READY IN: 2hrs 30mins
YIELD: 2 gallons


  • Veggies
  • 2 -3
    Japanese eggplants, stemmed,halved lengthwise,or quartered if large cut in 2 inch lengths
  • 3 -4
    crookneck yellow squash or 3 -4 zucchini, stemmed,quartered lengthwise,cut in 2 inch lengths (Mom can't have zucchini, but she can have yellow... weird, ain't it?)
  • 12
    lb white pearl onions or 1/2 lb very small boiling onions
  • 1 12
    heads garlic, peeled,large cloves halved (yes, heads)
  • 1
    lb small white mushroom, cleaned and ends of stems trimmed,left whole
  • 2
    red bell peppers, seeded and cut in 1/2 inch strips
  • 2
    yellow bell peppers or 2 orange bell peppers, seeded and cut in 1/2 inch strips
  • 1
    cup daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/2 x 2 inch batons,about
  • 1
    bunch small radish, greens and ends trimmed
  • 12
    lb green beans, lightly trimmed,strings removed if desired
  • 1
    package baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 4 -6
    small banana peppers, slit down one side,seeded if desired
  • 1 -4
    very small jalapenos or 1 -4 other hot pepper, slit down one side,seeded if desired
  • 8 -10
    small sweet red cherry peppers, if you can find them,slit down one side,seeded if desired
  • 8 -10
    young thin asparagus spears, trimmed ('cause Mom can't have them) (optional)
  • 2
    heads cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 -3
    stalks celery, trimmed,strings removed if desired,cut in 1 ½ inch lengths
  • 6
    ounces grape tomatoes or 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, washed,about (grape tomatoes are much prettier than cherries, but it's your choice. If all else fails, seed and cu)
  • 1
    (9 -18 ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained (only ‘cause Mom doesn't like them) (optional)
  • 2
    packages fresh basil, rinsed and stemmed
  • 1
    package fresh oregano, rinsed and stemmed
  • 1
    package fresh chives, rinsed and wilted ends trimmed if necessary
  • 1
    package fresh dill, stemmed ('cause Mom can't have fresh dill, though she can have the dill seed used in the brine) (optional)
  • Brine
  • 4
    cups distilled white vinegar, plus additional to fill jar,maybe a gallon total
  • 1
    tablespoon dill seed
  • 1
    tablespoon celery seed
  • 3
    inches fresh ginger, peeled,and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2
    teaspoons peppercorns (white, if you have them, otherwise black is OK, but it will darken the brine to some degree)
  • 12
    cup sugar, more to taste
  • 2 -4
    2 -4 tablespoons pickling salt or 2 -4 tablespoons uniodized table salt, plus additional for salting the eggplants and squash (definitely NOT iodized salt, which will darken the veggies a bunch)


  • Note: Substitute any veggies you like, and omit any that you don't like, but avoid green veggies unless the giardiniera will be used within a couple weeks; green turns gray rapidly, though they will still taste fine.
  • **If desired, a more mellow taste can be obtained by using half distilled white vinegar and half rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • You do not want to use any colored vinegar, because they will give the veggies a dull, muddy color.
  • If you followed the preparation directions in the ingredients section, you have already completed most of your preparation work, but there's still a little left to do.
  • Rinse any veggies that haven't been done, and spin or pat them dry, or whatever seems appropriate.
  • Place the squash and eggplant pieces in a colander, sprinkle the cut sides generously with kosher salt, and set aside for their juices to drain.
  • Bring a medium saucepan, half full of water, to a full rolling boil, and fill your sink half full of ice and water; lots of ice.
  • Drop the unpeeled pearl onions in the boiling water for 50-60 seconds to loosen their peels, and transfer to sink using a slotted spoon.
  • When cooled, cut off the ends, squeeze gently, and the onions should just pop out.
  • If you want to keep the different veggies separated so you can compose the jar (s) of pickled stuff, have someone help you transfer stuff from the sink to a colander to drain, then into baggies or to small dishes as soon as cooled.
  • Otherwise, just keep dumping them into the sink, adding more ice whenever necessary.
  • Blanch the peeled garlic in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to sink.
  • Repeat with mushrooms, bell peppers, daikon, radishes, green beans, carrots, banana, jalapeno, and cherry peppers, and asparagus spears.
  • The cauliflower should be blanched for about 60 seconds, and the celery and grape tomatoes for 10 seconds each, just long enough to set their color.
  • Wash salt off squash and eggplant, and blanch them for 30 seconds, then transfer to sink just long enough to cool, then blot dry.
  • If you have no one to help, it will just take twice as long to do the blanching stuff.
  • If you would prefer, steam the veggies, and double all the cooking times.
  • Steaming is my preference, as it maintains more of the natural flavor.
  • Regardless of other considerations, don't let any of the veggies soak in the cold water for too long, or they will get soggy, which we don't want.
  • They will get somewhat soggy while pickling, and we don't want them to be any worse than necessary.
  • If desired, don't blanch anything, or blanch for 10 seconds to kill any surface critters on the veggies, but the veggies will lose color faster.
  • Some veggies will lose all color within hours, others will take longer; the bright red radishes will turn almost white, and the brilliant purple eggplants will become a pale pastel lavender color, but they still taste good.
  • The green stuff will slowly turn grayish, which is the only reason broccoli isn't included in the recipe (other than the fact that Mom can't have it. Otherwise it would be listed as an optional ingredient. Go ahead and include it if you like it and don't plan to store the giardiniera for too long).
  • To make the brine, combine distilled vinegar with all other ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and stir until everything is well combined.
  • Turn on your stove vent fan.
  • Although this stuff really smells great, it will definitely clear your sinuses when the vinegar starts to boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 30 minutes for flavors to infuse.
  • Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes, but still quite hot.
  • Strain through a coarse sieve, and rinse solids in sieve thoroughly to remove most of the celery seed and other fine grained stuff, keeping most of the mustard and dill seeds and the peppercorns.
  • Be sure to incorporate some of these spices with the veggies when building the jar (s).
  • While doing all this, you should have been sterilizing your canning jar (s).
  • The easiest way is to run the jars and lids through the dishwasher on longest, hottest cycle, including the full drying cycle, and then put them on a towel in a 225 degree F oven so they can dry, and the heat can kill any bugs that didn't die in the dishwasher.
  • We use 2 rubber-gasket one-gallon jars, but you can use smaller canning jars if desired.
  • This will be kept in the fridge without being processed in a boilingwater bath, and it will still keep for months.
  • Rinse, dry, and stem your chives, basil, dill, and oregano, if you haven't already done so.
  • Break out the thawed artichoke hearts, and cut them into bite-size piece.
  • Arrange all the other veggies on the kitchen counter if you are going to try to make the jars look pretty; otherwise, just throw everything in a giant bowl, and toss to combine.
  • Pack all the veggies into the jar(s) fairly tightly, arranging them as desired; don't forget to insert the herbs as you go.
  • If you end up with a few extra veggies that won't fit in the jars, throw them in a lidded plastic bowl that is just large enough to hold them; this shouldn't happen, though; ingredient amounts are pretty precise.
  • Divide the brine equally between the jars of veggies; it's probably best to use a measuring cup, one cup here, one cup there, saving a little for the leftovers if desired.
  • Top up the jars to the brim with distilled white vinegar.
  • Use a chopstick, skewer, or skinny spoon to remove air bubbles from the jars, and tap the jars on the counter to help remove bubbles, repeating a couple times.
  • Add more vinegar if necessary. Wipe off the top of the jars, and seal them.
  • After 12 hours, gently shake or roll jars, turn them upside down, and allow to set for another 12 hours at room temperature.
  • Place jars in refrigerator for 1-2-3-4 weeks to age and mellow, though they taste pretty good after just 1-2 days; it's up to you!
  • They should keep in the fridge for at least 6 months... probably longer... but the colors will get uglier, and the veggies will get mushier.
  • They will still taste great, though.