PEI Mustard Pickles on Island Fishcakes
8 cups peeled and chopped pickling/field cucumbers, seeds/membrane removed
4 cups onions, chopped
2 cups cauliflower flowerets (apx. 1 small cauliflower head)
4 cups white pickling vinegar (7% acidity)
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 – 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, depending on how juicy or thick you like pickles
1 1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp mixed pickling spice, tied in a cheesecloth sachet
1/2 cup dry mustard
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1 small red pepper, chopped
¾ cup+ coarse pickling salt
- Make a brine of pickling salt and water using 1/2 cup coarse pickling salt to 4 cups of water. (I use apx. 6 cups water and 3/4 cup pickling salt for this recipe. The salt will dissolve better if it is mixed with 2 cups of boiling water and stirred. Then, when dissolved, add remaining 4 cups of cold water to cool the mixture down.) Enough brine is needed to completely cover the vegetables so, depending on the size of bowl the vegetables are soaking in, additional brine may need to be mixed up so have some extra pickling salt available for this purpose. Ensure the brine is completely cooled before pouring over the vegetables.
- Wash and peel the cucumbers. Slice each in half, lengthwise. Slice in half again. Remove and discard the seeds and inner membrane of the cucumbers. Cut cucumbers to desired size, apx. 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces.
- Peel the onions and cut into pieces similar in size to cucumbers.
- Separate the cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
- Place cucumbers, onions, and cauliflower into a large bowl.
- Pour prepared cooled brine over the vegetables, ensuring they are completely covered. Cover bowl with tea towel. Let stand 8-10 hours.
- Drain vegetables in a colander and rinse quickly with cold water to remove any excess salt. Let vegetables drain for apx. 45-60 minutes.
- In a large stock pot, bring to a boil, over medium-high heat, 3 cups of the vinegar and 3 cups of the sugar along with the pickling sachet made of pickling spice tied in cheesecloth. Boil 2-3 minutes.
- In bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour, turmeric, celery seed, dry mustard, ginger, and cayenne. Add the remaining 1 cup of vinegar to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add apx. 3/4 cup of the hot vinegar-sugar mixture to this sauce. This will “temper” it and keep it from going lumpy when added to the hot liquid mixture in the pot. Stir and pour this mixture into the vinegar-sugar mixture in pot. Cook sauce over medium heat until thickened, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. When sauce coats a spoon and drips off slowly, it is thick enough to add the vegetables. (This could take several minutes.)
- Add the cup-up red pepper to the other vegetables and add all the vegetables to the thickened mustard sauce and cook over medium-low heat just until vegetables are heated through, apx. 12-15 minutes. Do not boil the vegetables.