Here is a simple Giardinara recipe that uses no oil or sugar so the fresh flavor of the vegetables comes through. Feel free to vary based on what’s on sale/looks good/is on hand. Makes 3 quarts.
1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
2-3 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1 inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into 1 inch pieces
1 bulb fennel (optional), peeled and cut on the bias into ½ inch pieces (so you can tell it apart from the celery)
½ c salt
3 c white vinegar
2 c water
2 T dried oregano
2 t salt
1 t crushed red pepper (adjust to taste; this amount will give a nice kick)
1 t celery seed
3 or 4 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic
Method: prep the vegetables and transfer to a large stainless or glass bowl. Add ½ c salt and mix with your hands so all surfaces are well exposed to the salt. Add water to cover and let sit on the counter overnight. Drain and pack into jars (sterilized if you’re going to can it, just clean if you will keep it in the refrigerator).
Bring the water and vinegar to the boil with 2 t salt and spices in a saucepan. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for a few minutes. When it is warm but no longer hot, strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour over the vegetables in the jars. Add more vinegar and water as needed in the same ratio of 3 parts vinegar/2 parts water to completely fill jars. Seal jars and refrigerate, or can using your usual method. Allow giardinara to cure to least 3 days before serving as a condiment or sandwich ingredient.