasn’t midnight, which may be the reason we missed it the first time). It STINKS!! Crack a window or you'll smell like a jar of pickles for about a week.

Canning/Processing – this was our first real foray into canning/processing food – we’re not gonna lie, it’s a bit of a pain. Not that it’s difficult, just a multi-step process. For canning and processing tips and tricks visit Bernardin.ca. The fruits of your labour make it well worth it however, and the process of canning becomes a bit of a hazy memory once all your pretty jars of mustard pickle are lined up on the counter. A supply for all your family dinners throughout the year…and they make the perfect host/hostess “gift”.



  1. Peter,
    You have me craving a juicy burger with your homemade relish on it. You can't ask for better condiments than this. Sure beats the store bought version. By the way,how do we place our order for a few jars?
    Hope you're having a good week-end.

  2. This is my Grandmother's recipe - and the "L" is actually a "Y" - for Young. Jan - perhaps we are related? Clearly you have an affinity to the pickle :)