You won’t believe how easy this is once you have the ingredients. You could even make a quarter of this amount.
I like to leave some of the vegetables whole or in large chunks so they look beautiful in the jars. You can use any vegetables you like, the more colours you have the merrier. The bulb spring onions from Tropea in southern Italy are a beautiful red and come in all different sizes and they are lovely in this recipe. The larger ones will have to be halved or chunked to allow the vinegar to penetrate.
Using olive oil alone will make this too heavy so I use one part olive oil to four parts sunflower oil.
Put all the prepared vegetables in a large bucket or basin — wherever they will fit. Cover with the water, salt and vinegar and leave overnight with a weight on so they are all immersed. The next day, drain away the liquid, letting the vegetables sit for a while in a colander. You can rinse the beans now if you think they will be too salty. Cover 4 large trays with tea towels. Lay the vegetables on the trays in a single layer. Cover with a net and leave them for a few hours or even overnight.
Have cleaned, sterilised jars ready — as large or small as are suitable for you. Pack the vegetables compactly into the jars along with some peppercorns and at least 1 chilli in each jar. Cover with oil, starting with the sunflower oil and finishing with the olive oil. If the vegetables are not covered, just top up with more of either oil. Leave them awhile for the oils to settle, pressing out any air bubbles that may be trapped. You can put a plastic holder over the vegetables in each jar to make sure they are completely immersed in the oil. Cover with the lids and store in the pantry for at least 2-4 weeks before eating.
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