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Peterson Garden Project

Chef demonstration
All seasons

Giardiniera means “female gardener” in Italian—fitting, since often women were responsible for managing and harvesting the family vegetable garden and finding ways to preserve a mix of summer vegetables for the cold winter months.

Traditionally, giardiniera is made with peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, garlic, and spices in a vinegar brine. Chicago-style giardiniera, which likely came to Chicago with a wave of Italian immigrants from Sicily during the 1900’s, varies slightly, with the addition of oil, and occasionally olives.

Makes 4 pints


  • Vegetables
    • About 10 cups of mixed vegetables, traditionally cauliflower, carrots, celery,and sweet and hot peppers- green beans are also a fun addition! Feel free to improvise with whatever vegetables are in season or that you have on hand.Fun tip – using purple cauliflower or purple carrots will turn your brine bright pink!
    • Garlic cloves, lightly crushed (one per pint, or more to taste)
    • Herbs and spices to taste (oregano, bay leaves, crushed red pepper, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and dill are all delicious), about 1-2 teaspoons per pint jar or more to taste
  • Brine
    • 1 3/4 cups distilled white vinegar
    • 1 cup white wine vinegar
    • 2 1/4 cups water
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup kosher salt


  1. Wash vegetables thoroughly and cut them into your preferred shape and size. Diced vegetables are easy to use on sandwiches, while slices and larger chunks are great for a pickle platter or cheese tray.
  2. In a non-reactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  3. Divide vegetables, garlic, and spices equally between the jars. Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables. Release any trapped air bubbles in the jar by sliding a chopstick or thin plastic knife along the sides of the jars. Top with additional brine, if needed.
  4. If not waterbath canning, refrigerate pickles for at least one week. Once opened, pickles will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator.

For Canning:

  1. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace in each jar. Close the jars with two-piece caps.
  2. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
  3. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least one week. Once opened, store in the refrigerator

For Chicago-style giardiniera:

    1. Allow pickles to brine for at least two weeks.
    2. Open pickles and drain off brine (reserve brine for salad dressing or quick pickles).
    3. Top vegetables with olive oil (add chopped olives if you’d like) and store in the refrigerator for at least two weeks before serving.

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