Giardiniera (Italian-Style Pickled Vegetables)

Loosley translated from Italian, the word giardiniera means 'from the garden,' and everything you find is giardiniera is indeed from the garden.  Although recipes differ, mine contains the standard carrots, celery and peppers yet I try to do things a little different by using purple and green cauliflower, as well as fresh garlic cloves and baby white and red onions from the farmer's market.  Even my carrots are baby carrots from the farmer's market, left in their rustic state - I simply scrub them and do not peel them.  To me, giardiniera is about nibbling on brightly-colored vegetables that inspire conversation.  What you need to understand about making this recipe is that it is time-involved, which is why I like to sit at the kitchen table with my daughter and do the prep work together and talk about our week as it makes the work load lighter and faster!

Lastly, I brine all my vegetables in a large, 2 1/2 gallon jar as it needs to be refrigerated for 18-24 hours before you flash cook and can them.

2 heads cauliflower, I use 1 green and 1 purple - cut into medium florets
1 lb. carrots, I use baby carrots from farmer's market
2 red peppers, seeded and rough chopped
2 yellow peppers, seeded and rough chopped
1 lb. celery, rough chopped
2 lb. baby onions, I use half red and half white
3 heads fresh garlic, peeled (roughly 24-30 cloves)
12 c. water
2 c pickling salt
2 qts. white vinegar
2 qts. filtered water
1/4 c. yellow mustard seed
1/4 c. brown mustard seed
1/4 c. celery seed
2 Tien Tsin dried peppers
3 c. sugar
1 lb. unpitted olive mix from quality olive bar
1 fresh bay leaf for packing in each jar.

Place 12x. water and salt into jar and stir to dissolve.  Add all of the vegetables, except the olives (these will be added directly to the jars.  Place cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.   Before you start the next step, make sure you have sterilized your jars and your canning water is simmering you plan on placing the giardiniera in right beforehand.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and peppers into one large pot (or two smaller pots, dividing the mixture evenly) and bring to a boil, cooking for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and discard the chili peppers.

Divide the vegetables between the jars, making sure to add the olives and slide one fresh bay leaf into the side of the jar facing the top outward.  Add liquid, making sure you have 1/2" headroom in the top of each jar.  Shake to remove any air bubbles, then wipe the rims of each jar and place rubber rings and lids.

Place jars into canner, making sure they are submerged at least 3" below the water.  Bring to a boil and process for ten minutes.  Remove jars and cool.  Check seals for leakage by turning them upside down, if there are any with leaks place into refrigerator and consume in two weeks time.  Store other jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year - enjoy!

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