Mediterranean Cauliflower Pickles, a lacto fermented food

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More and more I am trying fermented foods. I have started with pickles and condiments because everyone eats these foods and the recipes or techniques are easier for smaller families, like ours. I have really enjoyed the fermented Apple Walnut Chutney, enjoying some in my sandwiches during lunch at work. It is a perfect condiment to keep in regular rotation.

Mediterranean Cauliflower Pickles
Mediterranean Cauliflower Pickles

We don't eat a lot of cauliflower, nor do I have a lot of recipes for it. Yet they had beautiful heads of organic cauliflower at the co-op the other day, and one found it's way into my basket. Since I had remembered cauliflower pickles from many years ago, it seemed like a good time to try making them in my own kitchen.

It is important to note, that you cannot do fermentation wrong. It is a process you must let happen and outside of keeping your fermenting food clean, in the correct temperature and away from direct sunlight, you are but an observer. The fermentation process will happen.

Mediterranean Cauliflower Pickles
adapted from: fermented food lab
makes about 1 quart

1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets and/or slices, see below
4 bay leaves
1 lemon, sliced, then slices cut in half
2 cloves of garlic, cut up coarsely
1 t oregano
1 t thyme
1 t basil
1 t peppercorns
1/4 t dried red pepper flakes if desired

4 c filtered water (chlorine-free water is needed*)
2 t sea salt

Layer the cauliflower bay leaves and lemon slices into a large jar. Top with the garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, and peppercorns.

Dissolve the salt in the water, pour over the cauliflower. Keep the contents under the brine, you can do this (carefully since everything is glass) with a stemmed wine glass and a few dried beans or rice for ballast.

Store lightly covered, away from direct sunlight.

Stir or lightly "plunge" the brine daily to prevent mold from forming, for 5-7 days. Taste at the end of 7 days, if the taste is sour enough, store in the refrigerator and enjoy. If you wish a more sour taste, let stand for another day or two, then refrigerate. Cauliflower pickles will keep for many months in the refrigerator.

Points to keep in mind:
the brine will become cloudy,
you will notice a sour smell,
the colors of the vegetables will become duller

* If your water is chlorinated, draw off 4 cups of water the day before and let the chlorine dissipate before using.

Note:  Cauliflower is very dense, it will pickle better if broken/sliced into smaller pieces. When I tasted my batch after 30 days, the centers were not yet pickled. Fermenting foods is an ongoing learning process!

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  1. My husband used to do a lot of pickling but we've gotten away from that lately. Now I'm feeling inspired (well, inspired to try to inspire him!). Sorry I was so late getting here this week -- we were off camping and had almost no internet connection.

  2. Congratulations!
    Your recipe was featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great week!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. Your Cauliflower Pickles look amazing! Fermented foods are so good for us and so tasty too. This recipe reminded me of my late Auntie who always used to make the most amazing pickles with cauliflower. Thank you for sharing with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop, Melynda.


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