How to make Branston pickle - made easy, and illustrated!

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Making Homemade Branston Pickle Relish

Making and canning your own Branston-style pickle relish is one of the easiest things you can do with your extra cucumbers! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated.  This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this!  It's a great thing to do with your kids!  This must be stored in the refrigerator, as it has not been lab tested for storage safety outside of the fridge.

For those unfamiliar, Branston Pickle is a spiced vegetable mixture, not like any American relish.  It is dark brown in color, sweet, sour and savory. It is traditionally served with "ploughman's" lunches and cheese sandwiches. Some also use it in cooking, typically added to curries, stews and Welsh rarebit.


Note: More photos are coming


Yield: About 3 pints

  • 3/4 cup malt vinegar (apple cider vinegar will do if you can't get malt)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped into 1/8 inch cubes
  • 1 cup rutabaga (called a Swede in the UK and Australia), chopped into 1/8 inch cubes.  You can use turnips, if you can find rutabagas.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 6 dates, pitted and cut into 1/8 inch cubes
  • 3 cauliflower florets, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium apple, finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 5 sweet gherkins, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped prunes
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 pound dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (aka corn flour)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice,
  • caramel coloring (optional)



  • 1 large pot; teflon lined, glass or ceramic.
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Half pint or pint  jars.
  • Lids and rings

Directions - How to Make Pickle Relish

Step 1 - Wash and Chop

Wash and chop the vegetables an dried fruits!  You can use a food processor!


Step 2 - Combine and bring to a low boil

Combine ALL of the ingredients, except for 1/4 cup of the malt vinegar, the caramel coloring and cornstarch in a large pot.  Heat over low heat; this is a slow process. You may want to use a crock pot (i.e., a slow cooker) on low or medium heat. The mixture should become very thick and viscous as it cooks down, but you can add a little water from time to time to maintain the consistency you desire.

Step 3 - Simmer

Simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the the rutabaga/swede/turnips are slightly softened.


Step 4 - Add the cornstarch, caramel, remaining vinegar

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 1/4 malt vinegar and mix to a paste, then add it to the pot. Add the caramel coloring and mix well. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes  then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Step 5 - Let flavor develop in the fridge

After it has cooled to room temperature, put in glass jars and store in the fridge to let the flavor develop; that should take 2 to 4 weeks.



Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
          - to fill the jars



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