Lemony Pickled Cauliflower

I knew that when I read this in Marisa McClellan’s new book, Food in Jars, that I just had to try it. The only bad part is that I have to leave the jars alone for at least a week so the flavors blend. It’s hard to wait! I doubled the amounts from her book, then needed a bit more brine, so this recipe reflects what I actually used today. Made 9 pints. 

  • 5 c white vinegar, 5% acidity
  • 3 3/4 c filtered water
  • 7 1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, about 4 lb, cut into small florets


  • 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns

Prepare the boiling water bath. Prepare 9 pint jars (use the kind with the shoulders, i.e., not the wide-mouth pints.)

Combine vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring this brine to a boil. Meanwhile, prep the jars: put a slice of lemon in the bottom of each jar, and then add to each jar both types of seeds, and both types of pepper.

Pack the florets into the jars tightly, but do not squish or mash them. When the brine has boiled, slowly pour hot brine over the florets, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Dislodge any bubbles, then check fill level. Add brine if needed. Top each jar with a slice of lemon, tucking it under the neck of the jar.

Wipe rims, and apply lids and rings. To seal jars, process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Note that as with all pickles, if you need more brine, you MUST use the same proportions of vinegar, water, and salt; and you MUST bring it to a boil before pouring into the jars. I’ve decided that it’s much better to make too much brine than not enough.