Sweet Fermented Piccalilli

How to make a simple fermented piccalilli for a flavourful cabbage relish

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Piccalilli is a British-style Indian relish that is sweet, spicy and sour. This fermented piccalilli is made with seasonal vegetables. It is perfect with dosas, in a cheese sandwich or served at a BBQ. See the section above for more serving suggestions.


Units Scale
  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 3 cups of finely diced seasonal vegetables (see notes for options)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated turmeric root (or turmeric powder)
  • 1 Tbsp of diced red chili (optional)
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup of cultured apple cider vinegar, see notes for other culture options


  1. Grate or finely dice all of the vegetables.
  2. Mix vegetables with salt, sugar, and spices in a big bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. Pack the vegetables into a 2-quart jar (or several smaller jars), leaving at least 1 inch of headroom in a quart jar or 2 inches in a 2-quart jar. Divide the vinegar between the jars. Use the wooden spoon to pack the vegetables down so they are below the liquid.
  4. Top the vegetables with a weight to keep them below the liquid. Let them ferment somewhere coolish and dark for 3 to 5 days. A kitchen cupboard is perfect.
  5. Store the piccalilli in the fridge to stop the fermentation. Taste before serving and add a bit more sugar if you want it to be sweeter. 
  6. This ferment will last for at least a month in the fridge.


  • Traditional vegetables to include in a piccalilli are cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, sweet peppers, and fennel.
  • This piccalilli can ferment with any sugar-based culture. I recommend raw apple cider vinegar because it adds the right sort of flavor. You could also use strong brewed kombucha, water kefir, or ginger bug.
  • I usually ferment in a fido jar because it’s easy. The most important thing is to keep the vegetables from being exposed to air, so if you are using a regular mason jar be sure to use a weight.