A home, a yard, a never-ending adventure

A home, a yard, a never-ending adventure

Making Christmas Giardiniera

By Published On: December 13th, 20233.2 min readCategories: Garden, Photos
A jar of pickled Italian vegetables on a cutting board

Giardiniera with purple cauliflower is a lot more fun than the plain white kind

Last spring, just for giggles, I grew a few types of cauliflower including Violeta Italia, a purple heirloom variety. I left the plant in the ground after cutting the main head back in June. Much to my surprise, it produced side shoots and the other day I found a few small heads still growing.

The heads were small, so I figured I’d grab a few of the remaining peppers, carrots and celery in the garden and turn it into Giardiniera .

Little did I know that in the vinegar and brine, the cauliflower would turn the whole mix a crazy purple dotted with the orange and red of the peppers and carrots.

I haven’t tasted it yet, but if it’s any good, my neighbors are going to be getting jars of Italian pickled veggies that look like they came out of Willy Wonka’s factory for Christmas.

How to make Giardiniera

Prep Time: 30 Min.
Additional Time: 2 Weeks (for aging in the fridge or a cold cellar/garage)
Difficulty: Easy (super easy)

Note: We generally make about two quarts (64 ounces / half a gallon) of giardiniera at a time, so adjust your own quantities accordingly to make the amount you want. Exact proportions aren’t necessary.


  • 1 qt water
  • 1 qt white vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Salt

The basic vegetables

  • ½ a head of Cauliflower
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 bell pepper

Optional vegetable (use whatever is available)

  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans (in pod)
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Hot / Spicy peppers (e.g. pepperoncinis)
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Olive
  • Baby corn
  • Or any other fresh vegetable you may have that will remain firm in the liquid (i.e., not leafy stuff)

Herbs & Spices

  • 1 Tbsp Whole peppercorn
  • 2 Bay leaves (you need 1 leaf for each jar)
  • 2 Tsp Oregano
  • 2 Tsp Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Allspice (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Whole coriander (optional)
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seed (optional)


Step 1 – Chop the vegetables
Cut your veggies into small chunks. You want to leave them bite-sized (not diced) so they hold on to their crunch in the liquid.

Step 2 – Mix the liquids and heat
Put your vinegar, water and salt into a pot and put it on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

When all the salt is dissolved, add your herbs and spices (except the bay leaf), and bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 3 – Jar the chopped vegetables
While your mixture is heating, pack your chopped vegetables into jars. Don’t pack them too tightly so it’s easy to remove the airspace when you add the liquid.

Add a bay leaf to each jar.

Step 4 – Add the liquid
Once your liquid comes to a boil, immediately pour the hot liquid into your veggie-packed jars. Leave about 3/4 inch of headspace in the jar (tap the jars with a wooden spoon to get rid of any trapped air bubbles).

Use a slotted spoon to scoop any spices still in the pot and add them to your jars.

When you’re done you should have about 1/2 inch of headspace left. Add a little oil (olive, etc.) to bring the liquid level up to ¼ of headspace.

Step 5 – Seal and wait
Seal your jars tightly.

If you’re going to store them at room temperature, put them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to be sure they’ll keep properly. If you’re going to store them in the refrigerator, let the jars cool to room temperature and stick them in the fridge.

Wait at least 2 weeks before opening. That’ll let the vegetables pick up the flavor from your pickling liquid and the herbs and spices.

Step 6 – Enjoy!
Your giardiniera is ready!

Enjoy it with your favorite foods. Store the remainder (if there is any) in the refrigerator.

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About the Author

author avatar
Sage Osterfeld
I’m just a guy with nearly an acre of dirt, a nice little mid-century ranch house and a near-perfect climate. But in my mind I’m a landscaper survivalist craftsman chef naturalist with a barbeque the size of a VW and my own cable TV show. I like to write about the stuff I build, grow and see here at Sage's Acre.

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