I need your help!

Awhile back I mentioned I was sorting through my canning and preserving recipes and putting them all into one 3 ring binder for use this season. My grandmother had a recipe for home made Piccalilli. This was the best stuff and always found it’s way onto the side of our dinner plates. Especially when we had baked beans and hot dogs with steamed brown bread.

This is a great recipe for around here with our short growing season and the many green tomatoes left at the end of the season. So is the Mock Raspberry Jam I posted a few weeks ago. I know right now the tomatoes are jut but wee seedlings but we all know how fast the season goes and you will be looking around for your recipes.

I though this recipe, her recipe, was lost. One afternoon while visiting with my CA sister we pulled out the recipe box I gave to her that was one of my Grandmother’s many boxes. We looked at each recipe and could relate each one to something that had happened in our past.

Isn’t in amazing how food binds a family together in so many ways.

I photo copied the recipe that was written in my Grandmother’s handwriting and would like to use this recipe and also share it with you. Actually I was hoping you could help me with it. I have a hard time reading some of the older writing styles.  There are 2 parts I am not sure of, I can’t read the handwriting. Clicking on them will make them larger




My question/can’t read the following:

1. 1/4 lb. or 1/4 tbl. white mustard seed-You will notice on the back she wrote 1tb ginger that looks also like lb if she forgot to cross the “t”.

2.. 1/4 tsp._______ what is that word?

Here is the typed recipe


1 peck green tomatoes

8 onions chopped fine

stir in 1 cup of salt. Leave overnight

In morning drain all liquid. Then take 2 quarts water and 1 quart vinegar, boil together 20 minutes. Drain through a colander. Put back in kettle, turn over  1 1/2 quarts vinegar, 1 pound sugar, 1/4 lb. white mustard seed, 1 Tbl. black pepper seed, 1/4 tspXXXXXXX,


1 Tbl. cinnamon, 1Tbl. ginger, 1 Tbl. allspice.

Boil until tender. Seal in glass jars.

May need more sugar and scant spices also vinegar if strong. I use white vinegar.


Thanks for any of your suggestions. I even took this to the grocery with me the other day and asked all the “older” ladies I could find to read it for me…No luck, other than it is 1/4 lb. white Mustard seed…. the 1/4 tsp of ???? is cay…something….



5/5/09 Update-

Thanks again everyone for your help. I took the advise and continued looking on the net for a recipe similar to mine and found this one. I decided to post it here, we all know how pages disappear on the net.

Recipe from RecipePlex:

One peck of green tomatoes; eight large onions chopped fine, with one cup of salt well stirred in. Let it stand over night; in the morning drain off all the liquor. Now take two quarts of water and one of vinegar, boil all together twenty minutes. Drain all through a sieve or colander. Put it back into the kettle again; turn over it two quarts of vinegar, one pound of sugar, half a pound of white mustard seed, two tablespoonfuls of ground pepper, two of cinnamon, one of cloves, two of ginger, one of allspice, and half a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper. Boil all together fifteen minutes or until tender. Stir it often to prevent scorching. Seal in glass jars.


The spices are double the amount in my recipe but the wording and ingredients are exactly the same. I looked in the grocery the other day for white mustard seed to see how big the bottle would be and the weight of one. No luck, not sure where I will find these.


Posted on May 1, 2009, in Home Cooking Recipes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. It does look like a pound of mustard, but that would be a horrible recipe 🙂 It must be tb. The other word looks like cayenne, but I can’t tell what she wrote just under it

  2. I copied and pasted it into Photoshop and inverted the colors. I think it says Tbsp of White mustard seed and Then Cayenne. Under Cayenne it says /over/.

    At least thats what I see. Hope this helps!

  3. Picalilli

    1 peck green tomatoes
    8 onions chopped fine
    Stir in 1 cup salt. Leave overnight. In morning drain all liquor. Then take (add?) 2 quarts water and 1 quart vinegar, boil together 20 minutes. Drain through colander – put in kettle, turn over (add?) 1 1/2 quarts vinegar, 1 pound sugar, 1/4 pound white mustard seed, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayennne (over) 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon allspice. Boil until tender – seal in glass jars. May need more sugar and scant spices – also vinegar if strong. I use white vinegar.

  4. I agree-use a tablespoon of pepper. The other word is cayenne (just below that in parenthesis it says…”over”)

    it looks like she wrote Ts after the cayenne for teaspoon.
    I have a bunch of these old recipes-aren’t they fun.

  5. My guess is, it’s cayenne pepper. The word under it looks like “over”, as in turn the card over…

  6. lizzylanefarm

    All of you are so smart and good readers….:) Thank you so very much for your help. I will try the recipe when it’s time and let you know how it turns out. Some of the old hand written recipes are fun to try but there is no trying this one, I KNOW its good!
    Thanks again!! 🙂

  7. I agree with them!

    it looks like cayenne, ( which would make sense) and then “over” to see whats on the back 😉

    Good luck with the recipie

  8. Mustard seed is pretty mild in pickles, I don’t think 4 oz of seed with a peck of tomatoes would be too much. Look at other recipes that use that quantity of toms to get a better idea. If you still think that is too much, cut the mustard seed in half and taste your relish before canning it. Cutting or adding spices in a canning recipe won’t change the safety factor. Cutting the acidity factor is.

    The second word in cayenne.

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