Mixed Vegetable Pickles: How to make them, easily with illustrated recipe and directions!
This month's notes: April 2015: Spring IS here! Strawberries and blueberries each have a very brief season; don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions
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Making Homemade Pickled Mixed Vegetables
( Also called Giardiniera, Italian mixed pickled vegetables)
Yield: About 10 pints
Making and canning your own mixed vegetable pickles, like the kind you buy at the grocery store is an easy way to use and preserve your extra produce for a cold winter night! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids! I'm experimenting with the various techniques, such as soaking the mixed vegetables overnight in lime solution first, using "pickle crisp" etc. I'' revise this page as I taste the results in the weeks to come!
Ingredients and Equipment
Directions - How to Make Pickles
Step 1 - Selecting the mixed vegetables
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality mixed vegetables!
At right is a of picture cucumbers from my garden - they are SO easy to grow. But be sure to grow the varieties that are labeled "pickling cucumbers" - they will be much more crisp!
The picture at right shows a good cucumber for pickling (bottom) and a bad one (top). The good one is dark green, firm, and not bloated. It has lots of warts!
The bad one is overripe, it has yellow or white areas in the skin, and the warts are almost all gone. If you cut it open, you will see developed seeds. You don't want seeds!
Overripe mixed vegetables make mushy pickles.
Step 3 -Wash and cut the vegetables!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water. Then prepare and measure out the veggies as described below:
- 4 lbs of 4- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers, washed, and cut into 1-inch slices (cut off 1/16 inch from blossom end and discard)
- 2 lbs peeled and quartered small onions
- 4 cups cut celery (1-inch pieces)
- 2 cups peeled and cut carrots (1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 cups cut sweet red peppers (1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 cups cauliflower flowerets
Step 4 - Get the jars and lids sanitizing
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars. If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.
Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!
Get the canner heating up
Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).
Start the water for the lids
Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes. Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 5 - Chill the veggies
Combine vegetables, cover with 2 inches of cubed or crushed ice, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours.
Step 6 - Heat the pickling mix and bring to a near boil
It's easy to make your own mixed vegetable pickling mix from spices, salt,
In large pot (8-quart or bigger), combine
- 5 cups white vinegar (5 percent)
- 1/4 cup prepared mustard
and mix well.
- 1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
- 3-1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tbsp celery seed
- 2 tbsp mustard seed
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Bring the mix to a near-boil - just simmering!
Be sure to use a NON-metal pot - or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. the metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy.
Step 7 - Drain the veggies, add to the pot and return to a boilDrain vegetables that have been chilling in the fridge, discard the liquid and add the veggies to the hot pickling solution. Cover and slowly return to a boil.
Step 8 - Drain the veggies (again)
As soon as you have brought the pot back to a boil, drain vegetables but this time SAVE the pickling solution.
Step 9 - Fill the jars with mixed vegetables and put the lid and rings on
Fill your sterile pint jars, or clean quarts, fresh from the dishwasher with the vegegies, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Then pour in the hot pickling solution, which you saved, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seat the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them.
Step 10 - Boil the jars in the canner
Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 10 minutes (or as directed by the instructions in the pickle mix, or with your canner). Remember to adjust for altitudes and larger jars! Note: some mixes, such as the Ball Kosher Dill mix call for only boiling for 5 minutes - I'll let you know how that works out! generally, the longer you process the jars, the more mushy (less crisp) the pickles will be.
Adjust lids and process according to the times in the table below (for most folks at or near sea level, 5 to 10 minutes):
|Recommended process time for Pickled Mixed Vegetables in a boiling-water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Step 11 - Done
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
When can you start eating the pickled vegetables? Well, it takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. That's at least 24 hours, but for best flavor wait 2 weeks! Ah... the wait...
Pickle Making Problems?
Some questions are answered at the bottom of this page. See this page for a more complete set of frequently asked pickling questions and answers
From left to right:
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]