The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word to the middle of the 18th century when, in 1758, Hannah Glasse described how "to make Paco-Lilla, or India Pickle"  The more familiar form of the word appears a decade later in a book for housekeepers in a section on how "to make Indian pickle, or Piccalillo". The spelling "piccalilli" can be seen in an advertisement in a 1799 edition of The Times.

In the Northeastern United States, commercial piccalillis are based on diced sweet peppers, either red or green. This style is somewhat similar to sweet pepper relish, with the piccalilli being distinguished by having a darker red or green color and like British piccalilli, the chunks are larger and it is tangier and slightly less sweeter. It is a popular topping on such foods as hamburgers and hot dogs. Traditional, British-style yellow piccalilli is also available.

In the Midwestern United States, commercial piccalillis are based on finely chopped gherkins; bright green and on the sweet side,
they are often used as a condiment for Chicago-style hot dogs. This style is sometimes called "neon relish".

This recipe is originally from a 1890's cookbook. I have updated the recipe for a more modern prepping process while keeping the same great old-fashioned flavor!

1/2 bushel green tomatoes, chopped (drain & discard juice)
2 heads of cabbage, chopped
2 dz large cucumbers, chopped (drain & discard juice)
2 dz large green peppers, shredded
2 dz large onions, chopped

Sprinkle 1pt salt over and through this mixture & let stand all night.

In the morning drain in colander. Put in large pan & mix with it,
1/4 lb black mustard seed
1/4 lb white mustard seed
1 oz celery seed
2 cups brown sugar
1 gal cider vinegar
1 Tb cinnamon
1 Tb allspice
(1/2 lb of mustard added in 5 minutes before taking off the stove)

Cook 1 1/2 hours after it begins to boil. Will keep for 2 weeks covered in fridge. You may want to 'halve' this recipe if using for one family. If using for the whole department or organization, though, make the original amount because the crew will want to add it on everything from hotdogs, burgers, salmon, steak, even cheese and crackers for an ultimate dip!

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