I have long pondered the virtues of baby carrots vs. whole carrots (okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I do kind of have strong feelings on the topic). Baby carrots are convenient and great to pack in lunches or as snacks. BUT, I find that baby carrots are less consistent when it comes to taste and level of sweetness than are whole carrots (and they’re usually more expensive, too). Hence I’m more likely to choose whole carrots, peeling and cutting them up if I want to make them more portable. I used whole carrots in this recipe, though one can easily substitute baby carrots if desired.
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 (5- to 6-inch) sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped
- 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, cracked
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Heaping 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Heaping 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 lbs carrots, cut into 3″ by 1/2 ” sticks
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, water sugar, thyme, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt, and mustard seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let cool briefly. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of vinegar.
- Put the carrots in a large bowl, and pour the warm brine over them. Let the carrots and brine cool to room temperature.
- Wash whatever canning jars you’ll be using. I used three pint sized jars, and the carrots fit perfectly in them, and fit better in my fridge than larger jars. Use whatever works for you.
- When the carrots and brine are cool, place the carrots snugly in the jars (hands/fingers work well). Use a ladle to pour the brine over the carrots until they’re covered. If you don’t have enough brine, mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water to finish the job.
- Seal the jars tightly and refrigerate for a week (if you can wait that long!)
I eagerly await the outcome of the pickling process.
UPDATE: After one week, the carrots still taste pretty carrot-y (with a bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes). I’m going to give them another week or so.
Source: Adapted from A Homemade Life