Fermented Spicy Cauliflower and Carrots

Fermented vegetables are easy to make, delicious as a snack, side, or appetizer, and last up to a year in your fridge. If you’re ready to try your hand at making some fermented spicy cauliflower and carrots, grab a large jar and let’s gather your ingredients.

Ingredients for fermented spicy cauliflower and carrots

For this recipe, you’re going to need a head of garlic, an onion, a head of cauliflower, some turnips or radishes (optional), some spicy peppers like jalapenos or not spicy peppers like shishitos, and some ground oregano.

The fresher your ingredients, the more vibrant your ferment will be and there will be less chance of mold in your ferment. A farmers market or community supported agriculture share are great sources of produce for fermenting since they are fresh, local, and often organic.

Ingredients for Spicy Cauliflower and Carrots

For salt, you can use sea salt or kosher salt. Stay away from iodized table salt or pickling or canning salts with any added ingredients.

The water you use needs to be pure and not contain chlorine or the vegetables will not ferment properly. Spring water, filtered well water, or reverse osmosis filtered water often work great for fermentation.

Prep all of the ingredients as described in the recipe below. You want the vegetables to be similar in size so they ferment at a similar rate. Bite size pieces work great for a ferment like this. These fermented vegetables also make a colorful and delicious addition to a charcuterie board.

Equipment for fermented spicy cauliflower and carrots

For this recipe, at bare minimum, you’re going to need a large bowl to mix all of the vegetables together, a large jar (half gallon or gallon glass jars work great), a sharp knife, and a cutting board.

Other equipment you may find really helpful are fermentation airlocks like pickle pipes, fermentation weights like pickle pebbles, and a wide mouth canning funnel for filling the jar without making a huge mess. You can use the lid that came with your gallon glass jar if you prefer instead of a fermentation airlock or lid but you want the CO2 to escape so screw the lid on loosely.

Equipment for fermented cauliflower and carrots

For this recipe, at bare minimum, you’re going to need a large bowl to mix all of the vegetables together, a large jar (half gallon or gallon glass jars work great), a sharp knife, and a cutting board.

Other equipment you may find really helpful are fermentation airlocks like pickle pipes, fermentation weights like pickle pebbles, and a wide mouth canning funnel.

For this ferment, my pickle pebbles were all in use so I used tannin-rich grape leaves to hold the ferment under the brine at the top of the jar.

Spicy Cauliflower and Carrots
Fermented spicy cauliflower and carrots in a 1 gallon jar, 1 week into fermentation the brine is starting to turn cloudy

Complete video demo of Erin making fermented spicy cauliflower and carrots recipe

How do you know when your ferment is done?

This recipe will typically need to ferment for 1 to 2 weeks or longer if you like a more intense ferment. The rate of fermentation depends heavily on the ambient temperature. Start tasting your fermented spicy cauliflower and carrots after a few days to see how they transform over time from fresh to tangy and delicious.

Go ahead. Try your hand at something new. You might just love it!

Spicy Cauliflower and Carrots

Fermented Spicy Cauliflower and Carrots

Erin Harner
This is a delicious and simple brine-pickled ferment filled with cauliflower, carrots, turnips or radishes, and shishito (or other) peppers.
Prep Time 30 mins
Fermentation Time 10 d
Course Side Dish
Servings 32 1/4 cup servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds carrots
  • 1 pound turnips or radishes
  • 1 head cauliflower small
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head garlic or 4 garlic scapes
  • 1 pint shishito peppers or other peppers like jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • ½ gallon pure water de-chlorinated
  • ¼ cup kosher or sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Slice carrots and turnips into rounds or slices about ⅛” thick. Cut cauliflower into florets. Slice garlic or garlic scapes. Prep peppers by removing stems and seeds and cutting into rounds. Cut onion into chunks.
  • Toss all vegetables with garlic, peppers, and  oregano in a large bowl until well mixed.
  • Add all vegetables to a 1 gallon glass jar or crock or two ½ gallon mason jars.
  • Mix brine by combining the water and salt. If you’re using course salt or kosher salt, try combining the salt with a small amount of hot water to dissolve before mixing with the rest of the water.
  • Pour the brine over the vegetables until fully submerged. Cover with grape or oak leaves tucked under the shoulder of the jar or with glass pickling weights. If needed, add more brine to ensure all vegetables are under the brine and won’t rise to the top. Cover loosely with a lid to allow CO2 to escape or use a fermentation airlock.
  • Ferment in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Start checking the ferment after 5 days with a clean utensil. When they are to your desired taste, cover jar tightly and refrigerate. If you want to pack the vegetables into smaller jars, do that now and refrigerate.

Video

Notes

This recipe was adapted from the Edgy Veggies recipe in Fermented Vegetables by Christopher and Kirsten Shockey (Storey Publishing, 2014). If you want to have a comprehensive resource loaded with ideas and troubleshooting tips for vegetable ferments, this book is awesome! 
These fermented vegetables will keep for up to 1 year refrigerated. Eat them as snacks and as additions to your meals. You can even use a little of the brine to help kick-start your next batch.
This recipe can be divided in half or quarters if you want to reduce the total quantity from 1 gallon to 1/2 gallon or 1 quart.
Keyword fermented, spicy ferment, vegetables

For other fermented vegetable recipes, check out super simple sauerkraut and cultured vegetables.

Questions or comments? Tag Erin @realfooderin or leave a comment below.

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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