We still had half a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator looking for something to do, so we thought: why not pickled cauliflower? One of us likes it. It’s super easy. It even looks pretty. Plus, we just got another bunch of dill from the CSA this week. It seemed a natural fit.
While we figured that it wouldn’t be difficult to make these, the thing we really didn’t know was the proportion of vinegar to water in the brine and how much salt, so we looked and we found this recipe from Ted Allen and went with that. We did modify it for our tastes, of course. After all, isn’t that the reason we make things from scratch?
Oh, and at first we were thinking of calling these “Irish Pickles” since they’re the colors of the Irish flag, but we didn’t want to lead anyone astray.
The main thing to remember here is to keep the ratios of vinegar, salt, and water the same. Use plain old white distilled vinegar, as it has a specific acidity (sourness). Feel free to mix up the spices. Add or don’t add dill. Add garlic, if you wish, or thinly sliced onion. Add some cucumbers, or not. Maybe a whole pepper. These are your pickles, not ours. Oh, if you want a green color, add about 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric (we didn’t).
Procedure in detail:
Clean jars. Thoroughly wash two pint jars (or one quart jar). Rinse in very hot water. We won’t be canning these, so the jars don’t need to be sterile, but they do need to be super-clean.
Divide spices. Measure out the celery seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, and red pepper flake, dividing them evenly between the two pint jars.
Pack. Now use your artistic side to pack in the vegetables, first some carrot, then a bit of cauliflower, a sprig of dill, and so on. Try to make it look like a nice arrangement, not just a clump of dill, followed by carrots, and so on. It might as well look nice, right?
Boil brine. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a rolling boil, stirring to ensure the salt dissolves. You don’t want little salt granules in your pickles.
Brine and cover. Pour the boiling hot brine over the vegetables until they’re covered. Use the handle of a spoon or a knife to work out any air pockets. You’ll probably have more brine than you need, so just discard the extra. Now put a lid on the jars and let them cool.
Refrigerate. These are not shelf-stable pickles. They must be kept in the refrigerator once they’re cool. Try them out after a week or so and let us know how you like them.
Since we didn’t try them yet, we won’t rate them now, but we will say that if they’re halfway good, it’s well worth the minimal effort required. After all, the hardest part was peeling a carrot and cutting it into sticks. Whoop-de-doo.