Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Garden Variety Goodness

Giardiniera is an Italian term used to describe pickled vegetables in vinegar and/or in oil. The word is derived from giardino, which means a garden in the same language.

If you come from a traditional Italian family or are close to any, you may be recruited to produce this product on a yearly basis. If so, you are in for a treat...and an entire day's worth of work!

The process begins by cleaning, chopping and preparing the following ingredients:
- cauliflower (we used 7 heads)
- celery
- pearl onions
- carrots
- yellow and green beans (haricots verts)
- red sheppard peppers

The vegetables are placed in a vat and are heavily salted. The mixture is set aside for 4-12 hours to allow for the water to be expelled from the vegetables. 

Olives can also be added to the mixture after this process.

Once ready, a pot with a strainer is filled with one part white vinegar and five parts water and then set to boil.

The vegetables are allowed to boil in the vinegar/water mixture for five minutes and are then strained.

While hot, dried oregano and olive oil is added to the boiled vegetables.

The mixture is then jarred with garlic placed at intermittent levels.

Hint: To prevent your garlic from turning green over time, blanch them in hot water for 30 seconds.

The jars are then topped-up with olive oil and sealed by boiling them in hot water for 10 minutes.

After all that work, you will end up with a bounty of pickled vegetables that are ready to eat.

Of course, this is a very simple version of the recipe and many variations exist. However, in my opinion, simple is often better.

Enjoy your giardiniera:
- as an antipasto (appetizer)
- by serving it with bread
- with pasta or lasagna
- over pizza or as a topping for pizza
- with curries
- as a side for meat or fish, e.g. with steak, chicken, lamb, etc.
- with hamburgers or sausages


  1. it looks soooo good. you make me want to sit and chop up 7 heads of cauliflower. how many jars did you get in the end.

  2. LOL...We made equivalent to approximately 90+ 250 mL jars! Not all of them were the simple ones shown in this posting. We also made approximately half of the type in tomato sauce with tuna and anchovies. So good!