That's not Branston Pickle

I made Branson pickle at the end of last year and it was filled with wonderful fresh ingredients; rutabega, cauliflower, granny smith apple, carrots, onion, garlic, zucchini just to name a few. It also has one of my personal favourites in it - malt vinegar. I gave it out to several friends as a Christmas gift and a bit of a test to see what people thought. Now if you have never had Branston Pickle, it is great with cheeses, in a ploughman's lunch or sandwich, as an aside to chicken pot pie, etc. It has a nice crunch with a tiny bit of kick.

Several rave reviews came back and even requests for me to make more. But this was all from people who had never had the traditional British Branston Pickle.

This recipe is delicious and the name alone would make it an easier sell to diehard Branston fans who tend to get right indignant with impersonators. You can count my British Mother in Law in that group. She liked the flavour but said quite strongly "That's not Branston Pickle!".

But I didn't let her rather harsh, but still much appreciated review get me down. I spoke to others who had received it as a gift and it was liked by all of them. So just this week in the commercial kitchen I made 3 large batches.

The trick now is to find a new name. British Brown Pickle sounds so drab and unappealing. I have been struggling with what to label this rather delicious preserve and have come to a dead end.

So for the person who helps me name it - there is a delicious jar of "I can't believe it's not Branston" or "Branston Pickle" or "British Brown Pickle" in it for you.




Drum roll please - my Branston Pickle gets judged

James has a love for all things British; from Marmite, Yorkshire Gold looseleaf tea to Branston pickle. As fall descends and the weather gets cooler I start to crave comfort foods, so I decided to make an old favourite - Steak and Guinness Pie, so that we could test the Branston pickle I made earlier this week.

I knew the pie would be a hit but how would the pickle measure up to his old favourite. I didn't use the browning so I knew the appearance would be much different...but it was the flavour I was most interested in. So if you have someone in your home who loves the Branston and you are wondering if the end result is worth the time it takes, here is his verdict.

Not as sweet and sticky as his store bought
You can taste the individual flavours more (which is not a bad thing)
Can taste the freshness

We made it through almost a half a jar already, so I think he has given it a thumbs up which at the end of the day was what I was going for :).

Preserve madness

Recently I have been digging up old family preserve recipes and doing a lot of research online for recipes. But what generally happens is that I end up stockpiling all these great recipes and then spending one full day turning my kitchen completely upside down and canning, chopping and cleaning up after the mess I make for a good 6-8 hour shift. Yesterday was one of those days. I decided that I was going to make pickled Cauliflower, Branston pickle (for James who loves it) and Tomato Jam.

The cauliflower recipe called for Coriander and I didn't realize that I had missed that on the shopping list til things were already on a boil and well on their way. So I decided to do the neighbourly thing and see if I could borrow some from next door.

Well when I knocked on the door and my neighbour came to the door, I told her it was probably a strange request but did she have Coriander. She scrunched up her nose and said 'Do I have Coriander?'. The way she said it made it seem like perhaps I had offended her. Then she followed it up with "Do you forget what I do for a living' and she proceeded to take me down into her basement where she had a wall full of every spice imaginable. She is in the spice business. She gave me a new product being released by McCormick's called Roasted Ground Coriander. I decided seeing as the recipe called for me to roast the seeds that I would substitute this ingredient into the mix for one batch and test it out. It has a lovely roasted scent and I can't wait til I can try the pickles in about a week.

The tomato jam recipe has a pretty simple list of ingredients:

  • 8 large or 12 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 lemons
  • 8 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons preserved ginger, chopped
I reduced the sugar to 6 cups and put ginger in half the batch and fresh chopped basil in the other half. It simmered for about 2 hours til it was reduced to the setting point and came out a perfect spreadable consistency. My personal vote is for the basil. But then it is one of my favourite flavours. But the ginger is still pretty wonderful as well.

At first I was intimidated at the ingredient list for the Branston Pickle. I researched several recipes online and settled on this recipe I chose not to use the 'browning" and other than the fact that it took 2 hours to reduce, it was relatively easy and I learned a few things. I had no idea there were dates in Branston pickle. I am going to make steak and guiness pie on the weekend so we can give it a taste test and see how it compares to the store bought.