How to preserve summer vegetables and enjoy them all year long

By Published On: June 26th, 20244 min readCategories: Recipes

Don’t let the bounty of the vegetable garden go to waste, make this tasty, simple Mediterranean snack and condiment

A basket of freshly picked vegetables

Surplus veggies from the garden

In early summer the vegetable garden is just beginning to peak. Many of the early spring crops are (or are getting close to being) finished for the season while the summer stuff is just starting to ripen.

Faced with a flood of fresh fruits and veggies it’s always a race to eat them, share with your friends and neighbors, and can/jar/freeze/dehydrate or otherwise preserve all this food before it goes bad (I really, really hate to waste food).

When I was younger, I wasn’t familiar with all the ways food could be preserved, so for the most part, I just canned or froze our vegetables, which was okay, but a little boring flavor-wise.
Then, in my late 30s, when the kids were a little older and would eat a wider variety of dishes,I discovered the wonders of Mediterranean foods, and all the delicious ways people of the region preserve their garden bounty.

One of the most common ways is “under vinegar”, which is basically pickling, though most of these foods taste nothing like what we Americans commonly think of as a “pickle” (i.e., a gherkin cucumber).

Whether it’s “giardiniera” (Italy), “encurditos” (Spain), “tursi” (Greece), “torshi” (Serbia & Turkey), or any of the other dozen varieties of pickled fruits and vegetables dishes from the Mediterranean area, these foods run the gamut from spicy relishes to tangy, crunchy, side dishes and snackables.

Terri’s Fresh Pickled Vegetable Mix

Vegetables on a cutting board

My vegetable selection ready for chopping

While the vegetables and flavors vary by region, the methods are all pretty much the same and universally delicious. Personally, I don’t stick to any specific regional style. Rather I’ll pretty much put any veggie that’s available into my own mix and then spice it according to what I think will be the best flavor combination.

For this particular mix, I’m using a hodgepodge of spring and summer vegetables of which we have a surplus – summer squash, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, green beans, sweet peppers, carrots, and even a few ripe grape tomatoes.

Since I’m fond of things at the spicy, pepper / mustard-end of the flavor scale (not so much the hot chili peppers), I tend to lean on whole black pepper and brown mustard seed in combination with fresh garden herbs like oregano, thyme, cilantro, dill and bay leaf, but there are plenty of other combinations you could go with too.

If you’re interested in the details of making your own pickled veggie mix, check out in my giardiniera recipe here.

While that recipe sticks with the Italian standards of cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumbers and peppers, feel free to wing it with your own combo. It’s super easy and almost impossible to mess up.

I’m making a full gallon (4 liters) of the mix and packing it in a single 1 gallon jar because I’m lazy and we’ll eat all of it. But you can just as easily divide it among multiple pint or quart jars.



  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots (even ugly ones)
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans
  • Radish
  • Red Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomato

Herbs & Spices

  • Allspice berries
  • Black peppercorns
  • Bay Leaf
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Thyme

Other Stuff

  • ⅓-cup Kosher salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar


(Click here for detailed instructions)

  1. Chop all the vegetables into fork-sized chunks.
    Chopped vegetables in a pot

    The chopped veggies, herbs and spices

  2. Add your water, salt, and vinegar to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add your herbs and spices to the liquid and bring back to a boil.
  4. While the liquid is heating, pack your veggies loosely into jar(s).
  5. Add the boiling liquid to your jar(s) and tap the jar to release the trapped air bubbles. There should be about half a finger’s width of headspace between the liquid and the top.
  6. Add a bit of olive oil to the jar and seal.
  7. If you’re going to store the jars at room temperature, place them in a water bath for 10 minutes to kill any remaining bacteria and store. If you’re going to refrigerate them, allow them to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  8. Allow the mix to sit for at least 2 weeks (I like 4 weeks) before eating.
A jar of giardiniera on a countertop

Nothing beats your own pickled vegetable mix for flavor and frugality

That’s it! Now you have delicious pickled vegetable mix you can enjoy as an appetizer, side dish or condiment all year long.

Have a comment or question? Share it with us! ↓

Share This Story on Your Social Media →

About the Author

author avatar
Terri Osterfeld
I'm Sage's wife and the real person in charge of Sage's Acre. He gets the yard, I get the house and the kitchen (unless I need him to do something in the house). I love making comfort food and baking, especially bread. I have no special training, but I did raise a herd of children and burned plenty before I perfected my technique. I love the simple, practical and homegrown. I also have a weakness for dachshunds (don't judge!).

You Might Also Like These

Latest Posts


Enter your email address to subscribe to get new articles by email

Brought to you by

Go to Top