“Caulcannon” Pickles (Mixed Root Vegetable Pickles)

When I first became obsessed with pickling, one idea came to mind before all others – CAULCANNON PICKLES. (!!!!)

As I mentioned in my earlier Caulcannon recipe post, we make the East Coast Canadian style of caulcannon (colcannon) around here – and we love it. (If you haven’t yet tried it, click that link and whip up a batch – it’s great stuff!)

Anyway, with out love of the flavor that the mixed root vegetables bring to the dish, I thought it would be a great idea to make pickles based on that same set of flavors. Well, minus the potatoes and dairy ingredients, anyway!

These are fabulous! While they would be great with the addition of dill, jalapenos, mustard seed, etc… we went fairly basic with just garlic and pepper, to more closely capture the flavors in our beloved caulcannon – and really let the flavors of the root vegetables take center stage. Unlike cucumber pickles – cucumbers have a very mild taste – the root vegetables bring a lot of flavor to the finished pickles here.

A few notes about pickling:

1. The amount of brine you’re going to need will vary widely depend on the shape and size of your vegetable slices, the size of jar you use, and how well you pack them into the jar. Have a lot of extra vinegar on hand, and either make more brine than you think you’ll need, or be prepared to make more as you go.

2. Pickling salt is usually available with the canning supplies in any grocery store. You’ll want to use this, rather than regular table salt – the anti-caking additives in table salt can make your pickle brine go murky and ugly.

3. While you can use previously-used jars for canning (when WELL washed and sterilized!), you need new lids for each new batch. Safety first!

Homemade Mixed Root Vegetable Pickles

2.5 lbs parsnips
1 – 1.25 lbs turnips
1 lb carrots
1 1/2 lb rutabaga
1-2 onions, peeled, sliced, and separated.

Brine:

8 cups vinegar
8 cups water
1 cup pickling salt

Per pint jar (2x for quart jars):

1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/4 tsp mustard seed (optional)
1/2 tsp dill seed (optional)

Canning Equipment:

Clean, sterilized canning jars & rings
New, never-used, sterilized canning lids
Canning funnel
LARGE pot to process them in
Jar lifter (nice to have, not necessary if you can handle pain!)

Peel all of your vegetables, and slice into sticks. Try to keep the thickness of the vegetable sticks about the same, even if that’s not possible of length. (eg: Turnips will have shorter sticks than carrots are capable of, etc).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In batches, blanch your root vegetables for about 1.5 minutes, then quickly submerge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Once finished blanching all of your root veggies, drain well and mix with onion slices. Set aside.

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine.

In another pot (NOT the canning pot!), combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the salt. As the brine heats up, measure your “per jar” ingredients into your sterilized jars. Arrange your prepared vegetables into the jars, packing them tightly.

Once brine comes to a boil, use a canning funnel to pour brine into prepared jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of pickles into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 15 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Leave the jars alone for at least a few days, to allow the flavors to permeate the pickles. Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

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