Preserving is prudent, so pickle your produce

It is more important than ever to make the most of what you have in the kitchen. While it’s always a good idea to work on reducing food waste, now while we’re staying home and limiting shopping trips, anything we can do to help stretch out the time between visits to the grocery store makes a real difference. Enter: preserves!

With a little investment of time and some simple pantry staples, you can make the goodness of fresh produce last and last. Natural fermentation harnesses the healthy bacteria already in your environment to create a flavorful treat: using a salty brine encourages the growth of Lactobacillus bacteria and is inhospitable to molds and other unpleasant bacteria. The Lactobacillus bacteria convert the vegetable’s natural sugars into lactic acid, a natural preservative of the food’s flavor and nutrients, while the bacteria themselves are highly beneficial to your digestive system. It’s a win-win.

Last spring, Marin Art & Garden Center’s Garden Manager Steven Schwager led a workshop showing participants how to take the bounty of cool-weather produce from our Edible Garden and make delicious and long-lasting preserves. Steven says, “people often turn to canning when summer gardens go into overdrive and you need to do something with all those cucumbers. But I wanted to show our class that there are fantastic pickles you can make from early spring harvests, like cabbage and carrots and cauliflower.” The class chopped, mixed, stirred and sampled its way through recipes for kim chi, preserved lemons, and one we’re including here for curried cauliflower. So next time you’re stocking up on fresh ingredients, get some extra for a pickling project and future you will be grateful when you’re snacking on a healthy treat you made yourself.

Always keep food safety in mind: consult the USDA’s Guide to Home Canning for a review of good practices.

Curry Cauliflower Lacto Pickles


1 quart of water  

3 Tbsp. sea salt  

1 small head of cauliflower cut into small florets (about 3 cups)  

2½ Tbsp. curry powder  

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed  



Heat water; add salt and stir to dissolve completely. Cool brine to room temperature and set aside. 

Place garlic cloves in the bottom of a quart-size glass jar. Add curry powder, followed by cauliflower florets. 

Pour cooled brine over vegetables until completely covered, leaving 1 ½ inches of head space. 

If necessary, weigh the florets down under the brine. 

Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band. 

Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, “burp” daily to release excess pressure. 

Once the cauliflower is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The flavor will continue to develop as the cauliflower ages. 

Additional spices, chilis etc. can be added 

This also works well with kohlrabi.

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center