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Author Notes: Growing season is coming which means one very important thing. ALL THE DELICIOUS VEGGIES ARE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! To say I have the “veggie sweats” is an understatement. I’m craving those weekly hauls of fresh eggs, and amazing vegetables straight out of the field calling me from the farm stand, begging to be eaten. But it was early March, unusually cold, and dammit I wanted chicken soup. I needed carrots. I usually try to buy in-season only; not that there’s anything wrong with store-bought veggies… except for, well, everything when you’ve had the stuff from the farm-stands and family run produce markets that dot the map of the rural county where I live. Enough proselytizing about vegetables. We all know the farmers market is the source for better tasting, cheaper, and more ecologically sustainable produce and food in general.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in chicken broth without the classic French trifecta of garlic, celery and carrots. So, I ended up with a pound of carrots from the supermarket to make soup with a recipe that only called for two or three carrots. I’m not going to eat that many carrots before they turn bad regardless if they came from the grocers or a farm stand; but it was buy a pound of them, or go without. So what to do with the rest of the carrots?
I’ve never pickled anything in my life. I’ve never had much interest in canning or mason jars in general except for soaking rice, beans, and a pretty way of storing things. Nevertheless, needing to dispense with these carrots I started to research pickling. I’ve always liked pickled carrots in Asian dishes. I like pickles in general. Why haven’t I ever pickled anything before?
That’s a great question. My first foray into pickling yielded some amazing, spicy, fork tender yet still crunchy ribbons of perfection. Even from store-bought carrots. I can’t wait to try my hand at this with the good stuff straight off the farm, and may even dip my toe into the canning pond this summer. Here’s the best part: pickling things is amazingly –no- deceptively simple.
Makes 24 oz
- 1 pound (give or take) Carrots. Peeled, and sliced into thin ribbons
- 2 Parts organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 Part red wine vinegar
- 3 Cloves garlic, peeled
- 5 Peppercorns
- 3 Bay Leaves
- Set a heavy bottomed pot with 2 quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil. Prepare an ice bath.
- Blanch the carrot ribbons for two to three minutes in small batches; remove to ice bath immediately. Reserve the blanching water.
- In a large mason jar, combine 2 parts apple cider vinegar with one part red wine vinegar, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Dilute with reserved water until the jar is 2/3 full. There must be enough liquid to cover the carrots, but not touch the top of the jar. And we're about to reduce it; so more is better.
- Empty the vinegar, aromatics and water mix into a heavy bottomed pot set to boil. Add pickling salt.
- Pack the carrot ribbons into the Mason jar.
- Reduce the pickling liquid for ten minutes at a rolling boil.
- Transfer the hot pickling liquid and aromatics to the Mason jar, making sure to cover the carrots.
- Seal, cool, and refrigerate. It will keep for weeks.