Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quickly pickly

We've been eating a lot of salads lately. And salads can get boring pretty quickly. I do my best to keep things interesting by making a variety of toppings each week that can add a little zing to things. This week, my salad toppings will be pickled carrots and roasted grape tomatoes. And as you can see, I do love pickled stuff. Pickled peaches are definitely on tap for this summer's canning list (they were a huge hit two years ago) as are dills and onions. But I'm also a huge fan of quick pickles for when I have a small amount of an item and I know I'm going to eat it fairly quickly.

Since I just finished off a big jar of homemade pickled onions, I decided to go for something different this week. Pickled carrots sounded good because I could throw them on a salad or eat them as a snack. They came out beautifully - salty, crunchy, and tangy.

For this recipe, I used my favorite pre-mixed pickling spice from The Spice Corner in the Italian Market. Their website is abysmal, but I find their prices to be the best of all the spice shops in the city. Some people like to mix their own spice mixes for pickling, but this one contains all the stuff I'd put in anyway - mustard seeds, chili peppers, rosemary, pepper corns, bay leaves, and cloves. If you are new to pickling, using a pre-mixed spice is a good idea and you can always adjust or mix your own as you get more adept. If you are not local to Philly, Penzey's is always a good online resource for fresh spices and they have a very good pickling mix.

One last note, this recipe did not quite fill a large canning jar, so I would suggest using two or three pints instead.

Quick Pickled Carrots

1 lb of organic carrots, peeled, cut in half and then quartered
2 cups of water
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of salt
2 tbsp of sugar
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Handful of pickling spice

- Fill a pot with water, bring to a boil, and blanch the carrots for 1 minute. Put them in an ice bath to cool and return the empty pot to the burner.
- Combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and pickling spice and heat until it is just about to boil.
- While the brine is heating, remove the carrots from the ice bath and stuff them into the jar(s)
- Once the brine is ready, pour it over the carrots until they are covered and distribute the garlic evenly
- Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before affixing lids and placing in refrigerator
- These can stay in the refrigerator for up to a week or so

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