Pickles made from the heart.

left to right – Nana, my sister, me and mum. 

Cooking was a natural talent of my Nana’s, she could whip up a batch of scones or piklets in minutes without leaving a trace of mess behind. She also made beautiful cakes, biscuits, slices, puddings and pickles. We grew choko’s at home and when the vine was bare we’d source them elsewhere. Choko’s have that prickly feeling on the skin, I never really liked the feel of them. Nana would peel buckets full of them with a paring knife, I’d sit there watching the perfect precision as the skins dropped one by one into the compost bucket. The skins came off so finely, not an ounce of choko was wasted. Wastage for Nana just wasn’t on, she hated it. Everything had to be used for something and nothing was ever thrown out. My Nana could always create something out of nothing.

In honour of my Nana, here is a Choko Pickle recipe. This condiment can be used for sandwiches, ploughman’s platters, cold cuts, grilled meats and even on toast!


1.5 kg chokos

1 kg onions

½ cup salt

1 litre brown vinegar

1 cup plain flour

2 cups sugar

1 dessertspoon turmeric

1 dessertspoon mustard powder

1 dessertspoon curry powder

1 dessertspoon ground ginger

1 dessertspoon mustard seeds

How to:

Peel and slice the chokos and onions and dust well with salt. Leave them to stand overnight, before rinsing them off the next morning.

Prepare your glass jars by placing them upside down on an oven tray. Place your choko’s in a saucepan with the brown vinegar and simmer for around two hours or until tender. Mix the dry ingredients into a paste with a small amount of vinegar, then add to the choko mixture. Bring it back to the boil for about five minutes.

Sit the pickles aside and place your glass jars in the oven on 160 for around 10 minutes. Remove them carefully, they will be very hot. Using a heat safe glove hold the jar and pour then pickles inside the jars, fastening the lid on each jar as you go. Turn the jars upside down and leave to cool. Following this method will vacuum seal the jars for longer life.

Makes 1.5 kg.


My Nana and I – 1977

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharon Ham says:

    I have lots of fond memories of my Nanna and mother cooking in the kitchen . Chokos were a staple in our household along with favourites like lambs fry and bacon, tripe white sauce and parsley and preserved fruit and jams.


  2. gibietis says:

    Same Michael. We had a prolific vine on our shed roof and my brother made pocket money selling them to the local grocer. Can you add a photo of your bottled pickled choko to this post?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike Galvin says:

    The ‘good old days’ always provides a comfort factor for me personally. I often wonder what the next generation will look back on and appreciate from their younger days.

    Love how your brother ceased an opportunity, fantastic!

    I will try and find a photo, I did have one I took from a while back.

    Thank you 🙂


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