I’m far from a professional canner, but I do love picking a few worthy vegetables to can during the summer so I can enjoy delicious canned produce for a few months after. This homemade giardiniera tastes so wonderful and can be used as a bright condiment on homemade pizza, sandwiches, and salads. They are also great addition to cheese platters.
My version is spicier and sweeter than most store-bought ones I’ve had. Pop open a jar and I doubt it’ll make it through the week—I find myself snagging a piece or two every time I open the fridge!
What is Giardiniera?
Giardiniera means “gardener” in Italian. As you may guess, it’s essentially a garden in a jar—you can use a wide range of vegetables. I like to use cauliflower, carrots, celery, and peppers.
The pickling liquid to make giardiniera can take many forms. This recipe uses a mix of red pepper flakes, jalapeños, sugar, and salt so it is spicy and sweet. Some versions have oil in them, but I prefer to drizzle in oil into the jars or over the vegetables after canning and after I open the jars to eat.
Best Vegetables for Giardiniera
Any hearty vegetable can be turned into giardiniera. For a good base, I like cauliflower since it stays crunchy and doesn’t shrink much when pickled. Other than that, any mix of peppers, cabbage, and even olives work well.
Rinse and cut your vegetables into small pieces—I recommend a specific size for each on the ingredient list. You don’t want any huge pieces. You can chop the vegetables more finely—you may only get 4 pints, instead of 6 pints, as more vegetables will fit in each jar.
More Pickled Vegetables We Love
Kosher salt can be used as a substitute for pickling salt. Regular table salt has additives in it that will turn the vegetables dark and muddy the color of the brine.
I recommend that you weigh the vegetables for the right vegetable-to-brine ratio.
For those who live in high altitude, your cooking time will be about 40 minutes.
4 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon pickling salt (see recipe note)
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 dried or fresh bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, halved
18 black peppercorns
1 medium cauliflower (20 ounces), cut into bite-sized florets
3 medium carrots (10 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins or half-moons
2 medium red bell peppers (10 ounces), cored and cut into 1x1/4-inch pieces
4 ribs celery (6 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 jalapeños (3 ounces), seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 6 pint canning jars
Heat the jars:
If you plan to store the giardiniera outside the fridge for any length of time, you will need to heat your jars in a hot water bath after filling them. This recipe will yield 6 pint jars.
Because the jars will be processed in the water bath for more than 10 minutes, it is not necessary to first sterilize the jars before you fill them. Just make sure the jars are clean. Skip the water bath if you plan to refrigerate the pickles the whole time.
To heat the jars for canning, place the jars in a large canning pot. Fill the pot with warm water so that it comes up at least 1 inch above the jars. Bring to a boil, then keep at a gentle simmer until it’s time to can.
Wash the lids and bands in hot, soapy water.
Make the brine and simmer vegetables:
Add the vinegar, sugar, water, salt, fennel and celery seeds, and red pepper flakes into a large pot set over high heat. Stir and simmer until sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling. Add the vegetables to your pickling mixture and simmer for 30 seconds. Then remove from heat.
Fill the jars:
Remove the jars from the canner, dumping the hot water inside the jars back into the canner. Set them on a clean dish towel on the counter.
Divide the bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns among the jars.
Ladle the vegetables into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space between the vegetables and the top of the jar. Then, pour the pickling liquid into each jar, covering the vegetables—keep 1/2 inch of headspace.
Wipe the rims clean with a paper towel. Place a clean lid on each jar and secure finger-tip tight with the band.
Process in hot water bath:
If you plan to store the giardiniera outside the fridge, you will want to process the filled jars in a hot water bath.
Return the filled jars to the same canning pot with its already hot water. The water level should be at least 1 inch above the top of the jars; add more water to the canner, if needed. Bring the water to a full rolling boil for 10 minutes.
If you live at high altitude, add 5 to 10 minutes to the processing time. Over 5,000 feet elevation? Process the jars for 20 minutes. When in doubt, process for longer.
Cool and store:
If you are not processing these jars in a water bath, they will keep in the fridge for about 3 months.
Remove the jars from the pot using tongs or a jar lifter. Let cool slowly to room temperature. Once cooled, be sure to check seals on jars . The lid—not the metal band—should be drawn down into the jar because of the vacuum seal. You can take the metal bands off and carefully turn the jars upside down. A well-sealed jar won’t leak.
Store sealed jars in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year, but for the best flavor and texture, enjoy the giardiniera within 6 months. Once opened—you can enjoy them after 4 days—refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 21g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 33mg||163%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|