I have found that it’s always toward the end of the season that we have the most odds and ends from the garden. A cauliflower here, a random bell pepper there, perhaps even a few spring onions that have reached gargantuan proportions during the busy months of harvest. Maybe you have a tiny garden on an apartment patio with just a few things to use.
Whatever the case may be, everyone has some random produce left after the main harvest has been done.
Today’s recipe makes use of those last fresh ingredients – a delicious, mild giardiniera that captures the brightness and flavor of summer to enjoy all winter long.
Dig in with a fork right out of the jar or enjoy it as a sharp yet savory side; however you choose to partake in this incredible homemade pickle, it’s sure to please.
How to Make Mild Giardiniera
Giardiniera – pronounced “jar-din-AIR-ah,” means “from the garden” in Italian, and what a perfect way to describe this versatile hodge-podge pickle you can make with ingredients straight from your garden.
You can literally throw in whatever produce you like, as long as it has a good crunch.
This includes things like:
- Green onions
- Sweet or spicy peppers
I threw in a cucumber, but honestly, I would probably leave it out next time as it became a bit too soft for my liking.
Once you have your produce gathered, it’s time to start prepping!
Here’s what you’re going to need to make mild giardiniera:
- A ½ gallon jar or two quart-sized jars
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 cups vinegar (I used Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, but you can use distilled white vinegar for a sharper flavor)
- Two bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon Italian oregano
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- 1 TB of sea salt
- ½ head of cauliflower
- One red bell pepper
- One stalk of celery
- Several carrots
- One bunch of green onions
- Two cloves of garlic, smashed
- One serrano chili, thinly sliced
For this recipe, you will want to make sure to use a plastic screw-top lid or a swing-top lid jar. Avoid using metal lids since the vinegar in the brine will corrode the metal and impart a really awful flavor to your pickles.
So, having said that, let’s get into the recipe!
How to Prepare Giardiniera
- Begin by adding the vinegar, water, and sea salt to a pot and bring it to a simmer. Make sure the salt is completely dissolved, then turn off the heat.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the jar.
- Roughly chop all of the vegetables and mix them in a bowl
- Add half of the veggies to the jar. Really make sure to stuff them in there
- Then, add the sliced serrano chili and the garlic (this helps get those flavors throughout the jar)
- Layer on the rest of the chopped veggies making sure to fit as much into the jar as possible
- Using a jar funnel, pour the hot brine over the giardiniera until covered
- Allow the jar to sit on the kitchen counter until cooled, then transfer it to the fridge
- After 24 hours, give the jar a gentle shake to help meld the flavors.
- Let the pickles macerate for a good 48 hours before digging in!
This recipe creates a mild giardiniera that has just a hint of spice and lots of delicious flavor.
To up the spice (while still being relatively mild), feel free to add a small pinch of red pepper flakes or an additional serrano chili. These can be added anytime to help customize your heat preference.
How to Use Giardiniera
Raise your hand if you're guilty of eating this right out of the jar? Yeah, that’s me! There are tons of ways to enjoy your new homemade pickles. You can add giardiniera to salads, sandwiches, burgers, roasts, or just serve it as a side to help cut through a rich meal.
Dice it up finely or leave it chunky; it’s up to you! Either way, giardiniera is a fantastic way to use up those random odds and ends from the garden.
What have been your favorite uses or variations? Let me know in the comments below!