Delicious pickle relish

There’s a lot of talk about the collapse of neighbourliness in white suburbia, but that’s never been my experience.

Growing up in a quiet Pretoria suburb, my brothers and I used to ride bikes with our neighbours and best of all, we’d get jars of deliciously tangy pickle relish from a woman down the street. We’d slather it on sandwiches, cheese and everything else in reach. There was always a nebulous promise we’d get the recipe, but she passed away before passing it on.

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I never thought I’d taste it ever again.

Then Margie, the food editor at the magazine I work at, was working on a preserving feature and brought out what she’s named Lebanese Cucumber pickle.

I almost died from happiness when I tasted it. This was the exact same pickle relish I never thought I’d try again!

You can get the original recipe here, and below you’ll see my step by step photos and my changes to the recipe.

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Here are the ingredients – I used five times the recipe to make a vast amount of these delicious pickles.


This makes about two jars worth; this stuff gets gobbled up so quickly I’d definitely recommend making at least double the amount.

  • 500g Lebanese cucumbers / small cucumber gherkins
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (red onions add a lovely pink tinge to the final product)
  • 60ml coarse salt
  • 250ml white balsamic vinegar (or white vinegar with must)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 250ml sugar
  • 10ml mustard seeds
  • pinch chilli powder
  • pinch ground turmeric
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Garlic and coarse salt.
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Various spices…
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White balsamic vinegar.
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Yellow mustard seeds.
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And a pinch of chilli


  1. Use a vegetable peeler to slice the cucumbers into ribbons through the length. The thin ribbons work so well so though you can slice it, I’d recommend using a veggie peeler if possible.
  2. Mix together the cucumber, onion and salt, and cover and leave to stand overnight with a tea towel over the bowl. This is an important part of the preserving process, so don’t shortcut it! Then thoroughly rinse, drain and spoon the mixture into sterilised jars.
  3. Heat the remaining ingredients on high until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Pour over the cucumber to cover completely, and seal immediately. Turn the jars upside down to seal closed. You can eat them immediately, but it’s nicer if you wait a few days.
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Shave the pickle with a vegetable peeler, and finely chop onion. Leave to marinade overnight.
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Put in sterilised jars.

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Then our the pickling liquid over the cucumbers, including some fat garlic cloves.
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Turn the jars upside down with the hot pickling liquid to seal them.
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Serve with delicious cheeses and bread!

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3 thoughts on “Delicious pickle relish”

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