Recipe: Karen Solomon’s Ploughman’s Pickle

updated Jan 29, 2020
Karen Solomon's Ploughman's Pickle
Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

This time of year there’s a quiet bounce that’s heard throughout gardens and groceries — it’s the soft thunder of zucchini rolling off vines by the dozen. Zucchini bread and zucchini noodles can only take you so far. It’s time to push your squash savvy to new heights, and we have five fresh recipes this week to help take you there.

Let’s start by going the happy route, all the way to pickles.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

This pickle is from Karen Solomon — one of our favorite pickle-makers. This is her take on ploughman’s pickle, a classic British condiment, part of the essential pub lunch. It usually involves, as Karen explains, “bread, cheese, meat, pickled onions, and this awesome, tangy, sweet condiment (it often travels under the brand name Branston Pickle). Tuck it into a cheddar cheese sandwich. Thank me later.”

Karen also explains how easy this is. “Most of the time you spend making this will be you getting super cozy and comfortable with your knife and cutting board. A fine, fine chop — not quite a mince, but not a thoughtless cubing, either — is really the only way to get the texture just right. Also, don’t let the tamarind paste put you off. It’s a frequent staple found in almost any Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, or Latin American grocery.”

Tester’s Notes

This was such a delicious sweet-tangy relish that is great with the traditional meat, cheese, and bread ploughman’s platter. The tamarind paste used in the original recipe contains seeds and pods, but I was able to find a smooth paste instead. If you find a smooth paste, I would recommend dissolving it in just 1/2 cup of water instead.

Christine, June 2015

Karen Solomon's Ploughman's Pickle

Makesabout 8 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 1/2 cup

    tamarind paste

  • 3 1/2 cups

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups


  • 16

    medium Medjool dates, finely chopped

  • 1

    large sweet apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 4 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups

    finely diced carrot

  • 1 cup

    finely diced cauliflower, mostly stems

  • 1 cup

    finely diced zucchini

  • 1 cup

    finely diced red onion


  1. Whew! That was a lot of chopping. Now, let’s make the brine.

  2. Put the tamarind in a medium bowl, add 1 cup warm water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Using your bare hands, squish the paste and water together into a liquid slurry. Remove and discard all seeds and pods.

  3. In a large, covered saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the tamarind slurry, vinegar, sugar, dates, apple, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, mashing the fruit with a wooden spoon or potato masher as it softens. Once the volume of the liquid has reduced by about half and the mixture has become thick and syrupy, turn off the heat. Add the carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, and onion and stir to coat completely. Allow the vegetables to rest in the pot, covered, for 1 hour.

  4. Pack the pickle into clean glass jars and refrigerate for up to 3 months. Or pack it into sterile canning jars and process for 15 minutes. This will keep for up to 1 year on the shelf.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It by Karen Solomon, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

→ Check out Karen’s book! Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It by Karen Solomon

Be the first to rate and review this recipe