Five-Spice Pickled Carrots, the New Kid-Friendly Snack

November 20, 2014

Every other Thursday, we bring you Nicholas Day -- on cooking for children, and with children, and despite children. Also, occasionally, on top of.

Today: A simple new snack for the kids -- and for you.

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Today, a new addition to child-friendly snack canon: five-spice pickled carrots.

Wait -- where are you going with the cheddar bunnies

We’ve talked before about how much children like pickles (these addictive fermented green beans, for example). You’ll sometimes read that kids are more attracted to the slightly sour, less sharp flavor of lacto-fermented pickles over the tangy flavor of vinegar pickles. I think that’s often true. But not always, and these five-spice pickled carrots are a case in point. The carrots keep their snap, the acidity is balanced by the warm spice blend, and the whole unconventional combination works beautifully. 

More: 8 more carrot-centric recipes.

After a large-scale, non-blinded, non-peer-reviewed study, I can tell you that half of all children will eat it: The older child was like, Eh. But the younger child ate them for lunch several days straight, and by ate them for lunch, I mean ate nothing else but them. He won’t eat a raw carrot, he only occasionally eats roasted carrots, but he ate these like they were the leftover Halloween candy he so desperately desires.

The recipe comes from Karen Solomon’s new and wondrous Asian Pickles, which has more sheer flavor in it than pretty much all the other cookbooks published this year combined. And once you remember that pickles are basically just leftover Halloween candy, it turns out to be a book with some surprisingly child-friendly snacks.

That said, I’m saving the squid kimchi for their twenty-first birthday. They’ll need a beer. 

Five-Spice Pickled Carrots

Very lightly adapted from Karen Solomon's Asian Pickles.

Makes 2 cups

12 to 14 ounces carrots
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

You don't need to have a baby to love Nicholas Day's book Baby Meets World -- though if you do, this book will help you understand your tiny, inscrutable human that much better. Learn more about the book -- part hidden history of parenthood, part secret lives of babies -- here

Photos by Bobbi Lin


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I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.


luvcookbooks November 28, 2014
Auto corrected. Enjoyed the post so much...
luvcookbooks November 28, 2014
I enjoyed the post south that I bought the book. Thanks for posting!
EmilyC November 28, 2014
You always unearth the most interesting recipes! I made these for a Thanksgiving day snack. They're nice, and I love the five spice powder with the carrots. I may try them again with white wine or rice vinegar in place of all or some of the lemon juice, which to me was an unconventional choice for the acid.
HRH November 20, 2014
My boyfriend's son (8) and I are pickle fiends... methinks we have a weekend cooking project here ;)
hardlikearmour November 20, 2014
I'm a sucker for 5-spice and pickles so I guess I'll have to make these :-)