This (originally French?) medieval recipe for mixed pickles can be vegetarian and vegan and is the perfect accompaniment for meals. This recipe is taken from the book “The Medieval Cookbook” by Maggie Black, published by the British Museum Press.

Medieval Recipes: Mixed Pickles
Medieval Recipes: Mixed Pickles - Modern Interpretation

Ingredients (to make 2.3 Kgs)

  • 450g white cabbage
  • 900g mixed parsley roots, carrots, radishes and turnips
  • 450g hard-eating pears
  • 425ml white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp clear honey
  • 50g white sugar
  • 6 tbsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried saffron strands
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 50g currants
  • 575ml fruity white wine
  • 1 tsp of French mustard
  • 1⁄8 tsp each of ground cinnamon and black pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp each of anise and fennel seeds



“Take rote of persel, of pasternak, of rafens, scrape hem and waische him clene. Take rapes & caboches, ypared and ycorue. Take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire; cast all thise therinne. Whan they buth boiled cast therto peeres & perboile hem wel. Take alle thise thynges vp & lat it kele on a faire cloth. Do therto salt; whan it is colde, do hit in a vessel; take vyneger & powdour & safroun & do therto, & lat alle thise thynges lye therein at night, other al day. Take wyne greke & hony clarified togider; take lumbarde mustard & raisouns coraunce, al hoole, & grynde powdour of canel, powdour douce & aneys hole, & fenell seed. Take alle thise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe, & take thereof whan thou wilt & serue forth.’

– Curye on Inglysch, IV. 103.


Wash and peel all the root vegetables and slice them. Shred the cabbage and put everything in a large pan of water. Bring to a boil and add the pears. Cook until soft. Drain the contents and spread in a shallow dish; sprinkle with salt, saffron, ginger, and vinegar. Leave covered for twelve hours and rinse well. Add the currants and pack them into sterilized jars (leave 2.5 cm headspace). 

Put the honey and wine in a pan, add the sugar and the rest of the vinegar and all the remaining spices. Stir without boiling until the sugar dissolves, and pour it over the vegetables. Cover with seals and store. 

If you would like to experiment with medieval cooking, why not try one of these recipe books available on Amazon?

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