PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES
Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money. A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…Cauliflower and Giardiniera.
Before we get to the Giardiniera: Let’s Talk Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cool season crop from the cabbage family. Temperamental; cauliflower prefers temperatures to remain in the 60’s range. It the weather is too hot or too cold, smaller heads will be produced.
When Cauliflower begins to form, the head will be quite loose. As the cauliflower grows larger, pin the large leaves together with clothespins to protect the forming head from the sun. This will prevent “yellowing” and keep the cauliflower head a creamy white color (depending on variety).
Once the head is compact and firm it’s time to harvest. Cut away the cauliflower with a sharp knife, leaving a few leaves around the cauliflower head for protection.
After harvesting it is a good idea to soak cauliflower in a sink filled with salt water (about 1/3 cup salt) for about 30 minutes. The brine solution rids the cauliflower of any unwanted insects and pests. Unwanted travelers will simply rise to the surface of the water where they can be easily washed away. After the brine soak, rinse the cauliflower with running water to remove salt and drain the excess water. At this point your cauliflower is ready to prepare or store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.
What is Giardiniera?
According to Wikipedia “Italian giardiniera is also called “sotto aceti”, which means “under vinegar”, a common term for pickled foods. It is typically eaten as an antipasto or with salads.”
Giardineira is a great way to preserve cauliflower. The pickled crunch and spicy bite from the jalapeno is a real treat.
Giardiniera is great for sandwiches, gives zip to pasta, and shines up a salad. Giardiniera will also take your Bloody Mary to a whole new level. I have to admit here, I also love how pretty it looks all lined up on my pantry shelves. A work of art, plain and simple!
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How to make Giardiniera
The following recipe is processed using a water bath canning process. If you have never canned before or need a refresher the National Center for Home Food Preservation is the gold standard of information. I would encourage you to head over and read their general canning information.
This recipe can also be used as is for refrigerator Giardiniera. Simply follow all the steps up to the canning process and place in the refrigerator instead. I would suggest cutting the recipe in half if this is your preference. The Giardiniera will take about a week to develop good flavor in the refrigerator and should keep just fine for 6 weeks or more.
- 2 medium sized heads of cauliflower, (about 12 cups florets)
- I small onion, cut in half, ¼ inch slice
- 1 large red bell pepper, ¼ inch slice
- 3 large carrots, cleaned and peeled, ½ in slice
- 2 large jalapenos
- 16 small cloves garlic
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 2⅔ cups water
- 4 tsp pickling salt
- ¼ tsp tri-colored peppercorns for each pint jar
- ⅛ tsp pickle crisp for each pint jar (optional)
- Clean and sterilize 8 pint jars, lids and bands. Keep warm.
- Combine cauliflower, onions, carrots and peppers in large roasting pan, (or something big enough to hold the mix).
- Combine sugar, vinegar, water and salt in large stainless steel or enamel pan.
- Bring to full boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the sugar from sticking.
- Meanwhile, place vegetable into warm jars, packing tightly to ½ inch from top of jar.
- Pour hot liquid over vegetables filling jars to within ½ inch of top of jar. Wipe rim with clean cloth and place lid and screw type band.
- Process jars in hot water bath for 10 minutes from when water begins to boil
- Remove jars from canner, allow to cool for 24 hours.
- For best flavor, wait at least 2 weeks before opening. The longer the pickles sit, the better the flavor will develop.
Recipe adapted from Winter Pickles: The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round (afilliate link)
How to Preserve the Harvest Series: Cauliflower and Giardiniera shared with:
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