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Lacto-Fermented Cauliflower, Two Ways: Dilled Cauliflower "Pickles" and Autumn Harvest Cultured Salad (gluten free, vegan)

Posted Nov 08 2009 10:03pm 1 Comment


I really love cauliflower.  But for years, I didn't eat it.  Why?  The Blood Type Diet says I'm not supposed to, and it made me put aside my cauliflower loving ways.  When I first jumped on the Blood Type Diet bandwagon a few years ago, I put aside lots and lots of foods I loved.  Reading Dr. Peter D'Adamo's words me a bit hesitant to chow down on this fine member of the crucifer family, among many other fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats.  I avoided them all like the plague.  But then I developed allergies and a range of sensitivities to a lot of those O-beneficial foods I ate regularly (like sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, soy, pumpkin, walnuts, tomato, pineapple, the list goes on and  on  and  on ).

For about 5 months last year I kept a strict 4 day allergy rotation, anti-Candida, O blood type diet and I went absolutely out of my mind.  I hardly had anything to eat.  I think the stress and challenge of trying to live within such a limiting framework was more damaging to my body, mind, and spirit than an occasional serving of those supposed "no-no" foods.  After having food-related nervous breakdowns and being told I was literally malnourished at my first visit to the naturopath, I finally decided to expand my repetoire.  All the foods I wouldn't touch anymore once when I started playing with the Blood Type Diet suddenly became the foods I had to rely on, for nourishment and sanity.  Thank goodness I had avoided them for years; that is probably why I hadn't developed allergies to them like all the other foods I ate all the time!

So, I started gradually started working them into my diet, because let's be honest, a girl's gotta eat something.  And interestingly enough, I started feeling better.  Hmn.

Truth be told, I still feel some hesitation each time I dig my fork into a tender Brussel sprout or greedily lick cashew butter off a spoon.   Sure, I do put some stock into what Dr. Peter D'Adamo has to say and his overall assertion, and have found much of it to ring true for me and my body.  I AM healthier as a meat eater, and I DO have intolerances to wheat, corn, oranges, kidney beans, pinto beans, and eggplant, for example.   I just don't necessarily buy in to the whole kit and kaboodle, and think it is impossible to say that one plan will be the silver bullet for everyone.

Maybe sometime soon I'll cut back on the foods that good old Dr. D'Adamo says I shouldn't eat, and see how I feel - maybe things will improve immediately, and perhaps those foods are holding me back from healing fully.  Or maybe not?  Who knows.  One thing is certain: I think there are major holes in Dr. D'Adamo's argument.  I'd like to ask him why I'm so freakishly allergic to pineapple and walnuts if those are supposed to act like medicine to my type O system.  Similarly, why are there lots of healthy vegan type O people out there, and lots of healthy red-meat eating type As?  Why, Peter, why?  I want to know what he has to say.   Unfortunately, I'm not willing to travel to Connecticut to talk with him myself.

Anyway, I'm really going crazy here and playing with gastronomic fire.  I'm pulling out the cauliflower, a supposed major metabolic inhibitor for type-O folks like myself.   Danger!

Yes, in a wildly reckless dietary move, I graciously accepted two lovely heads of cauliflower from work.  I don't know what I was thinking, because even for the most dedicated cauliflower eater, two heads is a whole lot of cauliflower.  But it was leftover from a food photo shoot, and would just go to waste if someone didn't take it home.  And since I never eat the daily catered lunches, I make it a personal rule to always take leftover vegetables.  I deserve those vegetables.  And they deserve a good home.  Anyway, I made soup with some and steamed more for a vegetable-rice thing, and I still had only made it through about 1/2 of the first head.

Dang.

So, I did what I always do when I have too many fresh vegetables to eat:  FERMENTATION TIME!  Making sauerkraut or cultured veggies is the perfect option when you have an over-abundance of fresh vegetables.  I hadn't pickled cauliflower in a while, so I thought it was a great opportunity.  I chose to make a dilly cauliflower pickle and a cultured "salad" of cauliflower, crispy apple, carrot, and scallions.  Both were great - cauliflower is much more exciting to eat after it has been sitting in salty brine, that's for sure.  I really love the dilled cauliflower pickles, they are garlicky and addictive. The cultured salad is nice too, it has a good crunch and a good sweet-salty flavor.  I chose not to add spices to that one and just leave it naked, but a bit of grated ginger and a few coriander seeds would really be good, so I'm gonna suggest those as optional ingredients.

Wondering how to eat your cultured veggies?  Here's a few ideas:
  • Add to stir fries, curries, or vegetable sautes
  • Quick meal or appetizer: flatbread/crackers/rice cake/tortilla/raw flax cracker + bean dip/cashew or almond cream/pesto + spoonful diced cultured veggies. It's kind of like bruschetta!
  • Add to fresh salsas or chutneys
  • Use as a vegetable side dish to a protein dish like beans, meats, poultry, or fish
  • Puree into a quick sauce or dressing for vegetables or grains (I love doing this!)
  • Add to wraps - I love putting cultured vegetables with meat or beans/rice and some sprouts in to a collard leaf.  Yum!
  • Add to greens, bean, grain, or meat salads, here's a few ideas off the top of my head for the cauliflower pickles and Autumn Harvest Salad
    • Shredded kale, cooked quinoa, diced cauliflower pickle, chopped cucumber, and toasted sunflower seeds
    • Mix diced chicken breast or white beans, a scoop of Fall Harvest Salad, chopped celery, handful raisins or currants, thyme, a blob of mustard, and a little olive oil together, and serve in lettuce leaves, wraps, or on your favorite GF bread.  Whoa, that sounds really good, I'll be trying that, ASAP.
    • Salad greens, steamed green beans, cauliflower pickle, pickled or steamed beet slices, olive-oil packed tuna
  • Add to sushi rolls or onigiri - sauerkraut is awesome wrapped in nori and rice, seriously.
  • Eat as is, from the jar (my favorite - just use a clean fork each time!)
How do you like to eat your cultured veggies?  Leave me a note, and let me know!

READY, SET, FERMENT!

Sorry, I don't have any photos - I wrote up this post a long time ago, and forgot to take pictures.  Now the cauliflower pickles are all eaten up!  I still have one serving of the cultured salad, but my camera is having some technical difficulties, so no photo.  Use your imagination!  It looks like cauliflower, in a jar.  The cultured salad looks like cauliflower and a bunch of other veg, in a jar.   :)  


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VINEGAR-FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED DILLED CAULIFLOWER PICKLES (gluten free, vegan, raw)

yield 1 quart

3 c cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 T dry dill
3-4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 T sea salt
2-3 c filtered water

  1. Scald a jar or wash with very hot, soapy water.
  2. Wash cauliflower very well, and cut into chunks.  
  3. Crush garlic clove, and add to jar with spices.  Add cauliflower, pressing down firmly into jar so chunks are tightly packed, leaving 1" space at the top of the jar.
  4. Dissolve salt in 2 c of water, and add to jar.  Add additional water as necessary to cover vegetables.  Leave 1" space at the top of the jar.
  5. Let sit 3-5 days at room temperature, in a cool place away from the sun, on a place or saucer to catch leaks.  I let mine sit for 4 days in a room temp of about 68*, in warmer temps 3 days is usually enough.  Try them and see if they have a good pickly flavor.  If you want a stronger flavor, leave them out longer, up to 7 days depending on the temperature.   Just a warning: when you open the jar, it is likely to fizz and bubble over, so open over the sink.
  6. After it sits, transfer to fridge.  I think cultured veggies improve with age, properly cultured vegetables will keep for up to 8 months.  If your vegetables start to get slimy, change color, or just seem funky, toss them out.
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AUTUMN HARVEST CULTURED SALAD (gluten free, vegan, raw)

yield 1 quart

Watching your sugars?  Don't worry about the apple in this salad - according to Donna Gates, Body Ecology Diet expert, the sugars in cultured apples get eaten up during the fermentation process. In fact, she suggests using apples in cultured recipes even during Candida treatment.  Taking a queue from her, I added one to this mix; it adds a nice hint of tart/sweet flavor that compliments the other flavors well.  Trust your own intuition and tolerances; choose to include it or leave it out!

1 organic apple, diced
1 c cauliflower florets
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
optional: grated ginger and 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 T sea salt
2 c water

*optional: add chopped beets, finely chopped cabbage, chopped kohlrabi, or other vegetables in place of any of the above ingredients

  1. Scald a jar or wash with very hot, soapy water.
  2. Wash vegetables well, and prepare as noted above.  Mix together in a large bowl, with grated ginger if you are including it.
  3. Add coriander seeds (if using) and vegetable mixture to jar, pressing down firmly as you add so chunks are tightly packed, leaving 1" space at the top of the jar.
  4. Dissolve salt in 1 c of water, and add to jar.  Add additional water as necessary to cover vegetables.  Leave 1" space at the top of the jar.
  5. Let sit 3-5 days at room temperature, in a cool place away from the sun, on a place or saucer to catch leaks.  I let mine sit for 4 days in a room temp of about 68*, in warmer temps 3 days is usually enough.Try them and see if they have a good pickly flavor.  If you want a stronger flavor, leave them out longer, up to 7 days depending on the temperature.  Just a warning: when you open the jar, it is likely to fizz and bubble over, so open over the sink.
  6. After it sits, transfer to fridge.  I think cultured veggies improve with age, properly cultured vegetables will keep for up to 8 months.  If your vegetables start to get slimy, change color, or just seem funky, toss them out.
[photo at top of post from http://www.freefoto.com/preview/09-11-15?ffid=09-11-15&k=Cauliflower]
Comments (1)
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I'm a big fan of fermented cauliflower. In fact, I love it raw, cooked or fermented just about any way you can think of....I love your recipes and will be trying them soon. Have you ever tried fermented cauliflower florets and carrot slices with red pepper flakes? Very good.

 My daughter (huge manga fan) and I have recently discovered onigiri and are busy thinking up fillings that work with our allergy (corn and soy). We never thought of sauerkraut even though I have probably 8 or 10 different ferments in my fridge at any given time and umeboshi is a popular filling. Duh....We'll have to try it.

I like to use my fermented onion and pepper relish in tuna or potato salad along with my homemade mayo. I also make sauerkraut fritters inspired by Korean kimchi pancakes. Pickled garlic juice is wonderful in salad dressings and the garlic itself is great in hummus. Let's face it, ferments are always a welcome snack or delicious side dish.

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