I have been suffering from blog-related amnesia for some time now. What is a blog? Do I have one? How do I get there?
All kidding aside, I actually have a backlog of care package related recipes to update including some holiday-appropriate ones. Salted vanilla bean caramels, anyone?
The other big news around these parts is that I no longer have to cook for one. Yup, JD is back and he brought his ridiculously large appetite with him. Hooray!
If that’s the case, why am I posting about pickled carrots instead of something more decadent and/or meat-filled, you might ask. Well, it’s because of our organic fruit and vegetable box. This box lands on our porch (by magic) every Thursday evening and is filled with a varying mix of organic produce. Since it’s now winter, we are often counting a bag of carrots among the spoils. Carrots that I kept forgetting that we had until I had stockpiled about 6-7 lbs of them.
After searching for an option that would reduce my carrot stockpile down to minimal proportions, I settled on pickled carrots. Unlike cake or muffins, pickled carrots have few ingredients, make a healthy snack and, most importantly, put all your carrots to good use.
I am guessing that I had about 6-7lbs of carrots since my kitchen scale battery happened to die as I was attempting to weight the carrots yesterday.
I find that around this time of year it seems like we are always on the prowl for something to snack on as the festive eating season begins. I am not claiming that pickled carrots will take the place of egg nog, shortbread or turkey sandwiches but they certainly won’t hurt, either. And I imagine a pickled carrot might make a lovely addition to a cheese tray or a Caesar (a Bloody Mary if you’re yankee).
The recipe that I ended up adapting is for refrigerator pickled carrots – no processing in a boiling water bath for these bad boys. They are not shelf stable but will last for a month in the fridge.
You will need:
- 6-7 lbs carrots, peeled, rinsed and cut into small sticks
- 6 – 500ml canning jars with lids (this fit every last carrot stick I had perfectly)
- 7.5 cups water
- 7.5 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp + 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- large handful black peppercorns
- small handful coriander seeds
- generous pinch fennel seeds
- generous pinch hot pepper flakes
- 6 thai birds eye chilis or other small chili peppers
- 12 cloves of garlic (or 6 cloves of garlic if you don’t want them very garlicky)
- Sterilize your mason jars by either running them through the dishwasher or washing them by hand in very hot water.
- Peel and wash your carrots. I had to cut my carrots in half to fit into my jars, then I either halves or quartered them. You don’t want huge carrot sticks because the pickling bring needs to penetrate the carrots.
- In a large saucepan, stir together water, vinegar, salt, peppercorns, coriander, fennel and hot pepper flakes and bring to a boil.
- In each jar, add two cloves of garlic and one chili pepper.
- Add carrot sticks to jars. This was the most fiddly step for me as 500ml jars can hold more carrots than you might think. Poking them in there sort of reminded me of carrot Tetris.
- Pour brine mixture over carrots leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar. Spoon some peppercorns/spices on top of carrots and seal jars.
- Allow to cool and then store in your refrigerator. Let carrots sit for 2-3 days before eating. Will keep up to one month.
Note: I made WAY too much brine for my jars. I ended up also pickling some asparagus we had in the fridge and two bags of frozen green beans I had in the freezer. The good news is that the leftover brine can be reused within a week of refrigeration. Just reheat to boiling if you have some other veggies you want to pickle in small quantities (i.e. 1 – 2 jars). Oh, and if your leftover brine looks cloudy – time to throw it out!
I should also note that spiciness here is a matter of personal preference. If you don’t want the heat, you can always leave the chilis and hot pepper flakes out of the recipe entirely.
Finally, the awesome website that gave me the instructions needed for these pickles: Food in Jars
For Ottawa-area folks, a link to the Byward Fruit Company, the purveyors of our weekly organic box.