Leena Cans: Giardiniera for Ella’s Birthday!

By on May 15, 2013 in Canning, Leena Cooks, Pickles, Recipes, vegetable | 0 comments

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My first big canning of the season: giardiniera for my daughter's 2nd birthday party.

Life has been a blur, friends. I have hardly had time to document, let alone blog about my culinary adventures! I have been canning up pickles galore for my daughter’s second birthday party picnic (garlic dill asparagus and pickled carrots to name a few). And having a two year old is trying wonderful and impossible a joy to can around.

“What you doin, Mommy?” is both adorable and just an innocent question…the first two times it is asked. The next 37 time sort of make me want to stuff her adorableness into a mason jar, water bath can her and not open until her 18th birthday.

The adorable persistence in action. In this photo, it clearly won.

So. Her birthday has a picnic theme because I’d rather cook my ass off BEFORE the party, not the day of, nor do I want to deal with utensils. The adults are getting a muffaletta sandwich, which is a popular New Orleans sandwich that basically consists of Italian cold cuts (I’m using Genoa salami, spicy coppa and mortadella) layered onto focaccia bread with cheese and this awesome olive salad. Pretty much all of the recipes I have found for the olive salad starts with a jar of store bought giardiniera. Enter my first major canning project of 2013!

My veggie mix for my giardiniera: red and yellow bell peppers, onions, carrots, cauliflower and celery.

Giardiniera is just a fancy word for Italian pickled vegetables, and most canning recipes use a basic quick pickling method using a brine of vinegar, water and salt, and sometimes varied it with the addition of some sugar. I am a fan of pickling recipes without sugar (unless I am making a sweet pickle), so I went with the former type. Using a recipe from a published cookbook, I fiddled with the spices and veggies used based on what I wanted and what could be found in my local markets.

Most giardiniera has pepperonchini, a mildly spicy Italian pepper, in it, but I couldn’t find it for the life of me (and I live near a Berkeley Bowl, a grocery store with one of the most comprehensive produce sections I have ever seen in this country). So I had to sub in hot peppers that were available, and since they were considerably spicier than pepperonchinis, I only put a few in each jar.

I substituted jalapenos in my giardiniera for some heat and green color.

I made two variations—a basic kind with white vinegar brine, and a second with apple cider vinegar brine. These being Italian pickles, I seasoned the pickles accordingly.

Red pepper flakes, bay leaves, dried oregano leaves, and garlic cloves. Lots of garlic.

The only thing different about this recipe is that it finishes each jar of pickles with a small bit of olive oil before sealing and water bath canning. While I’ve never personally done this to a jar of pickles that I have canned before, I can attest to finding several published canning recipes with the same instructions, so I feel this practice is safe.

My finished jars of giardiniera! I have enough for the party, plus a few to last me throughout the rest of the year when I get my muffaletta craving.

I’ll post photos of the finished muffaletta with the olive salad after the party. In the mean time, check out these quick pickles for yourself!


 Leena’s Giardiniera Canning Recipe

: Based off a recipe from The Art of Preserving http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/preserving-the-harvest-giardiniera-from-the-art-of-preserving-book-review1.htm

  • 4 whole carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, medium dice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, medium dice
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 cups of white or apple cider vinegar, 6% acidity
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 18 peeled cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 6 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced thin

 Yields 6 pints

  1. Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl to evenly distribute.
  2. Put vinegar, water and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Once boiling, lower heat to keep warm.
  3. Have your water bath canner starting to boil, and your jars already sanitized and held somewhere warm, like a heated dishwasher.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and place a sheet pan in there to hold filled cans.
  5. Fill a small pot with hot water, canning lids and bring to a boil.
  6. When brine has started to boil, place two hot jars on the counter, and fill each jar with 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 2 slices of jalapeno, 1 bay leaf, and three cloves of garlic.
  7. Fill the jars with enough of your mixed veg mixture to leave 1 inch at the top of the jar, and don’t be afraid to press it in there tightly.
  8. Ladle hot brine over each of the jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the top of each can (if brine leaves less than 1/2 inch head space after this, pour out some brine.). Wipe the rim clean, place a hot jar lid, and lightly screw on the band. Place in oven to keep warm while filling the other jars. Make sure oven is only at 200 F. Any higher, and jars will break.
  9. Once all jars are filled, place into a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and allow to cool on a towel until completely cool to touch, then store in cabinet for up to one year. Store any unsealed jars in fridge for one month.
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