The recipe below allows a lot of leeway. Use vegetables that are available, either from your garden or from the grocery store. As you may see in the picture, I used whole sweet cherry peppers from my garden, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. I also added slivered garlic to the mix.
Another way to make this recipe your own is play with the vinegar. You can substitute white or red wine vinegar, or, for a sweeter taste, use apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar. Make sure the vinegar you use is at least 5% acidity. This acidity is printed on the label of the vinegar container.
Using herbs and spices that you and your family like will also make your pickles unique. Jardiniere is a French word, but you can also give this recipe an Italian flare by using Italian herbs and spices such as oregano, marjoram, sweet basil, rosemary, and thyme. Using pre-mixed Italian seasoning is perfectly fine. For a little kick, add some hot pepper flakes.
Make this product your own by using flavors that you like. That said, never change the overall amount of vegetables in the recipe and never change the amount of vinegar. This recipe is tested for safety so the ratio of vegetable to vinegar is important and should not be changed.
Yield: about 5 pint jars
- 3 Bay leaves
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs pickling or canning salt
- 2 cups small cauliflower florets
- 1 ½ cups pickling or pearl onions (sliced onions may be substituted)
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into ¼ in slices
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks 1 ½ inches long and ½ inch wide. (Baby carrots may be used)
- 1 small zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices (I used Brussels sprouts)
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into ¼ inch strips
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼ inch strips
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼ inch strips
Prepare canner, jars and lids.
Tie bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic in a square of cheesecloth or using a spice ball.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and the spice bag/ball. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently for 5 minutes until spices have infused the liquid. Add cauliflower, onions, celery, carrots, and zucchini and return to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in red, yellow, and green peppers. Discard the spice bag/ball.
Pack veggies into hot jars to within a generous ½ inch of the top of the jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover veggies leaving ½ inch head-space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space , if necessary, by adding more hot pickling liquid. Wipe rim with clean cloth or paper-towel, center lid on jar, screw band down till resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes, adjust for altitude (see chart below). Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, label, and store.
Recipe source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 2006
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