Sunday, July 18, 2021

ChezCindy: Italian-style Giardiniera Vegetables


Once again with my CSA, I have a variety of vegetables and way too many for immediate use.  Especially peppers.  (I need to research more ways to use peppers.)  I decided to use a mix of the vegetables to make giardiniera.  The funny face on the sliced cucumbers is just a happy bonus.

Giardiniera is Italian pickled vegetables.  The translation roughly means "from the garden".  It is a mix of vegetables preserved in a spicy seasoned vinegar.  Long preserving is shelf-stable and can stay on a shelf for a year.  This version is a quick-pickle meant to stay in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  The quick-pickle still preserves the vegetables, extending their freshness and adding great flavor.  It is just not fully sealed for long shelf life.

Traditional giardiniera includes olive oil as a marinade for the vegetables.  I like to add the olive oil after pickling and once I serve the vegetables.  The marinated vegetables are great added to sandwiches and salads or just simply on a anti-pasta plate with some crackers and cheese.  

I used sliced cucumbers, sliced pepper rings, thinly sliced carrots, spring onions and garlic, seasoned with fennel seeds.  These are common vegetables found in giardiniera.  The seasoning can be spicy hot by adding crushed red pepper flakes, or using hot peppers.  Use what you have and have fun with the added spices.  

Here is how to make Giardiniera:
Choose a variety of vegetables such as peppers, onions, carrots, green beans, or cauliflower.  Cut the vegetables into small bite-size pieces.  Add them to canning jars, such as Ball or Mason, with the proper canning lids.  The recipe below can be doubled or tripled.  

1-pound vegetables, cleaned and cut into pieces or thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried whole spices, any combination

Place the cleaned cut vegetables into the canning jars, lightly packing to fit.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, dissolving the salt and sugar.  Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables to cover them completely, filling the jar to 1/2-inch from the top of the jar.  Seal the jar tightly with the lid.  Allow to cool on the counter.  Place the cooled jar in the refrigerator.  Wait 24 hours before enjoying so that the vegetables have time to pickle.  The vegetables will develop more flavor as they age.  Store in the fridge for up to one month.  

To use the Giardiniera vegetables:  
Drain the vegetables from the pickling liquid.  Place the drained vegetables into a small bowl.  Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables.  Top with a sprinkling of dried Italian herbs.  Serve with sandwiches or burgers, adding the vegetables as a topping.  Or mix in with fresh lettuces for a salad.  The marinated vegetables can also be plated with cheese and crackers for a first course or anti-pasta platter.  

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