If you're slightly nervous about entering the world of fermenting, then lacto-fermented (traditional) pickles are the place to start. There's little that can go wrong with them and it's as easy as chopping veg before submerging in brine.
This one's been flavoured with turmeric, garlic, bay leaf, black pepper and mustard seeds and the golden florets make for an excellent addition to any meal, especially salads.
Per medium jar
1/3 head organic cauliflower
1 garlic clove, trimmed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1tsp mustard seeds
5 black peppercorns
2.5tsp sea salt to 300ml spring water
You might need – an organic cabbage leaf or two
- Boil the water in a kettle.
- In a clean jug, mix the salt and boiled water together before setting aside to cool.
- Sterilise your glass jars and lids (recycled jars are perfect) by filling with boiling water or in an otherwise empty dishwasher.
- Break or cut the cauliflower florets into equal sized pieces. Pop them in the sterilized jar along with the rest of the ingredients, leaving about 1inch of room at the top – wedge them under the shoulder of the jar if you can.
- Once the salt has dissolved in the water and completely cooled, pour over the cauliflower until it’s completely submerged. If you were unable to wedge the cauliflower under the shoulder of the jar, roll up some cabbage leaves and wedge the cauliflower in the jar with those.
I like this ferment after about 3 weeks, that’s when it tastes best to me. The beauty of fermented vegetables is that their flavour changes the longer/shorter you leave them. After 2 weeks, taste every couple of days and refrigerate when it’s to your taste.
You will need to ‘burp’ (technical term!) the jar a few times during fermentation to release some of the built up gas – you will know when because the lid will become very tight and will not give at all if pressed. Over a sink or on kitchen paper, slightly unscrew the lid. It will fizz like champagne… once the bubbles have calmed a little, check that the vegetables are still submerged. If not, top up with some more brine (salt water) solution. Screw the lid back on tightly and continue to ferment.
NB: During fermentation, the gas created will force the cauliflower to the surface, which causes some pieces to sit partially above water level. If the vegetable isn’t submerged in the water, mould can develop. If this happens, throw away that piece and continue to monitor – there’s no need to throw away the whole batch.