Canning cauliflower

Have you ever canned cauliflower without pickling? I heard this can not be done.

Rose Eyster
Loganton, Pennsylvania

Yes, I have and it did not turn out well. It discolors somewhat and is pretty strong in flavor. It is better frozen but if you must, you can can it up. But don’t heat it up in the water it was canned in. Dump the water and heat in fresh water as it’ll taste much better. — Jackie

Pickling lime

I’m new to canning and pickling. I’ve been at it for only slightly more than a year, but I’m one of those people who dives in head first, usually blindfolded, after being thrown from a rocket. Putting up food has become my passion. (Because of your Pressure Canning book, I tackled pressure canning my chili, which just made some soldiers in Afghanistan, who’ve been through hell, very very happy. Which did wonderful things for my heart. So again, thank you.)

Finally, my questions (related and quick)…what is the correct pickling lime to liquid ratio? And can you use pickling lime when fermenting pickles, as opposed to just making pickles?

Kim Doeryan
Barkhamsted, Connecticut

Congratulations on your canning and especially your chili! I’ll just bet those soldiers in Afghanistan gobbled up that taste of home … and love!

Pickling lime is used as a pre-soak to help keep cucumbers crisp. (I prefer to soak them in ice water instead.) If you choose to use pickling lime, follow the directions on your lime container or use 1 cup pickling lime and 1/2 cup pickling salt mixed very well with a gallon of cold water. Use no aluminum containers or spoons as the lime will react with the aluminum. Soak the cucumbers for 12 hours in this mixture, then rinse very well with cold water. Soak for 1 hour in cold water and rinse again. Repeat soaking and rinsing. Be advised that using pickling lime can cause botulism in pickles if it is not mixed or rinsed from the pickles well. Yes, you can use pickling lime to pre-soak fermented pickles. — Jackie

Pressure canner weights

I am using a Mirro canner with 5/10/15 lb weights. Is this as safe to use as a canner with a pressure gauge? I have not “blown lids” from too much pressure, follow timing very carefully, and all jars seal. The weight jiggles continually.

Judith Almand
Brandon, Florida

Yes, this is a safe canner. But if your weight jiggles continually, it’s a sign you should turn down your heat so it only jiggles a few times per minute, which is recommended by the manufacturer. Constant jiggling can cause excessive steam to blow out and could possibly result in your canner boiling dry. This warps the bottom, ruining the canner. — Jackie