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Gluten-Free Ploughman’s Pickle – a perfect chutney to go with cheese
For those living outside of the UK, you probably have no idea what a Ploughman’s pickle is. It is a spicy thick brown pickled chutney consisting mainly of swede (rutabaga), carrots, cauliflower and onions. A popular condiment to accompany many dishes and is often seen in pubs and restaurants along with the regular condiments on offer.
How do you eat ploughman’s pickle?
This pickle goes famously well with mature farmhouse Cheddar cheese and freshly baked bread. This relish is a main-stay condiment in a typical Ploughman’s lunch, a popular pub meal in England, usually eaten, you guessed it, at lunch! It is a far from boring lunch as modern additions have joined this dish, such as good quality sliced ham, wedges of pork pie, vegetable crudities, boiled eggs, pickled onions, grapes, oatcakes, digestive biscuits and hot mustards. Let’s not leave out a generous glass of beer or cider!
It’s come a long way from originally being a British farm worker’s packed lunch. Now it can be enjoyed as a meal on its own or shared on a wooden board to graze from.
Store-bought versus homemade
As the store-bought chutney is normally pickled in brown malt vinegar, which is derived from barley, this recipe uses apple cider vinegar to make it a possible gluten-free condiment.
In the UK, the original and well-known store-bought brand is Branston Pickle. There seems to be an ongoing debate as to decide if this store-bought relish is in fact gluten-free. As not all vinegars are distilled, e.g, malt vinegar – which is made from barley – this lack of distillation makes this relish unsafe for people with celiac disease.
Gluten-Free Ploughman’s Pickle
- Sterilised glass jars to store the pickle
- ¼ medium swede/rutabaga, peeled
- ⅛ medium cauliflower, broken up into small florets
- 1 large red onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celery stick
- ½ zucchini
- 1 green apple, (Granny Smith or a tart variety) peeled and cored
- 1 red apple, (Golden Delicious or a sweet variety) peeled and cored
- 50 g dried dates, pitted
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium pickles/gherkins, chopped into 1 cm pieces
- 75 g brown sugar (the darker the better)
- 90 ml apple cider vinegar
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper powder
- ½ tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- ½ tbsp cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
Preparing the pickle
- Chop all the vegetables, apples and dates into 1 cm cubed pieces.
- Add them into a large, deep pot and pour enough water to cover the pickle ingredients1.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
Cooking the pickle
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low simmer with the lid on for 30 mins.
- Remove the lid and continue to the simmer for one hour, or until the pickle becomes thick and gooey. Mix the cornflour with some cold water to form a slurry paste and add this to the pickle.
- Towards the end of cooking, mix the cornflour with some cold water to form a slurry paste and add this to the pickle. Simmer for another 10 mins.
- Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Storing the pickle
- Sterilise several glass jars with their lids either in the dishwasher or in hot water in a large pot over the stove for 10 minutes.
- Allow the pickle to cool down slightly before adding them to the jars. As soon as the pickles are in the jars, cover them and place them in a cool dark place to mature for several weeks or months. They will keep indefinitely in sterilised sealed jars.
- Keeps indefinitely, provided they are stored in a cool, dark place in sterilised jars.
- The pickle can be eaten straight away, but the flavour will improve over time.
- Once opened, keep the pickle refrigerated