In a large non-reactive bowl, combine vegetables with the garlic and herbs; toss well to mix. To prepare brine: In a medium pan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, crushed bay leaves, fennel seed and peppercorns. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes (salt and sugar should be completely dissolved). Immediately pour hot brine over the vegetables, and mix gently. Allow mixture to sit undisturbed until cooled, then ladle into clean jars, distributing garlic, herbs, spices and brine as evenly as possible. Cover jars tightly and refrigerate.
Last weekend I went to the Mpls Farmers Market and picked up all these fresh vegetables. I have wanted to do a veggie pickle, but I am pretty intimidated on the process. In friday’s Taste section of the newspaper was this recipe for Giardiniera pickled vegetables that looked more my style. I have never pickled a vegetable before-baby steps to a full on vegetable pickle. My grandma used to make great pickels,-in hindsite I should have paid more attention to my grandma’s recipes when I was a kid. The whole process was pretty simple and fun. I chopped up all the vegetables, boil the brine and then pour it over the veggies and let cool to room temp. Put the veggies in some cleaned jars-toss in the refrigerator. You can eat the veggies after a couple of hours-I let mine sit for a week before I sampled the first jar. The veggies are still nice and crunchy and taste fresh with a little pickle bite for flavor. The recipe says it can stay in the frig for a couple of months, but once you open a jar it’s best to eat in a day or two to keep the veggies crunchy. I brought a jar camping this weekend and we munched on the Giardiniera vegetables with our Bloody Marys -yes they are great as garnish in your Bloody Mary.