Pickled vegetables – to give or to keep!

Many people find it enjoyable to make home canned products that they can give to friends and family or to save for later in the season. Home food preservation can be fun and enjoyable, just follow the steps to ensure safe products.

Many consumers find it enjoyable to make home canned products that they can give to friends and family or to save for later in the season. Home food preservation can be fun and enjoyable; however you will need to follow important steps so as to not risk the health of your family and friends.

Pickling fruits and vegetables involves a hot water bath method of preservation. You can find the specifics about the process from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Once you have reviewed this information, think about pickling some fresh peaches, green beans or cauliflower.

Michigan State University Extension recommends that you follow these basic important steps regarding ingredients:

  • Select fresh, firm fruits or vegetables, free of spoilage. Always measure or weigh amounts carefully, because the proportion of fresh food to other ingredients will affect flavor, and in many instances, safety.
  • Canning or pickling salt is recommended.
  • Use white granulated or brown sugars.
  • White distilled and cider vinegars of five percent acidity (50 grain) are recommended. If preserving fruits and vegetables and a light color is preferred, use white, as is the case with fruits and cauliflower.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation cautions: The level of acidity in a pickled product is as important to its safety as it is to taste and texture.

  • Do not alter vinegar, food or water proportions in a recipe, or use vinegar with unknown acidity.
  • Use only recipes with tested proportions of ingredients.
  • There must be a minimum, uniform level of acid throughout the mixed product to prevent the growth of botulinum bacteria

A favorite vegetable selected by many home canners is pickled cauliflower or brussel sprouts. These are tasty in a salad or on a relish tray. This is a great way to get vegetables to the table. Below is a recipe that was adapted from the Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Pickled cauliflower or brussel sprouts

  • 12 cups of 1- to 2-inch cauliflower flowerets or small brussel sprouts
  • 4 cups white vinegar (five percent)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup diced sweet red peppers
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

Yield: About nine half-pints

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Wash cauliflower flowerets or brussel sprouts (remove stems and blemished outer leaves) and boil in salt water (four teaspoons canning salt per gallon of water) for three minutes for cauliflower and four minutes for brussel sprouts. Drain and cool. Combine vinegar, sugar, onion, diced red pepper and spices in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer five minutes. Distribute onion and diced pepper among jars. Fill jars with pieces and pickling solution, leaving a half-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended process time for pickled cauliflower or brussel sprouts in a boiling-water canner.


Process time at altitudes of

Style of pack

Jar size

0 - 1,000 feet

1,001 - 6,000 feet

Above 6,000 feet


Half-pints or pints

10 min



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