Cauliflower is one of my fave veggies – ridiculously versatile and great in many forms. You’ve got your cauliflower soups, cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower tots, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower BREAD (you read that right – my friend made grilled cheese on cauliflower bread for our recent week’s book club gathering and I’d eat it again), roasted cauliflower, the list goes on…including, what else, pickled cauliflower.
For this pickle recipe inspiration, I went back to my trusty Joy of Pickling book with two different variations – dill pickled cauliflower (partial inspiration here) and pepper pickled cauliflower. All good, all a hit at the Super Bowl party I recently attended with copious jars of pickled items. While some party people declared themselves Team Radish or Team Carrot, I also found a few Team Cauliflowers in the midst and I think these are one of my favorite pickled items to date – 100% a repeat recipe. They go grrrrreat on a cheese platter or thrown in a salad – a way more exciting addition than plain old raw cauliflower that I frequently use. Or, as seems to be a theme here, these are yet another fabulous item to include in Bloody Mary’s.
A few notes on this recipe:
- Next time I would probably try a variation with garlic cloves just for some additional flavor.
- This makes a lot of pickled cauliflower…you could also easily do with one head. However, I often double or triple recipes because I feel like once you find something you like and are making the effort to do all that prepping and pickling, why not just make a huge batch? Plus, pickles make great gifts.
- If you follow this recipe using the whole spices, BEWARE. Great flavor but particularly with cauliflower, those little guys get caught in nooks and crannies and if you accidentally bite into a whole spice it can be WAY HARSH. Consider yourself warned.
Pickled Cauliflower Recipe
Makes 3 1/2 quarts (I broke the total out into 2 quart and 3 pint jars)
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- 5 cups water
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 3 tsp coriander seeds (1/2 tsp per jar)
- 4 tsp mustard seeds (1/2 tsp per jar)
- 2 heads cauliflower
- Fresh dill and/OR
- 1 bell pepper and hot pepper(s) of choice*
*Do any mixture you want here – it’s really the vinegar and spices that give the most flavor in this recipe, the dill and peppers are just for a little flavor boost and to jazz up the overall aesthetic.
- Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil until salt is fully dissolved. Set aside to cool
- Cut up cauliflower into small florets; at this point you could blanche the cauliflower for a slightly softer texture…I didn’t because I’m lazy. I quite liked how the texture post-pickling turned out, but more on that later.
- Slice and dice peppers if using
- Fill jars with cauliflower florets and any combination of peppers and dill sprigs (about 3 sprigs per jar)…I did a couple dill only, a couple pepper only a hybrid. All good.
- After jars are packed with produce, add 1/2 tsp each of coriander and mustard seeds.
- Top each mixture with the brine and let cool.
- Recommended use: Joy of Pickling tells me that a similar version of this recipe should sit for 3 weeks before eating but I tried within 3 days and they were just fine. Particularly good in, as aforementioned, a Bloody Mary or with a nice hard cheese.