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PEI Mustard Pickles Recipe

Recipe from a Prince Edward Island food blogger for traditional sweet mustard pickles that are a common condiment to many meals on the Island
Course Condiment
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Mustard Pickles, Pickles
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99


  • 8 cups peeled and chopped pickling/field cucumbers, seeds and gelatinous membrane removed (How many cucumbers this takes depends on the variety of cucumber and how much seedy, gelatinous membrane the cucumbers have and that must be removed as well as what size pieces the cucumbers are cut into for the pickles. Generally, it will be in the vicinity of 6+ pounds of cucumbers to yield 8 cups chopped but, note, this is a general guideline only)
  • 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
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup+ coarse pickling salt


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Peel the onions and cut into pieces similar in size to cucumbers.
  4. Separate the cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
  5. Place cucumbers, onions, and cauliflower into a large bowl.
  6. Pour prepared cooled brine over the vegetables, ensuring they are completely covered. Cover bowl with tea towel. Let stand 8-10 hours.
  7. Drain vegetables in a colander and rinse with cold water to remove any excess salt. Let vegetables drain for apx. 45-60 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse. Fill a large-sized pot about two-thirds full of hot tap water. Place the jars, upright, into the water. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, each jar filled with water, and that the water is at least an inch over the tops of the jars, adding more if necessary. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes. Turn heat to simmer and leave the jars in the hot water to have ready to fill once the pickles are ready for bottling.
  9. Fill the canner a good half full of hot tap water. Cover and bring to a boil to have it ready for processing of the filled jars. Once it comes to a full boil, reduce heat to keep the water gently boiling.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.)
  12. 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.
  13. Use jar lifter tongs to carefully remove the hot sterilized jars from the water, one at a time, emptying the water from the jars back into the pot. Drain jars well.
  14. Remove a small amount of the hot water from the stockpot in which the jars were sterilized and place in small saucepan over simmering heat. Place the lids in the hot water to soften the rubber sealing compound. Do not boil the lids.
  15. Boil a kettle of water to have ready to top up water in the canner, if needed, once the filled jars are added.
  16. Using a ladle or a heat-proof glass measuring cup and a wide-mouthed canning funnel, fill the hot sterilized jars, leaving about 1/2” headroom in each jar to allow for expansion during the hot water processing. Remove any trapped air bubbles in the jars with a chopstick or small heatproof spatula. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness that could prevent the lids from sealing properly to the jars.
  17. Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the hot water and center the heated lids on jars so the sealing compound on the lid edges aligns with the jar rims. Fingertip tighten the ring/screw bands until resistance is encountered. Do not over-tighten.
  18. Using jar lifter tongs, carefully place filled jars upright in wire basket positioned in the canner, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Ensure the water level is at least 1” above the tops of jars, adding more boiling water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a full rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a moderately rolling boil but not boiling over. Process jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time as and if necessary, for higher altitudes. Start timing the processing from the point at which a full rolling boil is reached after jars have been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid.
  19. Let jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then, using jar lifter tongs, carefully remove the jars filled with pickles, upright and one at a time, and transfer them to a heat-proof cutting board, that has been covered with a towel, to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on counter for 24 hours. Then, test each jar for proper sealing by pressing down on the center of each jar lid. If the lid is already pressed downward, and does not pop back up, it is properly sealed. Any jars that do not pass this test should be refrigerated and the pickles used within a week or so. Store properly sealed pickle bottles in cool, dark place. Refrigerate pickles once jar has been opened.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 7½ pint bottles