If there’s anything possible to love more than the look and color of this pickle, it’s the taste! I really love the balance of the flavors. The beautiful color is derived from the addition of beets, which are delicious pickled too.
To maintain its very subtle sweetness, I made this as a vinegar pickle with a touch of sugar. The lacto-fermented version is equally delicious and beautiful but won’t hold onto that sweetness on account of the fermentation process.
For fermenting: If you choose to prepare this as a lacto-ferment, just replace the 2.25 cups of vinegar with water and add an additional 1 TBSP (or 20g) of additive-free salt. You will also not take the step of boiling the brine since hot water will kill the lactobacillus bacteria on the cauliflower which is needed for fermentation. Just place the spices in the jar first, followed by the veggies, with the largest pieces on top. Pour the salt brine over the veggies, add a ferment weight and apply an airlock lid, and allow 2-3 weeks of fermentation at room temperature before refrigerating and consuming. It is also advised to use organic produce for fermentation.
This recipe is for one medium/large head of cauliflower (2 – 2.5 lbs. before trimming)
You will need:
- Half gallon jar
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Medium saucepan & stirring spoon
- Mortar & pestle
- Canning funnel
- Fermentation weight (helpful even for vinegar pickling)
- 1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves removed, florets cut into bite-sized pieces (after removing thick stem, net weight closer to 1.5 lbs.)
- 1 medium beet, cut into 1/2″ cubes or batons (~100g)
- 2.25 cups filtered or distilled water
- 1.25 cups apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 TBSP black peppercorns
- 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds (can replace with yellow)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 6-8 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1.5 TBSP pickling salt (add an additional 1 TBSP if fermenting)
- 1 TBSP sugar
- Optional: several sprigs thyme, tarragon, or dill
1.) Wash the jar with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Gently rinse the cauliflower and beet and prepare all the ingredients and measure all seasonings, as described. Peeling the beet is optional.
2.) Place all the hard spices in empty saucepan and toast over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic. Transfer to mortar and coarsely crush with pestle.
3.) Return the hard spices plus the bay leaves to the saucepan and add the water, vinegars, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring periodically.
4.) Meanwhile, using the canning funnel, add the garlic, beet, and then cauliflower to the jar. Add the fermentation weight to the top.
5.) Once boiling, remove the brine from heat and allow to cool for two minutes. Then, gently pour it into the jar, along with all the spices. The brine should reach to at least within 2″ of the top of the jar.
6.) Seal the jar tightly with lid and allow to cool for an hour. Then, transfer to the refrigerator. Allow to sit for several days to a week, to allow the color and flavor to fully permeate the cauliflower.