• 5 cups water
  • 5 cups white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • dill seed
  • dill weed
  • mustard seed
  • celery seed
  • black peppercorns
  • red pepper flakes
  • garlic cloves
  • bay leaves
  • turmeric (for color, optional)

Quote of the day from my Grandma (age 95) “Are you still canning?  When are you going to be done?” She was in disbelief when I called her asking for a pickled cauliflower recipe.  Well, I surprised myself too.  I thought I was done for the season.  My canning pot was stowed away in the basement as well as my jars.  But we’ve been eating all the things I made over the summer and we love anything pickled (yellow summer squash being our favorite).  We’ll finish off an entire pint in one meal.  So I began to crave the idea of pickling cauliflower.  I am loving the creative process which is canning and the beautiful art that is the finished product sitting on my shelf.  I couldn’t get this off of my mind.

So I set out to find a recipe.  Grandma did not have one, my old Ball Blue Book didn’t have one, but the internet came through for me, including a few Facebook pages and friends.  But in the end, I re-created all of their recipes and made my own to fit my tastes.  So if you are like me and you prefer savory, salty, dill pickles, without sugar, here’s one for you!

side by side

I made this in two batches.  You can make half of my recipe for a smaller batch.  But I found the world’s largest cauliflower plus I harvested all of my carrots and some were tiny, so I added them to this project.  In the end, this made 10 pints and 1 quart and there was still some leftover, but I was out of lids and vinegar.

BIG cauliflower

BIG cauliflower

My garden carrots

My garden carrots

Okay, combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Add turmeric for color if desired.  I added turmeric to my batch made with apple cider vinegar.  To my white vinegar bath, I did not add turmeric.

Get all of your jars, lids, and rings sanitized.  I sanitize them by putting in my canner and bringing it all to a boil.  I then turn it down to low and keep it hot until I’m ready to use them.  When I pull them out to fill them, I turn the pot back up to high, to get it boiling again.

Get out all of the equipment you plan to use (tongs, funnel, washcloth, ladle, etc.)

I never measure my spices, I just get them all out, line them up and open them.  Peel garlic cloves, prepare enough for one or two per jar.

The spices I used.

The spices I used.

Wash and cut up cauliflower and carrots.  I kept most of the smaller stems on the cauliflower, but composted the large stocky middle stem.

Once everything is prepared you are ready to fill your jars.

Set everything out and get ready, so filling goes quickly.

Set everything out and get ready, so filling goes quickly.

Fill jars with spices and garlic first.

Fill jars with spices and garlic first.

Place the hot jars on a towel and fill them quickly with all of the spices.  I put a pinch or sprinkle of each spice/seed into each jar.  I’m generous with the dill seed and dill weed and give about 2 shakes of everything else.  Sorry I can’t be more precise, but it really doesn’t matter much.  Make this your way, to taste.  The important part is the right ratio of vinegar/water/salt (for safe canning).  Keep your hot water bath hot and ready.

Pack the jars full of vegetables.  I gently pound them on the counter to settle the contents, then add more.  I pushed these cauliflower chunks down hard, to squeeze in as much as possible.  Then pour brine into jars and fill, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Place hot lids on, and screw hot rings on until just tightened by your fingertips (not too tight).  Place in hot water bath, bring up to a boil (takes a few minutes to get hot again) and process pints for 15 minutes, quarts for 20.

Remove from hot water, using jar lifter, place on towel on counter, not too close to one another, and allow to cool before moving.  Remove rings and check seals.  Label and store on shelf for 3 weeks before opening, to allow time for the flavors to marry.  These will last for a year or more unopened. Yum!

side by side

Left: white vinegar brine, Right: apple cider vinegar and turmeric brine.

Finished product.

Finished product.

pickles done