I’m just hooked into pickling right from that day I learned how to. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it allows for some really creative freedom in the kitchen. You can pickle pretty much any firm-structured vegetable or fruit, and put in any flavor combination you like.
Even better, pickling is a preservation technique meaning you can work on anything seasonally available at a time and have it stored for you to enjoy much longer after such produce goes out of the market.
We’re working on cauliflower for now. Always start the pickling process by getting everything clean and sanitized – produce and canisters. Skipping to do so would risk the introduction of bacteria into your food which could be really dangerous given the long intended shelf-life of pickles.
Trim your head of cauliflower into florets and give them a couple of thorough washes. It would also be good sanitary practice to soak them for a few minutes in a bowl of salt water to extract any impurities.
Now for the flavor. Let’s make a quick pickling solution of water, salt, sugar, and vinegar then flavor it with some turmeric, peppercorns, and dill.
Here’s where everything is up for modification. Go with different types of vinegar. Throw in a play of spices and herbs. Sweeten it up. Make it spicy. Give it a tint of color. Anything goes here.
Go with different types of vinegar. White wine, red wine, balsamic, rice wine, coconut. . . even lemons or limes will do. You just need something acidic as a preservative.
Throw in a play of spices and herbs. Anise, saffron, tarragon. . . anything aromatic. You really can’t go wrong.
Sweeten it up. Sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, raisins. . . use as much or as little as you want to sweeten your pickle.
Make it spicy. Any type of chili, peppercorns, wasabi, togarashi. . . any of your personal favorites.
Give it a tint of color. Beets, spinach leaves, turmeric. . . a vibrant pickle is definitely much more appetizing.
Pack the cauliflower into those canning jars. You can work with any air-tight canister you have. The presence of oxygen would again give those bacteria a chance to thrive.
Pour the pickling solution into the jars, all over those cauliflower florets leaving just about a quarter of an inch headroom.
Give those bottle necks a final wipe and screw the lids on finger-tight. Air will expand inside those bottles as they heat up. Leaving them some room to escape would keep your bottles from breaking.
Get them fully submerged in a cooking bath pre-heated to 140F and leave them there for about 3 hours with your favorite immersion circulator. Here’s my top pick for 2017.
When the time’s up, lift them out of the bath and leave them to totally cool to room temperature.
My favorite part, these veggies are just so conveniently ready to eat out of the refrigerator.