DJ Evans puts firm in a pickle after calling for return of Pan Yan
Now the Pan Yan pickle is to return to supermarket shelves, courtesy of a campaign by Chris Evans, the radio presenter.
The only flaw is that the original recipe, which delighted diners for decades, was lost in a fire, prompting Premier Foods, which owns the licence, to launch a campaign asking members of the public to scour their cupboards for remaining jars.
Food scientists will then be able to analyse and synthesise its distinctive spicy, apple taste.
Pan Yan pickle was a British favourite at the start of the 20th century. However, sales faded and it was discontinued in 2002, when the Branston label was sold to rival Premier Foods.
Premier is now looking to reintroduce the pickle after a call for a revival was made by Evans on his Radio Two show, which led to thousands of listeners contacting the firm demanding its return. However, there is one small problem. Premier also bought the original recipe from Nestle, which owned the brand before Branston, and kept it at the Branston Pickle factory in Bury St Edmunds, which burned to the ground in 2004.
As it has no copy of the recipe, nor any remaining jars of the pickle to analyse and reproduce, the company is now asking for anyone who may still have a jar to contact it so they can investigate the possibility of a return for the brand.
Pan Yan is a spicy, apple-based pickle which was first made by the Scottish-owned firm Maconochies in 1907 at their factory in London's Isle of Dogs.
At that time, new and exotic spices and fruits were being brought into the area through the famous West India Docks in the East End, leading to a new age of food after Victorian austerity. Maconochies asked its London workers and their families for a name which summed up its new pickle, which had a taste of the Orient, and Pan Yan was chosen.
Jamie Crofts, pickles manager for Premier, said: "
If we get hold of the label, I am sure our expert pickle-makers will be able to reproduce the original taste."
An internet search reveals Pan Yan pickle still has fans who will welcome its return. Andy Sentinella, a contributor to one website, wrote: "I've been looking for ages for Pan Yan pickle. What happened to it? It used to fly of the shelves in Sainsbury's. "
WEB RECIPE FOR PAN YAN
1lb bramley apples, peeled, cored and minced
1lb dates, minced
1lb sultanas, minced
3/4 pint malt vinegar
1lb soft brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons Madras curry powder
Salt and pepper
Stir the ingredients together and leave for 24 hours. Add more curry powder to taste.
Put in clean and sterilised jars and store in a cool dry place; it tastes better after two weeks. Fills about seven 8oz jars.