This summer I’m having a lot of fun learning the basics of food preservation. First I wrote about making jams and jellies, and this week I had article in the Topeka Capital-Journal about pickling.
I do a little dance each time I hear a jar's lid pop as it seals. The Picky Eater just shakes his head at my excitement.
In the article, I wrote about my first memories of homemade pickles being of my Mamaw making jars in her
farmhouse kitchen. I have a card from her recipe file
from 1971 that lists all the pickles she made that summer, including 40 pints
of dill pickles and 12 of lime pickles (named not for the citrus fruit but
because the cucumbers were soaked in lime and the pickles were a bright green
In fact, I have a photo of Mamaw coming up from the cellar with a jar of pickles in her hand. I won’t post it here. Her hair is in curlers, and even though she’s no longer with us, I know she would be mortified if I put it out there for all to see.
The photo makes me smile every time I see it. She didn't know I was taking it. Bad granddaughter.
While I like pickles made with cucumbers, giardiniera is my favorite. This Italian mix of pickled veggies typically calls for cauliflower, carrots, celery, and red pepper. Since I’m not a fan of red peppers, I added extra carrot instead.
I also made bread and butter pickles. While there are many recipes available, I decided to try the Ball Bread and Butter Pickle Mix found with the canning supplies. I just followed the recipe on the jar. Yum!
To read all of my pickling tips, just click here. The giardiniera recipe is also in the article, but I like it so much I had to share it here as well.
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen D. I. Y. Cookbook by the editors at
Makes 4 1-pint jars
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets
4 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick on an angle
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 3/4 cups distilled white vinegar
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt
Wash 4 1-pint jars in warm, soapy water or the dishwasher. Also wash the screw bands by hand. In a large pot or canner, place the jars without lids on a rack so they do not touch the bottom. If you don’t have a rack, place the rings on the bottom and set the jars on top. Fill with water to 2 inches above the jars. Cover and heat to boiling, and then boil for 10 minutes. After that time, turn heat to low and keep the jars in the water until needed.
Place the flat canning lids in a sauce pan off the heat and pour some of the liquid from the boiling pot over the top to cover. This will soften the rubber to help the lids seal.
In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, carrots, celery, and chilies. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and bring the mixture back to a boil.
Remove the jars from the hot water and turn up the heat to bring the canner water back to a boil. Working with one jar at a time, pack with the vegetable mixture to the neck of the jar. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture over the vegetables until completely covered, leaving 1/2-inch headspace from the top. Run a small rubber spatula, plastic knife, or bamboo skewer between the jar and the food, pressing towards the center, to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim with a damp cloth. Remove a flat lid from the warm water and place on top of the jar. Screw on a ring. Continue until the remaining jars are filled.
When the water in the canner is boiling, gently place the jars inside, making sure they do not touch each other or the outside of the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 to 2 inches. Cover, bring the water back to a boil, and process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Allow the jars to remain in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner and place on a dry towel to cool completely, leaving 1 to 2 inches of space between the jars. You will hear the lids start to pop as they seal, but it may take some time. Let the jars cool 12 to 24 hours before checking the seal. If the ring band has loosed during processing, do not tighten. This could interfere with the sealing process.
To check the seal on the cooled jars, press on the lid. If it springs back, the jar is not sealed. Also remove the ring and to lift the lid with your fingertips. If it stays tight, the seal is good. If after 24 hours a jar doesn’t seal, just store the unsealed jar in the refrigerator and enjoy it first. Also refrigerate any jar after it’s opened.
The vegetables with be tender and flavorful in a week, though you can eat them right away if you can’t wait. Store the sealed jar in the pantry for up to 1 year.