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Try Making Pickled Cauliflower with the Lacto-Fermentation Method

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When cauliflower is in season, consider preserving some using the lacto-fermentation method. This fermented cauliflower recipe preserves the florets as tasty and crunchy little tidbits packed with probiotics.

fermented cauliflower recipe in glass jars with fermenting locks

Fermentools sent me a kit to experiment with. I’ve found them to be an excellent and easy way for me to start fermenting successfully. This is a sponsored post.

My first attempt at lacto-fermentation?

It didn’t go so well. First, the whole idea of letting fresh food sit out on the counter until it ferments goes against everything I’ve ever been taught about cooking. But beyond that, I was trying to cobble together a system that left me with a moldy, uh, buggy mess that ended up in the compost.

It’s a simple thing, but it’s essential that the food you’re trying to ferment remain completely submerged under the brine. Mine did not. Thus, the big ole fat fail.

That was two or three years ago.

While I continued to make my kimchi, I simply hadn’t delved into any more attempts at lacto-fermentation. Until now. Let me tell you: The little glass weights that come as part of every Fermentools kit? They are brilliant. They fit perfectly into a wide mouth jar to hold down the ingredients while they transform into lacto-fermented goodness. No more finagling some sort of weight that might (maybe? kind of?) work!

Click here to learn more about Fermentools!

cauliflower in a metal strainer

Related: Spicy Fermented Sugar Snap Peas

Fermented cauliflower recipe

You know those jars of pickled vegetables that include carrots and celery and pickled cauliflower?

The carrots and celery are completely taking up prime real estate that could otherwise be used by cauliflower. So when I decided to try this whole lacto-fermentation business again, I decided to start with my favorite: Cauliflower. Surely, this lacto-fermented cauliflower recipe would result in crispy cauliflower just as tasty as the pickled version?

It took me 25 minutes, start to finish, to assemble three pints of cauliflower — and that included tracking down a couple of wide mouth jars (still packed from our move) and washing them, unpacking my kit from Fermentools, plus a quick jaunt to the garden to grab a couple of peppers. Someone more organized than me could probably have done it in ten.

Whether you grow your own cauliflower or pick it up from the produce section, you’ll start by cutting the cauliflower into manageable pieces and giving them a good rinse. Then it’s a simple matter of packing the fresh cauliflower into jars and covering it with a salt brine. Really, this fermented cauliflower recipe couldn’t be easier!

Municipal tap water contains chlorine, which can inhibit fermentation, so be sure to use filtered or distilled water instead. A Berkey water filter provides clean water that’s free of toxins. Great for making your drinking water free of chemicals, but perfect for fermentation, too.

Related: Pickled Nasturtium Seeds aka Poor Man’s Capers

lacto-fermented cauliflower

★ Did you make this lacto-fermented cauliflower recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

Lacto-Fermented Cauliflower Recipe

Lacto-Fermented Cauliflower Recipe

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

These crunchy cauliflower bites are excellent for snacking and pack a probiotic punch. Serve this fermented cauliflower on a crudite platter, alongside a sandwich, or straight out of the jar.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix water and salt to make brine; set aside. Place one pepper and one garlic clove in each jar. 
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces and divide between jars, then divide brine over cauliflower to cover. (If you don’t have quite enough brine, you can add water to top off each jar.)
  3. Place glass weight on top of the cauliflower to assure it’s submerged. Set Fermentools rubber ring and lid in place, screw on a band (from your stash), then place the airlock into the hole.
  4. Set in an out of the way place to ferment for 3-5 days. (There’s potential for these to overflow a little, so set fermenting jars in a pan of some sort to catch drips.) 
  5. Test the cauliflower after a few days; if you’re happy with the level of fermentation, replace the Fermentools lid with a regular canning lid and refrigerate. Not quite ready? Leave out on the counter for another day or two. Be sure to use a clean utensil to remove cauliflower — using fingers could contaminate the brine.

Notes

Water: Municipal tap water contains chlorine, which can inhibit fermentation. Use spring or distilled water instead.

Salt: Salt with iodine or anti-caking agents can inhibit fermentation.

Brine: Four cups of brine is enough for approximately three pint jars of cauliflower.

It's critical that the veggies remain completely submerged in the brine. The Fermentools weights are great for this!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Unsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 942mgCarbohydrates: 2gSugar: 1g

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

12 comments… add one
  • Sariya Mar 10, 2018, 8:32 pm

    This sounds like a great experiment! I will try it! Thank you for the idea!

  • DS May 18, 2018, 11:36 am

    Your cauliflower looks amazing, my fav vegetable.
    One of my jars of fermented vegetables, distilled water, sea salt, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, and carrots has a white layer and ring around the top. I started them 1 month ago. They stay submerged. Any idea what the white ring is?

    • Kris Bordessa May 18, 2018, 12:45 pm

      Ferments can get a thin layer of white yeast on top of them. Scrape it off and give the jar a sniff; if it doesn’t smell objectionable, it’s likely fine. If the top gets pink, green, or black, you’ll want to toss it.

  • Kathy Altergott Jun 15, 2018, 12:43 pm

    I just made pickles using this method and they were ready in two days, I live in AZ and it is warmer here. I am going to try this next since I am pretty sure the pickles won’t last long. They are very good! Someone suggested adding a teaspoon of vinegar to prevent the yeast growth. I did it and it worked do you know if this can be done with the cauliflower?

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 15, 2018, 7:44 pm

      I’ve never added vinegar to a ferment, and the yeast is a byproduct of fermentation. Not sure I’d want to eliminate it.

  • Pat Oct 4, 2018, 9:39 am

    Can this be processed in a water bath canner? I would like to make a few jars for myself and for gifts.

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 17, 2018, 9:37 am

      This is not a canning recipe, no. And heating the fermented cauliflower will kill the good bacteria from fermenting. Look for a recipe that uses vinegar, one that’s specifically meant for canning purposes.

  • linda flater Dec 27, 2018, 11:40 am

    i took broccolli and cauliflower red onion and whole garlic salted heavily and packed in jar,set i aside for few days i didn’t realize i needed water also so when i got back to it i added water, do you think its safe this my first try and it stinks

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 27, 2018, 4:08 pm

      If it has an offensive odor, you probably need to start over. That’s a good indicator that a ferment has gone bad.

  • Russell Dec 6, 2019, 4:15 pm

    Thanks for posting this recipe.
    I’ve been using Lacto-Fermentation for pickles for years, and this years season is done….as are my pickles!
    I needed ‘something’ to fill the void and wanted to make sure Cauliflower didn’t need anything special. I found your recipe.
    The amount of salt you use is less by about 1/4 but it turned out perfect.
    I added some thin sliced carrots and a bag of pearl onions (sliced in half) just to add a bit of variety to the mix.
    One other change? I didn’t want to cut a hole in my gallon jar lid for a bubbler, so I use a baggie filled with brine, laid on top of the mix while it does it’s thing. It fits in the jar mouth and keeps everything submerged ….but still lets the bubbles pass. Give it a try!
    It’s nice to know I have something to hold me over after everyone gobbles up my pickles.
    Thanks again!

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 9, 2019, 3:37 pm

      You’re so welcome!

    • Charles Mar 4, 2020, 7:10 am

      I assume the baggie is plastic. If you are comfortable with it’s presence in your fermenting process, that’s your choice.

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