Thursday, December 15, 2011

italian pickled vegetables

It’s holiday gift time! Like you, I have joined the bleary-eyed mob, searching for sweaters and scented soaps and anything that seems remotely “gift-worthy,” as the lady mags say. While it can be fun picking things out for people, all of this consumerism gets to me and I have to counteract it with some made-from-scratch presents.

I’ve made pepper jelly and mustard and candy and always make several dozen cookies. This year, I wanted to do another canning project. When I mentioned dill pickles, Dan took things a step further by suggesting giardiniera, Italian pickled vegetables. So instead of cucumbers, we pickled cauliflower, carrots, red bell peppers, Serrano peppers, celery, garlic and onions in a mix of spices and tangy vinegar. It’s a pretty mix of colorful vegetables and goes so well with a cheese plate or cured meats -- the kind of stuff you often serve around the holidays. Such a smart guy, my husband.

It took quite a bit of searching to find a shelf-stable recipe that did not include olive oil, but eventually I found one over at Pickle Jam. We made a few tweaks, and the end result was really tasty, and, like, totally gift-worthy.

Adapted from Food Pickle
(Makes 6 half-pint jars, plus about 2 cups extra)

4 cups white vinegar
2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. whole mustard seeds
2 cups sliced baby carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick
6 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups red bell peppers, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 serrano pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups celery, rib-strings removed and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups onion slices (cut into thick wedges)
6 cloves garlic, whole

Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Sterilize your canning jars and lids in the boiling water for five minutes, then carefully remove (use tongs) to a clean dish towel and set aside.

In a 6 to 8 quart saucepot, combine vinegar, sugar, water, salt, turmeric, oregano and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 4 minutes. Add the vegetables, reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are hot, about 5 minutes. Immediately fill the sterilized hot jars with the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. (I found that spooning the vegetables into the jars then adding the pickling liquid worked well.) Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jar and screw bands on. Process pints in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Want more holiday gifts?
Apple-honey-lemon jam
Spicy pepper jelly
Bourbon balls

Pistachio-chocolate toffee


Margaret Pinard said...

Maybe this is a totally novice question, but why were you trying to avoid olive oil? Does that affect the shelf-stableness, or is it a cost thing? Seems like it's normal for Italian Pickled Veg recipes to include olive oil! Very smart husband. Lucky friends! :-)

Lisa said...

Hi there! Yes, putting olive oil in something canned can affect the shelf life. I didn't mention this, but the original recipe said you could add the olive oil back into the vegetables after you open the jar and refrigerate it. So that's an option to get some olive oil goodness in there. But I don't think the regular old giardiniera you buy at the grocery store has oil, right?

judy said...

When a nice Jewish boy suggests giardiniera over dill pickles, I suspect he is sucking up to his half-Italian wife. Seems like it worked.

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

I almost ate my jar for breakfast this morning!

Daniel said...

Giardiniera for Christmas, dill pickles for Hanukkah.

Anonymous said...

The Italian dad says "fugettabouttit".


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