These can be made spicy, if you like, or leave the red pepper flakes out altogether. The other spices, along with apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and a touch of sugar, still pack a wallop of flavor. (Toasting the whole spices makes a big difference.)
This crunchy pickled vegetable mixture is great on an antipasti platter, eaten with cheese & crackers, served with hummus, or chopped up a bit and eaten on a burger.
This makes a nice big batch, but you'll be glad you made a big batch when you taste it.
NOTE: Ground turmeric gives the brine a slight yellowish tint and can make it a tiny bit cloudy sometimes too. If you want a perfectly clear brine, omit the ground turmeric. The pickled veggies will still be delicious, but the flavor will be a bit less complex.
Yield: 3 or 4 quarts, or approx 7 pints. (Amount varies due to size of vegetables used.)
- One head cauliflower, broken into 1 to 2-inch florets
- 10 regular carrots (not "baby carrots"), peeled and sliced diagonally 1/2 inch thick
- One red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks
- One yellow onion, whole, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds (brown or yellow or a mixture)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 6 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 TBS sea or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional, see note above)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1.) Layer the cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper and sliced onions in a large glass container or jar, or several smaller jars*.
2.) Toast the whole seeds (cumin, coriander and mustard) over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, water, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, peppercorns, turmeric, red pepper flakes, to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil, stirring, long enough to dissolve sugar and salt. Turn off heat and let brine cool to room temperature.
*If planning on processing in a Boiling Water Bath for shelf-stability, you'll want to use canning jars.