I was on a mission. I had gone to 3 different grocery stores in search of ONE RIPE AVOCADO. All I could find were rock hard ones. I needed one for TONIGHT. I was starting to get hangry and made one last attempt at my least favorite grocery store chain ACME. Wouldn’t you know they had a plethora of soft avocados. If I had stopped there first I know that they wouldn’t have any worth eating but since I was on a wild goose chase they were able to meet my needs in an attempt to lure me into being a frequent customer. I doubt that will ever happen. Before I made it to the back of the produce section with the avocados I was walking past the weekly sales and goodies that were featured that week and saw something amazing. The BIGGEST Cauliflower I had ever seen in my life. Seriously the size of volleyballs. AND THEY WERE ON SALE!!!. 2 of these massive heads for $5.00. Unreal! All I could think to myself was “I could make so much pickled cauliflower with these puppies”. After a week of crazy canning a few weeks ago I thought I was done for the season but when I stumbled upon these beauties I knew that canning pot was calling my name. I am going to need to start stashing all my pickles underneath beds, in the back of my closet, in the linen closet. There is probably a reason why these veggies were so huge. Most likely GMO or something unnatural but I am going to look past that temporarily, still tastes like a cauliflower to me. From these 2 massive heads of cauliflower I was able to make 9 jars of Spicy Pickled Cauliflower, Mom’s Cauliflower Salad and a Giardiniera.
Mom started my addiction to pickled cauliflower last summer when she made a batch and shared a few jars with me. It’s yet another great recipe from Marisa McClellan from the blog Food in Jars. She does a great Youtube video in her kitchen and describes how easy it is to make these pickles. They are lemony/spicy/full of garlic and vinegary. I had 6 jars in my pantry and knew I needed more due to the fact I eat an entire jar in one sitting. Good thing Nate hates cauliflower and doesn’t really care for pickled things. YESSSS!!!!
Spicy Pickled Cauliflower
Makes 3-pint jars
From Marissa McClellan
1 ½ C Vinegar
1 ½ C. Water
2 Tbsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Cayenne
Bring this brine to a boil.
In hot jars pop in a slice of lemon and stuff jar with raw cauliflower. Really push it down/cram it in. Add the following to each jar:
½ tsp. Peppercorns
½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ tsp. Mustard Seeds
1 Clove Garlic (I smash it a bit)
Add hot brine to jars and top with a slice of lemon. Process jar in hot water bath for 5 minutes.
After making 9 jars of pickles I decided to make another one of my favorite recipes from Mom. It’s a garlicky cauliflower salad. It’s salty with a lot of garlic and lemon juice with briny capers and green olives. MMmmmm!
Mom’s Cauliflower Salad
1½ lbs. Cauliflower cut up into florets
1 C. Green Olves
Capers to taste
1 Clove Garlic minced
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
½ C. EVOO
½ tsp. Salt & Pepper
1. Blanch cauliflower for 3 minutes in boiling water, drain.
2. Toss cauliflower with green olives and capers
3. Mash salt and garlic to make a paste
4. Mix paste with lemon juice. Strain (I don’t usually do this part) and toss with cauliflower.
I still had a bit of cauliflower to use so I decided to make refrigerator giardiniera. I just found a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that I was dying to try out. I will eat just about anything pickled.
From America’s Test Kitchen
Makes four 1-pint jars
½ Head of Cauliflower (about 1 lb.) Cut into florets
3 Carrots peeled and cut on bias into ½ inch pieces
3 Celery ribs cut into ½ inch pieces
1 Bell Pepper, Stemmed, Seeded, Cut into ½ inch strips
2 Serrano Chiles, sliced thin
4 Cloves Garlic sliced thin
1 C. Dill, stems and leaves chopped coarse
2 ¾ C. White Wine Vinegar
2 ¼ C Water
¼ C. Sugar
¼ C. Kosher Salt
In a large bowl mix together cauliflower, carrots, celery, bell pepper, chilies and garlic. Pack into jars. Place dill into a cheesecloth bundle and tie up with twine. Combine Dill bundle, vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover, remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Remove dill bundle and bring brine back to a boil. Pour over veggies. Let cool before placing in fridge. Giardiniera needs to marinate for 1 week. Will keep for up to 1 month in fridge.
** I strayed from the recipe slightly. I used plain white vinegar because it’s all I had on hand. Giant was all out of Serrano chilies and so I used jalapenos for this batch. I also forgot to add the dill but threw in some dried dill into the brine. I’m sure my Giardiniera will taste a bit different but I think it will still satisfy my vinegar cravings.