These spicy Mexican Pickled Vegetables are like a Mexican version of Italian giardiniera and are delicious with tacos and as a condiment for any sandwich or burger.
pint jars (my batch made 5 pints)
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 red sweet pepper, cut into strips
2 or 3 c. baby carrots, or sliced adult carrots (I used 2 cups)
2 c. celery, cut into 1 inch slices
2 c. small whole onions, or 2 medium onions, quartered (I used the medium onions)
pickling salt (do not use table salt)
5 c. distilled white vinegar, 5% acidity
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
For Packing in Jars:
garlic cloves, peeled (I used 1 per jar)
chile peppers, dried or fresh (I used 2 dried chiles de arbol per jar)
Put all the cut up vegetables into a large glass, stainless, or stoneware bowl and cover with cold water and 1/4 c. pickling salt. Stir the salt into a little water before adding it to the big bowl to dissolve it. Cover the bowl with a plate or another bowl that presses down on the veg to keep it submerged. Let it sit for at least one hour.
Drain the veg.
Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then sterilize in boiling water for 10 minutes. (I use my canning pot for this, then keep the water boiling when I fill.) Bring some water to boil over the lids in a small pan, then turn off the heat and leave them to sit in the warm water.
For the pickling solution, combine ingredients in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. (I kept the cover on to minimize evaporation.)
To each jar, add some garlic and chiles. Pack hot jars with veg, making sure to get an assortment of everything in there. (Be sure to really pack the vegetables as tightly as you can in there, otherwise after you finish boiling them, they won't be too full.) Fill with boiling hot pickling solution to the top, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean, lint free towel dipped in hot water (my Mom taught me to use the water that is still hot from boiling the lids).
Place hot lids on the jars, then screw the rings on. Process in boiling water bath (water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch) for 15 minutes. Start timing from when the water comes back to a full rolling boil.
Remove to a draft free place, and let sit for at least 24 hours before moving. When you hear the gentle ping of the lids, remember to say "thank you" (like my Mom also taught me). Transfer to a cool, dark place and let sit at least 6 weeks before opening.