Piccallili; which tool to grind veggies?

caroline94535September 2, 2012

Hi Folks! I'm a lurker and my name is Caroline. Normally I'm at the Kitchen Table, but I lurk everywhere.

I've been immersed in a frenzy of canning/freezing garden produce for the past couple of weeks.

Today's first project is piccalilli. I have to grind the vegetables - green tomatoes, cabbage, red and green bell peppers, and onions.

I have two tools; a Cuisinart food processor with the medium plate, and a KitchenAid mixer with a grinder attachment. The KA attachment has a "fine" and a "course" blade.

Which tool would be the best for grinding the veggies to the proper consistancy for piccallili?

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I would use the mixer's grinding attachment.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Yes, coarser blade.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Good Morning Caroline, your name reminds me of an old
Neil Diamond song. I too am a 'lurker', but I sometimes
make my presence known by irritating some of the 'regulars'. I've never had good luck with any of
the newfangled blender/food processor dohickies, but
what I would use, to do what you want, is an old fashioned
hand grinder, (the kind you clamp to your table and crank
by hand). If I didn't have one of those, then I would
just use a sharp knife, and do it like they did 400
years ago.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I use the KA w/ grinder attachment to make sweet pickle relish; piccallili is sorta' the same thing, I think. Have also used the old hand crank grinder before I got the KA attachment. Go with the KA!!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Like lbpod, I've used one of those old hand grinders and I like the consistency best, but it's far easier to use the KA, and faster.

The food processor I'm not so good with, I always turn vegetables to mush instead of into "chopped".


    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 10:52PM
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I want to thank each of you for graciously helping this lurker. I really appreciate it.

Here's the report card for my piccalilli. Taste "B"; Appearance "C-". Effort Required - Exhausting.

And that's graded with the back-in-the-day scale when a "C" was a shame and only 96-100 was an "A" - and grades were not given on a curve, either.

My first piccalilli attempt is not the piccalilli of my childhood memories, due to my own fault, but it's not too bad either. It's spicy and edible. It will be eaten because I try very hard to not waste food.

The recipe was to make nine half-pints. I wound up with 14. ???

The "Grinding/Chopping" of the veggies was the hard, and time-consuming, part of the process. The blogs make is sound sooooo easy! They lie! LOL

I was hoping for a "salsa" type chopped veggie mix. I think the pieces should be about 1/4" square, give or take. I'd rather them be bigger than smaller.

I spent more than two hours trying to get the KitchenAid grinder assembled and tested; I was about out of patience before I even began.

I've had the grinder attachment for several years and had never tested it. I had never even opened the box. Of course, when I did, the manual was missing. Thankfully, I found a PDF manual on line.

I could not remove the grinder "worm;" it was lodged in tight. Then the assembled unit would not fit into the front of the mixer body correctly. Even Wes, as strong as he is, was barely able to push it in. I'm calling KA later about the problem.

Hard-Learned Lesson #1 - Anytime I purchase an accessory or a new gadget; I will test it immediately. It's too late to return this part now, and even though it was 60% off, it was still a waste of money and storage space.

When I did get the KA grinder in place, with the "course" blade, it made juice from my green tomatoes. I can see it would have some uses, but not for piccalilli.

LindaC; TeresaNC7; CiLantro; and Annie1992 - Can you think of anything I could have been doing "wrong" with the KA grinder? Any tips you have would be priceless to me.

I moved on to the food processor. I tried "chopping" with the medium shredding disc first; the bits were still too fine and juicy. I then put in the steel blade and "pulsed" as several people suggested. That was the best result so far. A bit mushy, but better than the KA.

1bPod - Great minds think alike. I kept thinking "Knives, Caroline; knives!" We must be from the same generation, I've seen Mr. Diamond in concert back in teh day. Yes, he sang "my" song!" To me, of course; at least in my mind! LOL Have you seen the movie, Unconditional Love with Kathy Bates?

By now I was exhausted and just wanted to get "Day 1" prep finished. I would have pulled out the old, iron, hand cranked grinder - but I was just too tired to haul it up from the basement.

I do believe it's going to be the correct tool for this job. It's the one several other veteran canners, and my Mom, reccommended.

Hard-Learned Lesson #2 - I have too many kitchen toys. I would have spent less time and had far less stress if I had just pulled out the huge, sharp chef's knife and sliced-and-diced the veggies. We dinasaurs have to stick to what we know! LOL

Next summer I will make another batch of piccalilli. I'll use the iron hand grinder, attached to the kitchen table and arm powered...just like our Grandmas did. They knew their stuff!

I've made notes all over my recipe sheet. I'll plan it for a day when Wes will be home; maybe he'll enjoy "cranking" the grinder. LOL

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 5:01PM
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Caroline, I've only used the KA grinder for meat, not for vegetables, so I have no idea what you might do differently. I only know that food processor, even with the knife blade and "pulse" makes mushy over chopped vegetables. Their either too big or they're mush, I never get it right.

My favorite tool for making sweet relish is my old Salad Shooter with the grating blade, but you did not mention having one and few people do any more.

I had one of the old metal meat grinders but broke a blade and can't replace it, the grinder was old and cheap and I just haven't replaced it.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 8:00PM
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