Giardiniera is a food that originated in Italy. This Italian relish is made of different pickled vegetables pickled using either vinegar or oil. Here in the US, the appreciation for the giardiniera stems from the fact that this is an excellent and versatile condiment, adding sour and tang notes to the flavor of the food and making it more delicious and appetizing.
- Sottaceti, which means “under vinegar” is another term used to refer to pickled foods including giardiniera.
- The ingredients for giardiniera are usually very similar, but there is a version of giardiniera that includes green beans and okra.
- To make it more visually appealing, some use thin baby carrots instead of diced or chop carrots, providing variety in the shapes and colors found inside the jar.
- The most common type of giardiniera you’ll see in the US is what is known as the “Chicago-style” giardiniera.
Giardiniera Buying Guide
When buying giardiniera, consider the following:
Opt for homemade giardiniera or those made by small businesses operating in your community. They usually sell on farmers markets and online. By doing this, you are not only supporting small, local businesses, but you also get the chance to sample local cooking, which is usually influenced by old family recipes.
If you are buying commercial brands sold in groceries and supermarkets, take some time to read reviews and other information available online. This will help you narrow down your list of choices and lead you to brands that have the flavor profile that best matches your giardiniera preferences.
Read the label and check the ingredients to make sure you know what you are getting from the jar or bottle, especially if you have allergies or food restrictions.
If you are planning on stocking up your pantry with jars of giardiniera, check the label for the expiration date to make sure that the product will last the duration you expect them to keep in the pantry. Or at the very least, you are aware of when you should eat them before it goes bad.
Do not forget your due diligence when out for a grocery run. This means inspecting the quality of the product i.e. looking for damage on the container, broken seals, torn labels, etc that suggest that the item has been compromised and should not be sold.
Giardiniera Production & Farming in Texas
Different giardiniera brands are sold in Texas supermarkets and grocery stores. If you are in Texas, you can also buy giardiniera brands available outside of Texas or the US by ordering online. The ingredients used to make giardiniera are easily available in Texas, making it easy for locals to make their own homemade giardiniera.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Commercial pickling uses preservatives. Below are some of the preservatives that could have been used in making commercially-produced giardiniera.
- Sodium benzoate is added to improve the shelf life of the giardiniera.
- Alum is used to make the texture of the pickled vegetables crispy. This food additive is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
- Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are used to help preserve the pickled vegetables inside the glass bottle.
- Sodium chloride is used for preservation and to improve the taste of the giardiniera.
- Citric acid is used to boost the acidity or the sour flavor of the giardiniera.
Giardiniera is Italian food that has made its way to the United States after Italian immigrants started making giardiniera which was enjoyed by Italians and non-Italians alike. Chicago is known for its spicy giardiniera, although you can find giardiniera in different US states and around the world.
A giardiniera usually comes in glass jars with sealable lids. Their label indicates the name of the brand/manufacturer, ingredients, nutritional information, best before or expiration date, and storage instructions. Size varies, as well as the bottle designs, from one source/maker to another.
In traditional Italian eating, giardiniera is eaten as an antipasto or the first course of the meal. Pickled food like giardiniera is a traditional antipasto along with other foods like anchovies, cured meat, cheese, and olives. It is also common to eat giardiniera along with salads.
In the US, giardiniera is enjoyed by Italians and non-Italians as well. It is prepared in the traditional way, but there are also those who make a spicy version of the giardiniera.
Giardiniera has proven itself as a versatile food. It is great eaten with different kinds of food – with sausages and hotdogs, in different kinds of salads (vegetable salad, tuna salad, pasta salad), in bruschetta, hamburgers, and sandwiches (like muffuletta sandwich), with eggs, or as a pizza topping.
Giardiniera can be stored at room temperature. It can also be refrigerated. One thing you should not do is put giardiniera in the freezer.
Make your own spicy giardiniera
The ingredients of giardiniera include bell peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, gherkins, herbs and spices, and the liquid used for pickling, which can either be oil or vinegar (some use white vinegar, while others use red vinegar). For a spicy giardiniera, it is common to add peppers or chili flakes. Many people refer to this as the “Chicago-style giardiniera”.
Making your own spicy giardiniera is a great idea especially if you or members of the household enjoy eating this food. A jar of this at home guarantees that you will never have to worry if the nearby grocery store has stock just in case you are craving for giardiniera.
Yield: This makes 10 servings.
- Green bell peppers (2pcs)
- Red bell peppers (2pcs)
- Jalapeno peppers (8-10 pcs)
- Celery stalk (1)
- Carrot (1 pc)
- Onion (1 pc)
- Cauliflower florets (½ cup)
- Salt (½ cup)
- Garlic (finely chop two cloves)
- Dried Oregano (1 tablespoon)
- Red pepper flakes (1 teaspoon)
- Ground black pepper (1 teaspoon)
- Green olives (5 ounces)
- White vinegar (1 cup)
- Olive oil (1 cup)
Step 1. Combine peppers, jalapenos, celery, carrot, onion, cauliflower, and salt. Stir and add enough water to cover. Cover securely and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2. Drain the salty water and rinse the vegetables and mix garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and olives in a separate bowl before adding vinegar and olive oil.
Step 3. Add the vegetables to the bowl and mix everything together.
Step 4. Store in a container with a lid and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.