Peterson Garden Project
Giardiniera means “female gardener” in Italian—fitting, since often women were responsible for managing and harvesting the family vegetable garden and finding ways to preserve a mix of summer vegetables for the cold winter months.
Traditionally, giardiniera is made with peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, garlic, and spices in a vinegar brine. Chicago-style giardiniera, which likely came to Chicago with a wave of Italian immigrants from Sicily during the 1900’s, varies slightly, with the addition of oil, and occasionally olives.
Makes 4 pints
- About 10 cups of mixed vegetables, traditionally cauliflower, carrots, celery,and sweet and hot peppers- green beans are also a fun addition! Feel free to improvise with whatever vegetables are in season or that you have on hand.Fun tip – using purple cauliflower or purple carrots will turn your brine bright pink!
- Garlic cloves, lightly crushed (one per pint, or more to taste)
- Herbs and spices to taste (oregano, bay leaves, crushed red pepper, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and dill are all delicious), about 1-2 teaspoons per pint jar or more to taste
- 1 3/4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- Wash vegetables thoroughly and cut them into your preferred shape and size. Diced vegetables are easy to use on sandwiches, while slices and larger chunks are great for a pickle platter or cheese tray.
- In a non-reactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
- Divide vegetables, garlic, and spices equally between the jars. Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables. Release any trapped air bubbles in the jar by sliding a chopstick or thin plastic knife along the sides of the jars. Top with additional brine, if needed.
- If not waterbath canning, refrigerate pickles for at least one week. Once opened, pickles will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator.
- Leave 1/2 inch of headspace in each jar. Close the jars with two-piece caps.
- Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
- Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least one week. Once opened, store in the refrigerator
For Chicago-style giardiniera:
- Allow pickles to brine for at least two weeks.
- Open pickles and drain off brine (reserve brine for salad dressing or quick pickles).
- Top vegetables with olive oil (add chopped olives if you’d like) and store in the refrigerator for at least two weeks before serving.