I’m relatively new to the canning world and, although at times it feels a bit overwhelming, there are a few basic principles that help me better understand preserving food. Some things are easier to put by than others and acid has a lot to do with it.
It seems that lemon juice and vinegar are the go-to mediums for preserving just about anything. I began last year and so far had success with naturally high-acid food like preserving meyer lemons and canning tomatoes; next came pickled beets and they turned out well, too.
But when I don’t want to pull out the big canning pot, it’s nice to have a quick and easy way to preserve a bunch of veggies hanging around the fridge. This recipe uses a lot of the same ingredients as giardiniera except here the vegetables are cooked and there’s no oil so it will last in your fridge a lot longer. I used Indian spices like curry powder and cumin but it would be great as a Mediterranean style as well.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut down to small florets
- 3 carrots, julienned or sliced crosswise
- 2 celery stalks, julienned or sliced crosswise
- 1/2 to 1 onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 quarts white vinegar
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespooons salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 4 peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 12 cloves
- pinch red chili flakes, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 tablespoons pickling spices
- Run several pint jars through the rinse cycle in dishwasher; leave them in there when done to keep warm
- Clean jar lids with hot soapy water; set on dish towel to dry
- Wrap spices in triple layered cheesecloth or place in a spice bag
- Fill a large stockpot with water; bring to boil
- Add vegetables to pot and boil 4 to 5 minutes; drain
- Return empty pot to stove, add sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard and spice bag; bring to boil
- Let it keep boiling for a few minutes, then add vegetables
- Turn down heat, simmering vegetables for a few minutes
- Take off heat and allow to cool a bit before ladling into the clean warm jars
- Be sure to fill with liquid to top, leaving only about 1/2 inch of head space
- Place a square of doubled-up plastic wrap over the mouth of each jar, then tightly screw on lids
- Allow to cool on counter; store in refrigerator
This will last in your fridge for several months if you fill and seal the jars well. I have popped open a jar after many months and it tasted like I made it last week. Lip-smackin good!
For me having the right equipment can make a potentially messy job ~ such as ladling hot liquid into small jars ~ less daunting. A canning funnel like the one I mentioned in this entry helps me avoid big spills. More fun less mess!