Make your own sweet pickle (vegan, frugal)

We love learning how to make our own versions of popular store-bought products, particularly when it works out more frugal, more environmentally friendly and more fun than just having the convenient option. Plus if you enjoy the kitchen time as much as we do, it’s essentially pretty cheap entertainment.

So when we realised we wanted to learn to make cheese, the other thing that swiftly came to mind was that we probably ought to make some accompaniments for that. So without further ado, our recipe for sweet sandwich pickle. And it won’t be far off before we can take pictures of our first entirely home made vegan ploughman’s lunch!

Not quite Branston’s but pretty darn close

Not quite Branston’s but pretty darn close



  • Approx 1.5 kg skinned & chopped toms

  • 1 celery stick,

  • 2 large onions,

  • 2 med. carrots,

  • Whole cauliflower,

  • 3 apples

  • 6 fairly large gherkins

  • big handful dates or prunes

  • handful of sultanas,

  • generous sprinkle of allspice

  • 200g demerara (you could use more - I don't like it too sweet)

  • 500 ml vinegar ( I used half from my gherkin jar & half cider)

  • 1 dtsp lemon juice

  • generous grindings of salt & black pepper

  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice powder)


  • Chop everything that can be chopped into fine chunks, depending on how chunky you like your pickle. Definitely get it all fairly small. (Don't worry about chopping the sultanas...)

  • Add everything to a large, heavy bottomed pan and bring it to the boil. You then want to leave it at a high simmer for roughly one and a half hours, skimming any scum off that forms. It’s probably not a bad idea to have something else to do in the kitchen at the same time (... washing up, probably, but then get another recipe going. If you’re going to be in there that long you might as well do something with that time.)

  • In the background while the pan is simmering, sterilise a load of jars while you’re waiting. We have a tub of steriliser because we also make wine at home, but you don’t need that - just wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse and dry, then put them in the oven on the lowest setting for roughly half an hour.

  • Decant the pickle into your jars. If you’ve let it cool down, then it should go into jars that have been allowed to cool. If you’re packing it up while it’s still warm, then put it in warm jars, otherwise physics happens. (A serious difference in temperature could cause your glass jars to crack, and no-one wants a cheese, pickle and glass shards sandwich…)

  • Label them and leave for at least a month, but it’s better to leave it for two months if you can wait that long.

  • We made roughly three and a half litres of chutney, so y’know, that’s your lunches sorted for a while. Once you’ve cracked open a jar, keep it in the fridge and use up within a week or two.

It’s approximately 22 calories per a (2 tablespoon) serving, so do with that what you will!