For years afterward I had wanted to make jardiniere for my dad but never managed to get around to it. This year I had so many fresh veggies from my garden that I decided it was time. This one is for you, Dad!
Good jardiniere starts with fresh ingredients. Well, good anything starts with fresh ingredients, but you know what I mean. I was lucky enough to get most of the ingredients from my garden, including the herbs. I omitted the mushrooms, substituting hot peppers (jalapeno and Hungarian hot wax), and added celery I bought from the store. If I had been thinking I would have picked up some cauliflower as well. Oops. At this time I should probably let you know that I started with the recipe in the Ball Blue Book.
I spent the next hour or so chopping the vegetables into fairly uniform sizes. The sweet peppers were cut into strips and the onions were sliced. Because I think it looks neat, I cut the hot peppers into rounds. All of the cut vegetables and herbs were put in a large bowl. While I was chopping, the cider vinegar and pickling spices were coming to a boil on the stove. Unless you are seriously congested, do not put your face over the boiling cider vinegar/spice mixture and inhale, it may cause pain.
Ask me how I know this.
After all the vegetables were sliced and the cider vinegar mixture comes to a boil, add the veggies to the pot, stir and heat just until they become tender. These will be getting a boiling water bath in a bit, so be sure not to overcook them. Nobody like mushy jardiniere.
Veggies cooking in the pot.
I packed each jar with the veggies and ladled the hot liquid over, leaving about 1/4" of headspace. Check for air pockets and bubbles, I like to use a clean chopstick to release the bubbles. Add a little more liquid if necessary, seal and process in boiling water according the the recipe directions. Times vary according to altitude. Remove the jars to a towel or tray to cool and admire the pretty colors!