How To Prevent Your Pickled Cauliflower From Turning Brown

Pickled cauliflower is a unique way to enjoy the briny sour flavor of pickles but with the textural, softer crunch of cauliflower. Cauliflower is a great vehicle for taking on a variety of flavors, and it holds up well to the pickling process. One downside to pickling cauliflower is that it can potentially develop a brown color during the process. While this coloring isn't indicative of a spoiled vegetable, it can make it appear less appetizing.

There's a simple reason why cauliflower occasionally changes color during this process: Different types of vinegar can cause it to take on different hues. Darker vinegars like apple cider or red wine vinegar make the brine darker and cause the ingredients to darken. Most pickled cauliflower recipes will recommend using white vinegar to avoid this issue, like this spicy Chicago-style giardiniera recipe from Tasting Table.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. If you enjoy the taste of other vinegars more, feel free to keep using those selections. But if you favor having a more aesthetically pleasing product, and want to avoid the brown coloring, white vinegar might be better suited for your pickling needs.

Best flavors and ingredients to pair with white vinegar pickled cauliflower

White vinegar has a sharp, tangy taste compared to sweeter vinegar like apple cider or red wine vinegar. Should you use white vinegar in your pickling brine, you may want to change up your typical pickle recipes for more complementary ones. A benefit of white vinegar is that it pickles almost anything. In addition to your cauliflower, you could try pickling radishes, carrots, celery, green beans, and of course, cucumbers. You can experiment with different combinations to find one that you love best.

White vinegar is a classic pickling brine base, making it easy to pair with various pickling spices. For more flavor in your brine, you should be using whole, toasted spices. Typical ones you can use include mustard seeds, coriander seeds, bay leaves, peppercorn, and allspice berries. This blend makes for that classic pickle taste and is a safe bet for many ingredients. But if you want to get creative with your flavors, there are lots of other spices to try. Red pepper flakes and dried chiles give your pickles a subtle heat to cut through the acidity. Or, you could opt for warming spices like cinnamon and clove that pair well with sweeter pickling brines.