Giardiniera — 41 Comments

  1. You mention to let the giardiniera ferment for a few weeks. In your experience, is three weeks optimal for flavour or does it need more time? I look forward to making this. Another healthy snack in my fridge….

    • Three weeks seems about right for this one. It’s plenty tart in that time which to me is what we’re striving for taste-wise. I’m sure you could go longer. In fact, I’m running another batch which I plan to let go for 6 weeks just to test a longer ferment.

  2. This has always been one of my favorite treats!! Starting a new batch of red cabbage and beets today, this will be right along side of it!! Thanks!!!

    • Just put in as much as you can get to fit in the jar. I found about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of ingredients worked for a 1/2 gallon container so approx a 1 to 1 1/4 pounds of ingredients is probably about right for a quart. So yes, halve the ingredients for a quart. Good luck!

  3. I have a question, first time using only salt, have used whey in all my other projects. There is a rim of white all around the top right at the top of the liquid, is this normal?Is it just a salt thing? I put this up on the 19th and it just showed up a couple days ago.

    • It is very likely kahm yeast that is growing on top of your ferment. Along with the bacteria needed for fermentation, the vegetables we use also often are home to natural yeasts. That yeast sometimes can take hold in a ferment as well.

      I can’t make any guarantees as to food safety, especially at a distance, but when ferments go bad, it’s usually because a mold has set in and that often gets fuzzy and can have an unpleasant odor. Kahm yeast is generally harmless in consumption, but you need to make your own decisions as to what is good or harmful for your own body.

      I’ve been running further experiments with the giardiniera and ended up with a kahm yeast growing on one of mine as well.

      To remove kahm yeast, i generally just place a paper towel atop the film and let friction and absorption pick up most of it. I then swipe around the edges inside the vessel with another paper towel to remove more of the yeast.

      • I made mine just short of two weeks ago and also have the white film at the top of the liquid. I also seem to have a white sediment in the bottom of the one gallon glass container I am using. I have sampled a few pieces of the vegetables, and they seem fine: getting crunchy and tart. Is it likely this same kahm yeast that I am seeing at the bottom? Do I need to worry about it?

        • I replied to a comment on this same recipe not too long ago which referenced the same issue. I too had some Kahm yeast on another batch of giardinera. I don’t know about what is at the bottom of your ferment. I’ve only seem Kahm yeast on the surface. Use your taste and instincts on this. Food safety is always best left to the individual as I can’t really assess safety from a distance. Good luck!

  4. Am I crazy to double this recipe? I have a nice 1 gallon jar I picked up at my local international market, and I would like to make a big batch of the giardiniera. Am I overreaching for my second go at vegetable fermentation?

  5. Made a 5 liter crock full. Substituted the onions in the recipe with pearl onions. Also, just checked after five full weeks and found it’s not quite tart enough. Nice and tender crisp, but still a little bland. I’ll give it another week before transferring to quart jars and vacuum sealing then storing in the fridge. Any ideas for increasing the tartness sooner?

    • Given that you made more than I did in this recipe, it’s possible that you ended up with more water in yours and thus diluted the acidity a little more and thus the tartness hasn’t appeared as you might have liked. No harm in leaving this one out as long as you like to continue to mature and get more tart. If it were me, I’d leave it out indefinitely until the taste comes around to your liking. It will of course continue to get more tart over time in the refrigerator as well, albeit more slowly. No other suggestions really.

  6. I’m making this in a taller Kilner fermentation jar with airlock – after a few weeks, once it’s ready to put in the fridge, can I transfer to smaller jars and is it necessary to keep the liquid brine?

  7. For Chicago Giardinera I believe you want to use appropriately-sized and chunked Serrano Chile’s. I’ve never seen a Jalapeño in a jar of local giardinera.

  8. Hello, thank you for the recipes. Ive made several now with great success! However, I just made my second batch of giardiniera, and it did not turn out. I’m wondering if you could provide some insight as to why?

    I got a lot of white film/yeast on the top of my jars this time, and the liquid was quite cloudy. I did wipe off the white film once using clean paper towels. Today was the two week mark, and I checked them since it is summer here in CA. The cauliflower was almost mushy, and there was a strong unpleasant odor. I am super bummed, since I made a double batch this time!

    My house is probably about 75 during the day, and 60 at night. I was expecting a quicker ferment time, but any tips/tricks on what went wrong? Perhaps my vegetables were contaminated with different bacteria? Or did I not have enough salt?

    I know that some white film/yeast is to be expected, but like I said, the smell was off putting. I ended up throwing the whole batch away 🙁

    • Hard to say what happened there. Must have been a different bacteria set up shop in your ferment and crowded out the others. Mushy and slimy ferments happen every once in awhile. I generally chalk it up to cleanliness issues or simply some stray bacteria that got a little too overzealous.

  9. I made this and I like the flavours and I would like to make again except I did not like the bell peppers. They were mushy! Everything else was a great texture. Did I do something wrong?

    • It’s hard to say what went wrong. I’ve had similar issues with bell peppers in my giardiniera at times, but at others, they came out just fine. You could of course make this without the bell peppers, or just enjoy the color that they add and keep your fingers crossed. Wish I had a better answer for you on this one!

    • Could you use Brussels sprouts or okra in the mix? I know that is not true “Chicago style” giardinara but sounds fun

  10. LOvely recipe, and yes, referring to a comment right at the top of the page, sure; beans do really well. You can also add small white turnip, and flavour with peppercorns as well. I’m Italian, and my wonderful Nonna used to make this by the ton! It had as much prestige in our Italian family as Kimchi does for Koreans! At the risk of sounding patronising, if anyone would like the correct pronunciation, it’s about as close as I can get, phonetically, to this:


    Thanks for the recipe! I love making this and the recipe brings back wonderful memories!

    A Tavola, si mangia!!

  11. This stuff is KILLER! I even gave some to my Chicago-native friend and she loved it and wanted to make some for her giardiniera-loving mom.

  12. I’ve just started and am loving the fermented vegs! I’m using the rubber tops that look like a baby bottle top. The recipes I’ve used say open once a day to release gases. Am I doing the right thing? Everything has turned out.

    • Thanks for writing, Jodifer. NO need to open to release pressure on a daily basis if you are using an airlock such as the one you are using. Airlocks are designed to release the gas pressure as it accumulates. Glad everything is turning out well.

  13. We’ve been experimenting with fermentation. Sauerkraut turned out great. Carrot sticks – yum! The Giardiniera is done. Brine drained off, veggies chopped and in jars. At this point, can we cover in olive oil? That’s how we see store bought / prepared Giardiniera.

    • The store bought giardinera was very likely not fermented but simply pickled in vinegar. I honestly don’t know what would happen if you took a fermented giardinera and covered in olive oil. The probiotic microbes would almost assuredly die if surrounded in oil, but haven’t tested that out.

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