Along the Grapevine

A Forager’s Branston Pickle



Having acquired a taste for the most British of pickles, and having most of the necessary ingredients in my garden, it seemed only right that I should create my own version of this family favourite. Branston pickle is a relish made with a mixture of fruit and vegetables in a sticky, sweet, spicy, sour sauce. The main ingredients, carrots, apples, turnips and cauliflower are in season right now, so that is what I started with.


I made a few changes in order to avoid imports by using nannyberries as described here instead of dates as the sticky sweet part, but if you don’t have any of these you can use dates. Simply substitute one cup of chopped dates soaked in hot water for the berry mixture.

A Forager's Branston Pickle


3 cups nannyberries

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 cups cider vinegar

1 lb carrots

1 mediums turnip or swede

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 summer squash or zucchini

3 small onions

3 medium apples

1 pear

1/2 cup pickles

4 cloves minced garlic

1 seeded chili pepper

1 Tbsp dry mustard powder

1 tsp ground allspice

1 cup brown sugar

juice of two lemons

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water


Cook the berries, water and sugar until very soft, about ten minutes. Mash and strain. You will have about 1 cup of berry juice.

Clean and chop all the fruits and vegetables into small pieces. Put everything except the cornstarch mixture in a pot and cook on a medium heat until the carrots and turnip are cooked, but still crunchy – about two hours. Add the cornstarch mixture and heat through until the sauce thickens.

Pour into jars and allow to cool.


Unsure of whether I could safely can this mixture I plan to freeze the extra amounts. Ideally you should wait a couple of weeks before consuming to give it time to mellow, if you can wait. I couldn’t but I have noticed it just keeps improving with time and we are only at day 8.


If you want a spicier version, use the seeds of the chili pepper. The quantities of spices I used are on the mild side, but the flavour is very close to the ‘real thing’.

A Forager's Branston Pickle on Punk Domestics

Branston pickle is excellent with cheese or and crackers, cold meats and sandwiches.

Linked to Fiesta Friday #89.


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

25 thoughts on “A Forager’s Branston Pickle

  1. This sounds interesting! I’ve never had this kind of pickle, but now I want to try it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hilda: I loved your puff ball article and recipe for drying. When my son Philip and I were walking around Niagara College a few weeks ago we saw six of them on the edge of a small forest grove. It was too much largess all at once! Next year I’ll know what to do. Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m learning a lot! Carole

    Carole E Robinson

    Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2015 13:02:23 +0000 To:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hilda, this sounds delicious. I don’t know too much about pickles, but I enjoyed learning a little bit more. My favorite part about your recipe is that you kept the spiciness to a minimum while gaining an authentic flavor! Thank you so much for brining this dish to the fiesta, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 😀


    • Thanks Kaila. I was almost regretting not putting more spice in it, but then I served it to guests and they thought it would not have been as good with more spices. I think it’s one of those things, everyone has a preference, and there is no right or wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done.. ! Can’t abide the stuff me self!


  5. I seem to remember having this in the UK with my grandparents. I loved it with some sharp cheese. I have most of those ingredients on hand as well and will give it a try. The only thing missing is the turnip, do you think it would be terrible to leave it out?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharp cheese is exactly what goes with it. I think if you don’t have turnip (or some other hard root like celeriac) you could leave it out – maybe just put more carrots in it. Frankly, I think you can omit or add just about anything. No one ingredient stands out.


  6. I’m still waiting when you will open a store, Hilda! Your recipes are very unusual and look very tasty; and I’m sure many people would order something! 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow this sounds drooolsome Hilda… you just invent so many new stuffs to us…. awesome..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This pickle sounds wonderful Hilda! In India, we make loads of really spicy pickles, this one is quite different, yet looks delicious 🙂


    • I am very familiar with your lovely spicy pickles from when I lived in Delhi some years ago. This one is much milder and a different sort all together, but does go so very well in sandwiches. Of course, you could spice it up a bit, which I might do next time.


  9. I love pickles and this looks so good. I can only imagine how good it will be with a wedge of cheddar cheese! Yummy 🙂


  10. How long do you think it can keep without canning/freezing it? With jams, I just turn the hot (mainly recycled) jars upside down to make a vacuum then store them in the cellar. Never had any problem so far, but I’m not sure if it works with stuff like chutneys, sauces or sweet pickles like this one…


    • I think with the lemon, sugar and vinegar it should be ok for storing with your method, but unfortunately I can’t say for sure and myself wouldn’t want to risk it. I keep mine in the fridge and chutneys like that last easily several weeks.


  11. I’ve been suffering from pickle fatigue this year – couldn’t face it. You have now reignited my enthusiasm and I’m now eyeing up a bucket of green tomatoes as I type!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have just been working on green tomatoes. Hope to post something very soon. I would be interested to know what you do with them too!


  13. I love this!!! Branson Pickle is awesome, something I loved while living in scotland, this recipe sounds great!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Foraging for Not-Your-Store-Bought Pickles! | Curious By Nature

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