Purple Cauliflower Pickles

I believe I have mentioned Michael Ruhlman's book, Ratio a number of times with regard to pickle making. Generally speaking,  it is quite a useful little cooking manual for some very basic preparations, just one of which is an extremely easy method for naturally fermented pickles. I keep trying various vegetables, of which the celery root was not successful.  Don't bother pickling that one.  However, I thought these purple cauliflower pickles deserving of their very own post.

Sometimes a vegetable will just call to me from the bins at our market.  Broccoli Romanesco was like that.  So beautiful and unusual, a natural approximation of a fractal.  The purple cauliflower stopped me in my tracks as well.

I decided to pickle the boy, combined with some wedges of daikon (large Japanese type of white radish).  In common with beets, this cauliflower will eventually turn the whole batch a brilliant burgundy color.  The good news is, that's not a dye of any sort. Purple cauliflower gets its beautiful hue, which can vary in depth, from the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also found in red cabbage and red wine.  It has the same texture, and firmness as the white variety, with a mild, slightly sweet and nutty taste.

Here it is starting out, with the air-lock on the kitchen counter.

And, here you see the finished product, over a week later.  Just in time for the Holidays? 

I used my new air-lock for doing the fermenting, which makes the whole procedure a cinch.  The kits usually include, besides an air-lock for allowing gas to escape, a glass weight for holding the vegetables below the surface of your liquid brine.  Heartily recommended.  And, this recipe is fabulous, in my humble opinion.
                                         Naturally Pickled Vegetables
   Adapted from the recipe by Michael Ruhlman in Ratio

Basic brine:
20 oz. water (2 1/2 cups)  double the amounts for a large jar
1 oz. kosher salt (about 2 tablespoons Morton's)
1 teas. mustard seeds
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns,  bruised
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
dash red pepper flakes if desired
fresh dill if available
1/2 teas. cumin seeds (optional)  I used with the cauliflower

Suggested Vegetables:
small cucumbers
carrots in 1/4 inch slices or in sticks
daikon, in thick slices, or wedges
onion chunks
turnips, cut up
cauliflower, in florets
cabbage, shredded fine

To make and chill the basic brine, combine half the water and all the salt in a pan over high heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and add the remaining half of the water by weight in the form of ice cubes.  Stir until dissolved.  Add all the vegetables you're going to use to a quart or larger pickle jar, as well as the spices, then pour over the cooled brine.  Top with a weight and air-lock for escaping gas, (weight them down so that they are completely submerged) or cover with plastic wrap, then leave at room temperature (75F or lower) for about a week.  Here in Hawaii 4-5 days is about right.  Though, some folks recommend a longer room temperature fermenting period.

In the old method I would place the jar on a plate to catch any bubbling over.  You can top up with more brine then.  When you deem your pickles sour enough you might top off with a few tablespoons white vinegar before refrigerating (I do that just to discourage any potential bad bacteria on the surface).  For a DIY fermenting kit, try this link.

Tried them for lunch with my tabbouleh salad, which actually merits a post of its own.  Totally awesome! And, perfect for our Thanksgiving feast appetizer plate.  I am so happy I got that pickle kit, which makes an easy recipe even easier.  Will send this along to the link-up at Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking.


Beth F said...

How pretty! I haven't made pickles in years, but now I want to!

Carole said...

I'm intrigued - does the purple variety taste the same? I've seen a bright green one - will need to give it a try. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

jama said...

I've never tried to pickle anything before -- your purple cauliflower pickle is gorgeous and has my mouth watering. The tabbouleh salad looks yummy too. :)

Claudia said...

The purple and orange ones taste very like the "normal" kind, only slightly different, sweet, nutty nuances:)

bermudaonion said...

I bet that's delicious!

Laurie C said...

This post makes me crave the sweet pickled cauliflower that I used to love out of the mixed pickle jar. We never buy it anymore. I don't think I want to start pickling myself, but I can see how these would be so much tastier than the jarred ones! And prettier!

Tina said...

I've never seen a purple cauliflower, it's beautiful!