This hot pickled cauliflower recipe is just like Bell-View hot pickled cauliflower you can buy in the store. It’s easy to make and great with hot peppers from your garden.
You might also like this hot pepper relish recipe!
A Delicacy from my Youth
Hot pickled cauliflower was my initiation into the wonderful world of spicy foods. As a kid, my mom always had a jar of Bell-View Hot Pickled Cauliflower in our fridge.
By my adult standards, it was pretty mild stuff. They had it packed into the jar pretty densely with pieces of bright red cayenne peppers floating around.
They used some kind of yellow food coloring to get this brilliant yellow color which contrasted nicely with the red peppers.
I think the point of these was to put them out for guests at dinner parties as little appetizers, but my mom never used them for that. I think I might have been the only one to eat them. But as a pre-teen, I found myself taking a little plate to the fridge and fishing out several pieces to munch on while I was watching Batman on the TV.
From time to time, I get a mighty urge to eat them, but they are not easy to find anymore. Might’ve been a 1960s thing that never made it into the new millennium.
It turns out Bell-View is a local western Pennsylvania company who pickled a lot of things besides cauliflower. The ingredients label on the jars always had “Polysorbate-80” on them, so I figured that this must be what made them hot.
Of course now I know that it was the cayenne peppers floating around in the brine. I also learned never to eat those peppers no matter how pretty they looked.
The consistency of the cauliflower was a little rubbery. This was probably because of the preservatives and over-cooking in the canning process. All-in-all, it was a nice little snack which opened my world up to spicy foods.
Now I make my own pickled cauliflower and vegetables.
Flash forward to the present. In the summer of Covid, my garden has been my sanctuary. The hot, dry weather has kept my yields down a bit, but I still have a ton of stuff, and I really like to pickle things.
I pickle jalapeno and serrano peppeers, zucchini, and sauerkraut-stuffed banana peppers. You name it, I’ll pickle it.
I learned a few tricks along the way. First, I do not like to sterile can. I think that the process turns the vegetables to mush. Second, I like a sweet pickle.
I found a nice recipe a while back and have tweaked it to my taste.
How to make hot pickled cauliflower.
So my goal this time out is to try to replicate the hot pickled cauliflower of my youth.
- I got a nice head of cauliflower from the local grocer, and I picked a bunch of cayenne peppers from my pepper patch.
- I chopped the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, and cut the peppers diagonally just to be fancy.
- I blanched the cauliflower pieces for about 2 minutes to soften them up a bit, then put them into an ice water bath.
- I packed the blanched cauliflower and peppers into quart canning jars, and jammed a few whole peppers in just for effect.
- I then prepared the pickling brine with the recipe below. After bringing this to a boil, I pour it into the jar.
- When full I put the lid and band on, and that’s all folks.
- Remember, you have to refrigerate as the canning process isn’t sterile. And you want to let them sit for a while to get yellow and to get hot. Please scroll down for the recipe card.
The Cold Pickle Recipe
This is pretty standard stuff and you probably have everything in your kitchen somewhere. However, I was going for the full-on Bell-View experience, so my lovely wife Denise (her of My Life Cookbook fame) told me to put 1 teaspoon of turmeric to get the color right.
- 3 cups of water
- 3 cups of white vinegar
- 3/4 cup of white sugar (for low-carb, substitute low carb sweetener for sugar)
- 1/4 cup of salt
- 4 cloves of garlic – crushed
- 2 teaspoons of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
In my experience, they will last quite a long time in the fridge, but I usually eat them long before.
The Taste Test
I had to go on my memory for the Bell-View part of the test, but the stuff I made was just delicious. It looks exactly like the Bell-view cauliflower, but was a bit crunchier. If you like pickled cauliflower, you will really love these.
Day tripping through the garden (and the kitchen) with Rick
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This easy recipe is much like store bought but better!
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 3/4 cup white sugar, (or low-carb, substitute low carb sweetener for sugar)
- 1/4 cup salt
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (for color)
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 9 cayenne peppers, sliced
Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, and cut the cayenne peppers diagonally Blanched the cauliflower pieces for about 2 minutes to soften them up a bit, then put them into an ice water bath.
Pack the blanched cauliflower and peppers into quart canning jars Add the ingredients for the brine to a large pot and bring to a boil.
Pour it into the jar. When full put the lid and band on, and that's all folks.
Remember, you have to refrigerate as the canning process isn't sterile. And you want to let them sit for a while to get yellow and to get hot.
They will last quite a long time in the fridge, but I usually eat them long before.
16 thoughts on “Hot Pickled Cauliflower Recipe”
These sure look like the ones my mother always had in the refrigerator. Too bad it’s cauliflower.
They came out perfect. I think the amount of cayenne I put in will eventually make them heat up more than the ones I had as a kid
I have everything to make these but the coriander seeds. Do I really need these?
Not really, but I think it adds to the pickle brine. Every once in a while you bite into one and the flavor is very nice. But you don’t really need them.
This recipe is Amazing! My husband was adamant he wouldn’t like it. Finally got him to try it and now he loves it.
He requested me to make more.
Thanks for great recipe!
Glad you like it. My mom would buy this when I was a kid. Not sure if it was just a Pittsburgh thing.
It was an Ohio thing too. I remember it from my younger days, but cant find it anymore. I’m so thankful for your recipe.
I loved this stuff when I was a kid. It was the first “hot” thing that I would eat, and now I love spicy food.
I made these at the end of August and just opened them today. I almost ate the whole litre jar that I packed the cauliflower into. it’s sooooo good! thanks for the recipe!
I’m glad you liked it. I really loved this when I was a kid, and the stuff I made myself tasted pretty much the same.
Are you able to can these? If so what would you use… water bath or pressure cooker and for how long?
Hi Kristy. Yes, you can can them using a water bath. However I find that this makes the cauliflower less crispy. So if I’m making a small batch, I tend to just pickle and refrigerate.
I don’t have red peppers but i have jalapeño. Well that work?
Sure! I like the cayenne because it’s so red, and it looks nice with the yellow of the cauliflower. But anything will work just fine.
I’m making them now! But I’m going to water bath so they are shelf stable. I bought 5 heads of cauliflower from a local farmer. I’m not going to blanch the cauliflower though. Wish me luck! My grandmother made this when I was a kid so I hope I like it!
Good luck Barb. I really like the pickle recipe. It’s simple and I use it for everything I pickle. Let me know how it comes out.