Our Family Favourite Ferment: Cauliflower

Our Family Favourite Ferment: Cauliflower
I realize that I have a proportionately high number of recipes with cauliflower, like Garlicky Cauliflower Medallions and Bibimbap. In those recipes cauliflower is a substitute (flour, rice); in this recipe, cauliflower shines as itself.

Our Family Favourite Ferment: Cauliflower

My kids aren’t huge fans of fermented food with a strong taste – they turned up their noses at milk kefir (when we drank dairy), weren’t fans of kombucha, haven’t taken to fermented cucumber pickles, and are divided on raw sauerkraut (they do all like it cooked, like in Strapacky). All of them, however, like fermented cauliflower. My toddler twins dig in the jar themselves for white morsels of probiotic goodness. The older girls snack on it. My husband likes it. I like it (of course).

I’m not sure why cauliflower is such a winner. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t get as sour, even when fermented for a long time. Maybe because it stays crunchy without being hard. For the maker, it’s easy to boot – no kneading, grating, pounding, or thinly slicing. Just break or cut up the cauliflower, throw in a jar, and pour over a salt brine.

I like to add other veggies as well – here I put in garlic and carrots. I find my ferments work better when I can add a vegetable from a home garden that is clean but not scrubbed, as they still have the bacteria we want to proliferate. In this case it was little carrots.

The reasons to eat fermented foods are numerous; in a nutshell, they are chock full of probiotics that are responsible for the health of your gut, which in turn is responsible for your overall health, immunity, and even state of mind. They have more strains of probiotics, as opposed to supplements, and are very much alive (the live state of supplements is questionable). Even the vitamin and enzyme content of foods are increased by fermenting. The benefits of fermented foods deserves it’s own post (or you can use google!). Should I write one?

Some fermenting purists will advocate that fermenting should only be done in a water-lock crock or air-lock jar. My own unscientific opinion is that it’s better to make something fermented than waiting to do it ‘properly’. As long as the vegetables are under the brine, you should be fine. For more information on this debate, I liked Food Renegade’s take. I do have a post coming with tips on how to keep vegetables under the brine, as they rise with fermentation.

I don’t like to use whey, however, and not just because we can’t eat dairy. When I did use whey, the results were soggier and prone to white scum. The Liberated Kitchen explains why she doesn’t use whey for vegetable ferments, demonstrating that whey and fermented veggies actually have different kinds of probiotics. Each are good in their own right, but not so much to mix.

I have 3 liter jars that I use – you can use any size of jar, though you may need more than one, or any vessel that will hold vegetables, liquid, and a top. Adjust the amounts I have given as needed. There is some leniency as to the amount of salt you add, I like the taste of 2 tbsp/30ml of salt per liter/quart of water. Feel free to add more if you like a saltier ferment.

fermented cauliflower 2 web

Fermented Cauliflower (or any hard vegetable)

1 head cauliflower
carrots, peeled garlic, etc (optional)
3 liters/quarts water
6 tbsp/90ml (unrefined) salt

If your water has chlorine, either boil, filter, or let sit out in an open container for 24 hrs to rid the water of chlorine. If you boil it, let the water cool to room temperature. Mix 2 tbsp of salt per liter/quart of water, stir to dissolve.

Fill the jar(s) with washed but not scrubbed veggies. I break or cut the cauliflower into chunks, carrots into sticks, and leave the garlic cloves whole. Pour over the salt brine. Leave at least a few cm/inch at the top of the jar. To help keep the veggies under the brine, I put a cabbage leaf over it a push down so some brine comes over top. Put on the lid. My jar has a plastic lid that bulges when the gas builds up so that I can see to release some pressure. If you have a hard lid, make sure to open it slightly now and then so that the pressure doesn’t build too high.

Leave out at room temperature for a few days, the veggies will rise up from the bottom. If it is hot, the fermenting process will be faster than in cooler temps. At this point you can start eating the veggies, you can move the jars into the fridge to continue to ripen. Eat as snacks, as a condiment to a main meal, cut up in salad, or any other way you can think of.

How do you like to get in probiotics? What is your favourite ferment?

Our Family Favourite Ferment: Cauliflower

Shared at Fat Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Meals Fridays, Unprocessed Fridays, Savoring Saturdays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable