So much news lately regarding kimchi—Korea’s super tasty, super healthy, naturally fermented national dish. I’ve recently shared a recipe for White Kimchi with you. Then two recipes featuring kimchi: a tempting Kimchi Fried Rice and a light and satisfying Kimchi Omelet.Today, however, you’re meeting your new favorite ferment, giardiniera.
You may already know of and tasted these Italian pickled vegetables. Most grocery stores sell this shelf stable (meaning without the health benefits of live and active cultures) and hotly spiced giardiniera.
In contrast, the flavors of homemade giardiniera are much more complex and vibrant. Prepare it yourself and you choose the vegetables and the heat level. For more heat, just add additional hot peppers and keep their seeds intact.
A bit wiser now
My first experiment with giardiniera was rather mediocre. I cut the vegetables too large and too thick to ferment in four days. At the time I knew so little about fermentation. I was afraid to let it sit out fermenting at room temperature any longer than suggested in the recipe. So into the fridge it went. Yet the flavors hadn’t fully developed, nor the vegetables softened. A bit wiser now, I cut the vegetables smaller (using the 2mm slicing disc on my food processor for many of them) so that 4-5 days of fermenting makes a most mouth-watering giardiniera. UPDATE: next time I’m going to try the 4mm slicing disc for the peppers and onions, and possibly the carrots and celery as well. Let me know how it turns out for you.
Begin and/or continue your fermentation journey
This giardiniera recipe is so simple to prepare. Being naturally fermented, it provides many nutrients along with the health-supporting probiotic bacteria. A salt and water brine gets poured over the vegetables. No need to even make a batch of yogurt cheese for the whey. Begin and/or continue your fermentation journey with this easy recipe. One taste of these crisp and colorful vegetables and you’ll want more. Enjoy it in a little bowl by itself, added to sandwiches, as part of an antipasto platter or as the base of a green salad.
A bold addition to sandwiches
The April 2013 Bon Appetit Magazine’s feature story on sandwiches quotes Chef Ryan Pera of Houston’s Revival Market. Chef Pera suggests chopping “some olives with giardiniera in a food processor, and it’s a nice spread—sour and crunchy. Put it on a roast beef sandwich or even a grilled cheese.” Sounds to me like a luscious and most original tapenade.
Everybody’s doing it
BTW, fermentation, the traditional art of preserving fresh food by encouraging the growth of good bacteria, made the list as one of this year’s food trends to follow. Are you a part of this trend? Or feeling a bit apprehensive to begin?
Great Fermentation Workshops
“What a delightful, informative time spent learning about fermentation. The White Kimchi with Black Fried Rice and Poached Egg was delicious…the fig jam (so creamy, yummy), Giardiniera, crispy nuts, on and on, all the delicious fermented foods which I could eat all day, every day. Thanks so much for a most wonderful experience. Being a visual learner, I now feel quite confident in attempting to make these healthy recipes.” TS
Fantastic and fun workshops these past two Saturdays. Such an important topic. I so enjoy demystifying the process, discussing the benefits and sharing lacto-fermentation recipes with everyone. Thank you, Robin Mascari, for these great photographs capturing the fun we shared during these workshops.
More requests have come in for another Bozeman fermentation workshop. Use the contact form if you’re interested. I’ll let you know once I set the date for it.
So many delicious foods to prepare and enjoy featuring Spring’s bounty. I look forward to sharing them with you.
Inspired by and adapted from a recipe by Rebekah Mocerino.
I used to layer the vegetables individually in the jar. The jar looked beautiful. At serving time, though, it was difficult to get a variety of vegetables. Now, I toss the vegetables together before packing them into the jar. Still beautiful and so much easier to serve.
I’ve begun slicing the peppers, onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the food processor using the 2mm slicing blade. Very fast and very efficient.
Update: The colder the weather, the longer the fermentation time required. It’s mid-December, and it’s taking about a week to ferment to my liking.
3½ cups small cauliflower florets
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, ¼-inch thick slices (1½ cups)
½ onion, thinly sliced (1½ cups)
1½ cups thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large Serrano pepper (or more to taste) seeded or not and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unrefined salt
4 cups water
- Prepare each of the vegetables. Toss them together with the herbs in a large bowl.
- Add them to the jar, packing them down as you go.
- Fill each jar with the brine, leaving 1½ -2 inches of headroom—the space at the top, between the rim of the jar and the top of the vegetables.
- Weight the vegetables so they are completely submerged in the brine.
- Cover the jar with a plastic bag held in place with a rubber band.
- Place the jar in a closed cupboard. Let the giardiniera ferment at room temperature 4 days before checking the flavor. If you prefer the flavor more sour, continue fermenting. If you love it as it is, transfer the jars to the refrigerator.
- “Burp” the jars once daily (to release any built-up gasses) while the giardiniera is fermenting.