Pickled Cauliflower


Kelly Rossiter Photo
Kelly Rossiter

Difficulty Level: Easy

Earlier in the season I made pickled asparagus and my son gave me a hand. He's not crazy about asparagus, but I gave him a jar to take home in any case. He mentioned the other day how much he enjoyed them, and I laughed, suggesting that perhaps he had missed the point of canning and preserving. Why eat the preserves now when you can still get fabulous fruits and vegetables? Wait until January or February when you are dying for a taste of asparagus. He just shrugged and said, "but they were there".

Well, he'd have some serious trouble working through the stash of preserving that I have these days. My shelves are filling up with beautiful looking jams, jellies and pickles, and we'll have plenty of reminders of summer throughout the cold winter.

I'll be interested to taste this pickled cauliflower. There is a lot of sugar in the recipe, so I think they will have a slightly sweet, spicy flavour. My cauliflower stayed a beautiful white, but apparently it can discolour as a reaction to the vinegar solution. They are still perfectly safe to eat.


2 1/2 lbs cauliflower, broken in florets, about 12 cups
1 quart white wine vinegar, with 5% acidity
2 cups sugar
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1/4 cup pickling salt to every gallon of water in the pot. Drop in the cauliflower florets and boil them for about 3 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a medium nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, onions, and hot red pepper flake. Swirl until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Bring 6 pint jars and their bands to a boil in a large 3 pot of water fitted with a rack.
  4. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs. When the jars are dry but still hot, gently pack the cauliflower and the onions into the jars. Don't shove, as you want the florets to retain their shape. Cover the vegetables with the vinegar solution, making sure the hot pepper flakes are distributed well throughout. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 inch of headspace above the vinegar solution. Wipe the rims, set on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight. Process the cauliflower for 10 minutes.
  5. Allow the cauliflower to season in a cool dark place for 4 weeks before suing it, after which you can keep for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.

    From Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone

This recipe appears in: Snacks
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