Well, at least in Chicago, the fresh food season is pretty much over. This is the part of the year where we rely more heavily onions, potatoes, apples, and anything we froze during the summer. Luckily, I froze quite a bit. My stand-alone freezer is totally and completely packed. All summer, I cut and weighed, boiled or blanched and ended up with a freezer full of vegetables and fruits, berries and jams, herbs and sauces. I even froze some pickles and leftovers from summer meals. (We’ll see how those pickles turn out.)
But it’s not quite time to dig into the freezer. I still have beets, potatoes, and apples. I don’t have a root cellar—my basement is heat controlled and the small root cellar in our house is used for fermenting wine. So I can’t keep these all winter. I’ve got to use them nowish. What do I have in mind? Borscht, pickled cauliflower, sweet potato gnocci. These are all on my November bucket list. Where did I start? With the food that’s gonna go bad first: cauliflower.
Adapted from Southern Living (2009)
- 2 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorn
- 1/4 tsp red pepper
- 8 cups cauliflower
- Bring first nine ingredients to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Blanch cauliflower by steaming, in 1 cup batches, and plunging in ice water to halt cooking.
- In a large bowl or container, pour vinegar mixture over vegetables. Let stand 1 hour. Chill in an airtight container in refrigerator. **Note: If you plan to use a glass jar for storing, wait until the mixture cools or boil glass container to ensure that the mixture and the container are the same temperature when they meet. A hot mixture and a cool glass container could lead to breakage.