Everyone needs to have a jar of these Italian Garden Pickles (also known as giardiniera) in their fridge at all times!
They are so easy to make and just get better and better as they sit in the fridge.
Crisp and tangy, they are perfect as an appetizer, quick side dish, lovely on a charcuterie board.
I know I probably say this too often, but these Italian Garden Pickles are my favorite! Really if you only make one pickle this year (and that's crazy, because you should have jars and jars like me) this is the pickle to make.
It's also called giardiniera, which I believe means "from the garden." They are a delightful way to preserve whatever is flourishing in your garden right now.
A little sweet, a little spicy and a whole lot of deliciousness!
Vegetables: you need 8 cups of vegetables. You can vary the vegetables by season, but here I have stuck with the classic vegetables that you find in most giardinieras: cauliflower, peppers, celery, carrots, garlic.
Expert Tip: other vegetables that would be good - red bell peppers, green beans, radishes, or zucchini.
Herbs - I used rosemary, you could also use fresh oregano or thyme.
White wine vinegar - I've also used apple cider vinegar.
Sugar, salt, and water.
Dried spices - bay leaves, fennel seeds and black peppercorns.
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves (crumbled), fennel seeds and black peppercorns in a medium saucepan.
Over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to medium low and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.
While the vinegar solution is coming to a boil, prep your veggies. You want to peel anything that needs to be peeled (like the carrots) and cut everything into large bite size pieces.
You can seed the hot peppers if you don't want it very spicy.
Start placing the vegetables and herbs in a jar. This fits perfectly in a half gallon mason jar, but you could also use several smaller jars.
Since I used whole sprigs of rosemary, I filled the jar halfway and placed the rosemary sprigs on the outside for an even prettier appearance.
I also tried to make sure that the garlic and the peppers were spaced to allow their flavor to be evenly dispersed.
As soon as the brine has finished simmering, pour it over the vegetables. It should still be hot.
I find it easier to pour it into a measuring cup and then pour in the smaller quantities rather than trying to pour from a hot pot.
Use a chopstick or a spoon to move the vegetables around a bit to dislodge any air bubbles. This isn't as important as it is if we were canning the vegetables, but it still allowed me to add a little bit more of the brine.
Allow to cool to room temperature before putting a lid on the jar and storing in the fridge.
Some people store this on the counter, but I store mine in the fridge, not only to be cautious, but I think the vegetables are better when they're cold.
I just had a small bowl of these with lunch today and it was so good!
The vegetables were crunchy and perfectly pickled. Just the right amount of sweetness and spiciness.
They would be great on a cheese board, served alongside grilled meats or fish and I've even diced them a bit finer and used them as a relish on a sandwich! So good!
More quick pickles:
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Italian Garden Pickles
- 6 cups cauliflower or whatever vegetable is in season
- 1 cup carrots or other vegetable
- 1 cup celery or other vegetable
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed a bit
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme or oregano
- 3 cups white wine vinegar
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 4 bay leaf crumbled
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- Peel any vegetables that need to be peeled and cut all vegetables into large bite sized pieces.
- Place vegetables, garlic and herbs into a large jar (they will fit in a half gallon mason jar.)
- In a saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, fennel seeds and black peppercorns over a medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour the hot brine over the vegetables and let them come to room temperature without a lid on the jar.
- Put a lid on the jar and store in the fridge. They are ready after a few hours, but the flavor improves every day.
This was originally posted in 2011 and has been updated for 2020.