Make Ahead

Giardiniera (Italian Pickled Vegetables)

by:
June  1, 2015
2 Ratings
Author Notes

Giardiniera is a really simple, age-old way to preserve homegrown vegetables from an overabundant garden (the word comes from the word giardino, which means garden) or to simply take advantage of cheap, in-season produce. These colorful pickled vegetables make a great addition to an antipasto platter of cheeses and salami, but can also be added to dishes like rice salad.

You can vary the vegetables based on what you have on hand, but seek a variety: The mixture of colors and flavors is one of the best parts of this preparation. Here, you'll see I've used cauliflower, peppers, squash, celery, carrots, and zucchini, but other typical inclusions are shallots, cucumbers, or green beans. You could flavor the marinade with juniper berries, cloves, peppercorns, or bay leaves—to name a few favorites.

Being that giardiniera or sottaceti (another name for it, meaning "under vinegar") are found in regions all over Italy, there are a number of different ways to make these pickles, all with varying proportions of vinegar and water and different marinating times and methods. Some recipes require a marinating period of a month or so before you can eat the vegetables. This one here is great because, if you're impatient like me, the pickles are ready to be eaten right away. You could also conserve the vegetables by storing the mixture in oil rather than vinegar, which will keep the flavor nicely balanced. —Emiko

  • Makes 4 to 6 jars
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 pounds vegetables, cut into strips or sliced, such as red and green peppers, cauliflower, celery, carrots, baby red onions, and zucchini
  • 4 cups (1 liter) white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups (500 milliliters) water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 juniper berries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Olive oil, for topping jars
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Clean and prepare the vegetables. The cauliflower should be cut into pieces no larger than a walnut. The celery, zucchini, and peppers can be cut into strips, and the carrots can be cut into thin rounds. Baby onions can be left whole if small or cut in half if large. Green beans, if using, can be left long and whole or cut in half.
  2. In a large pot, add the vinegar and water. Add the bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, salt, and sugar, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook each type of vegetable separately in the vinegar mixture, until they are bright and beginning to get tender but still crunchy. Remove and set aside until all the vegetables are cooked. The vegetables are ready to eat right away but if you want to conserve them, follow the next step.
  4. Distribute the vegetables evenly in sterilized jars, cover with olive oil and put lids on tightly. To seal the jars, place the filled jars in a stock pot of simmering water (make sure the jars are covered by an inch or two of water—you can add more water if necessary). Bring to a boil and after a minute, take off the heat. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter (or tongs) and place on a heat-proof surface lined with a tea towel to let cool completely. They're ready to enjoy now. Or, you can store in a cool, dark place for 6 months. Once opened, store in refrigerator and eat within 5 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anastasia Stepanova
    Anastasia Stepanova
  • paizley
    paizley
  • Candy Mamba
    Candy Mamba
  • Wendy Posson
    Wendy Posson
  • Emiko
    Emiko

11 Reviews

Anastasia S. August 22, 2019
Doesn't “pickled” mean natural fermentation with salt snd sugar? I love the second type, but can’t stand marinating in vinegar
 
paizley January 14, 2019
I'm not a fan of cauliflower or zucchini. I like to add mushrooms to mine, Thai chiles, whole garlic cloves, various cabbages, etc. Even baby corn. I'm half-Japanese, lived in Europe and have a tendency to mix Italian and Asian flavors. You should taste my calamari Fra Diavolo! Lol! Yours is a good recipe and simple with very little sugar. I just leave it out. Thanks, Emiko! ~Chieko
 
Candy M. October 28, 2018
Beautiful! Could I make these two days ahead for an event and just keep refrigerated in a bowl with plastic wrap?
 
Author Comment
Emiko October 29, 2018
Absolutely! Being pickled, they would keep well for several days like this.
 
Wendy P. June 30, 2017
pint jars? half-pint jars? quart jars?
 
Author Comment
Emiko June 30, 2017
You can fit them in any jars you like but the ones I used to measure the volume of how many "jars" this makes are 250ml volume jars (I believe this is half pint, thanks google)!
 
gandalf June 17, 2015
In step #4 above, do you put the pickled vegetables in the sterilized glass jars and cover them with the cooked vinegar/water mixture, and then top with the olive oil before sealing? Or are the pickled vegetables put in the sterilized glass jars and covered entirely with olive oil (no vinegar/water mixture) before sealing? Thanks.
 
Author Comment
Emiko June 17, 2015
Just as is written, the vegetables are only covered with olive oil before sealing. There are other methods for these pickles where you also fill the jars with the vinegar mixture and they even need marinating for weeks longer before being ready to eat but the proportions for the vinegar mixture are quite different. With this recipe the vegetables are ready to eat right away (see step 3), don't need marinating or further keeping in vinegar. In fact, they are kept in oil because if you were to top these up with vinegar even overnight they would become way too vinegary to enjoy!
 
gandalf June 17, 2015
So to be sure I understand (sorry to be so thick), are the pickled vegetables placed in the sterilized glass jar and then covered entirely to the top of the glass jar with olive oil, and then put into the boiling water bath for processing?
 
Author Comment
Emiko June 17, 2015
Yes exactly! (Good for double checking!)
 
gandalf June 17, 2015
Got it, thanks.