If you’ve cut up cauliflower, you know it makes quite a spectacular mess – tiny bits fly out as it’s cut, small as grains of sand. And yet, despite the veggie’s unruliness, I keep eating it. Sometimes, I don’t get to it fast enough, though, and it begins to brown unappealingly. Freezing it would buy time, but how about other ways of extending its “expiration date”? Fermenting is a great way to do just that!
While I’ve fermented other veggies, like cabbage for sauerkraut and baechu kimchi, radish for kkakdugi (kimchi), peppers, eggplant, rutabaga, and beets, this was the first time I’d tried making fermented cauliflower. No particular reason, just that it hadn’t crossed my mind.
Prepping the ferment is as easy as can be: cut up the cauliflower into florets (saving the core and any greens left for pasta), pack in jar, pour in brine, add spices, and let it work its magic. The instructions say to start checking in four days, but that it may need longer to reach the desired level of fermentation.
I used this recipe, but also added some kombucha vinegar as a starter because, in my experience, veggie ferments with just brine can sometimes lack acidity early on and mold. I also skipped the airlock because daily “burping” also usually works just fine for veggie ferments I’ve made…and it’s always fun to watch the bubbles rush up from the bottom of the jar when the lid is loosened during burping! I also push any “floaters” back down under the brine – I find that a regular mouth jar works best for veggie ferments because the pieces can often be lodged under the brine at the “shoulder” of the jar.
Choosing herbs and spices for the ferment is one of the best parts of the process: for the first batch, I added caraway seeds and curry powder. When I started another batch a few days later, I sprinkledin some aromatic garlic pepper. I could see future batches with mustard seed, hot peppers, dill…who knows what’s next!
I’m not sure that the caraway/curry batch will be ready today (my guess is that it’ll be closer to a full week), but I’ll do a “taste test” later to find out.
So if that cauliflower is languishing in the crisper, don’t just let it go to waste…ferment it!