Tasting History: In a Pickle - The British Empire on a Plate

April 26, 2021
Online Event

A USC Libraries Special Collections and USC History Department interactive event

Pickle-along with us! Participants are encouraged to try out a recipe for an Indian Pickle from a historic Victorian recipe book held in USC Libraries Special Collections.

Watch a brief video with historical context, the recipe, and further instructions narrated by Professor Lindsay O’Neill from USC’s Department of History.

You can use either our modernized recipe or test your hand at the originalstraight from the Victorian recipe manuscript! Document and share your process on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #picklealong, and tagging @uscspecol and @usclibraries.

Join us on Monday, April 26 at 12:00 PM (PT) for a discussion of the process and to share our results. Please RSVP for the event.


India Pickle: Modernized Recipe

[This makes 1⁄4 of the original recipe and should be enough for on pint jar of pickled veggies]

Vegetable of your choice [I used a cucumber, but be creative]


4 inches of fresh ginger root

1 inch turmeric root [if you can’t find fresh you can experiment and throw in 1.5 tsp of dry]

8 cloves of garlic

2 tsp salt [I thought it could use more]

3 Tb mustard seed

2 tsp saffron

1.5 tsp Long pepper [or replace with normal peppercorns]

1 Tb Allspice (Jamaican pepper)

1.5 cups white vinegar


1. Peel and cut up your ginger root. The pieces can be somewhat large but you what them

small enough so you can fit everything in.

2. Peel and cut up your turmeric root, ditto on the size of the pieces

3. Peel eight cloves are garlic. I smashed four of mine and put in four whole cloves.

4. Add the salt, mustard seed, saffron, pepper, and allspice.

5. Cut, perhaps peel, and place in the vegetables you want to pickle.

6. Boil a cup and a half of white vinegar, if you don’t want it to be super vinegar-y just pour room temperature vinegar in.

7. Refrigerate overnight and then take the plunge and try them.