Preserving Cauliflower

If cauliflower was a stock to trade, some would have made millions in the last few years as the humble cauliflower became one of the most versatile cruciferous vegetables in the kitchen. With an increase in the popularity of flexitarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto and plant-based diets, cauliflower is no longer only baked into a cheesy casserole, but spiced and grilled as ‘steaks’ on a braai, mashed, riced, sauced, powdered, blended and made into pasta or a crispy pizza base. There are not many vegetables that can do all that! However, you can only add cauliflower to so many meals before it becomes a bit tiresome, so preserving cauliflower is always an attractive option when you have a glut.

Freezing cauliflower is one of the best ways to preserve the vegetable so that it can be used for any of the dishes mentioned, and it’s simply a matter of blanching the florets in boiling water, laying them on a tray, freezing them and then packing them in labelled bags.

You can get a bit more adventurous when preserving cauliflower by pickling excess florets with beetroot to make a colourful pickle that will last 1 – 2 years unopened, and can be enjoyed with cheese and meat platters or on sandwiches.

Cauliflower and beetroot pickle

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large beetroot, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar (use a good quality vinegar – it’s worth it)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons coriander or dill seeds
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Pack the vegetables tightly into sterilised jars. Bring the water to a boil and then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the veggies. Stir until the salt dissolves and then pour over the vegetables. Let the jars cool and then seal and store in a cool place. Leave for at least 2 days to allow the cauliflower to be coloured red by the beetroot before eating.