I doubled my mom’s recipe and put in a large saucepan: two cups of water, two cups of sugar and two cups of natural vinegar with 1-2 tbsp of coarse pickling salt. I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes until everything dissolved.
In another pot I bought some water to a boil and added half a head of chopped cauliflower and a handful of local pearl onions that had the bottom trimmed off it. I blanched them for five minutes and then drained them. I removed the top layer of skin from the pearl onions and then put everything in a tall jar with about three cloves of garlic. Then I poured in the hot brine.
I had these gorgeous local beets that I had roasted for this month’s cooking club challenge at Food Network Canada that I did not want to go to waste. My mom said she does not pickle them with garlic but the does throw in caraway seeds which is exactly what I did. I had just enough brine to cover the beets. I let both jars cool off and then marinade in the fridge. Remember, these are not officially preserved jars so they must be refrigerated and eaten in the next little while.
I was worried that five minutes of blanching would not be long enough to soften the vegetables but thanks to the hot brine the cauliflower and the pearl onions continued to slowly cook and ended up the perfect consistency. Thanks to the natural vinegar (I used President’s Choice) these were actually very subtle in flavour and quite wonderful. It made the perfect summer salad.
Bright and beautiful, flavoured lightly by the caraway seeds, I loved these beets. Once again, by using natural vinegar the harsh abrasive flavour I usually associate with pickled beets was muted and I could enjoy their rich earthiness completely. My only regret? I wish I had made more!
The first major step to getting over my fear of pickling, preserving… is now over. I am so glad because the payoff is huge! I absolutely loved these pickled vegetable and can not wait to make more.
I loved all the pickle stories you shared yesterday! Thank you for that, I really enjoyed them. So my pickling friends, what is the weirdest thing you have had that has been pickled?
Want to learn more about cauliflower? Check out this article by Helen Nichols.