Recipe: Sweet Pickled Cauliflower

A sweet and tangy way to use cauliflower that is anything but bland.

Words: Jane Wrigglesworth

Cauliflowers have an annoying habit of ripening all at once if you planted them all at the same time. This recipe comes from a 1904 copy of Queensland Country Life and is perfect for preserving your caulis. For authenticity, I’ve included old measurements and conversions.

Makes: 3 litres (approx.)
Time: 1-2 hours


1 cauliflower head
2.8 litres (3 quarts) white vinegar
1.3kg (3 pounds) brown sugar
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp cinnamon

Optional: 2-3 red chillies, 3-4 small pieces of fresh ‘lump’ ginger, about the size of your thumbnail


Select a large, perfect head, breaking it into small pieces. Boil in salted water for 10 minutes, then remove from the water and drain. Leave to cool.

Add heaped tablespoonfuls of whole cloves, black pepper, mustard seed, allspice, and cinnamon into a spice bag.

Pour the white vinegar and brown sugar into a pot, add the spice bag and boil for an hour. If you prefer a plain pickle, omit the sugar, and add two or three red chillies and a few small pieces
of fresh ginger.

Put the cauliflower into a sterilised, 3-litre container, then add the vinegar/brown sugar and spice bag. Ensure the vinegar syrup covers the cauliflower, as this preserves it. This pickle can be eaten after a day or two.

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NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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