Why It Works
- Peeling the carrots allows the brine to penetrate more effectively.
- Flavoring the carrots with dill seeds yields a flavorful pickle with clear brine.
Carrots are one of my kitchen staples. They keep well, taste good and can do a lot. For those nights when I need a quick side dish, I cut them on an angle, drizzle them with olive oil and roast them until brown (and with all the sugars they have, they brown gorgeously).
If I need a main meal, it's carrot soup. Sauté carrots with onions and a crushed garlic clove until they're fragrant and the carrots have started to share their orange color with the onions. Cover with water and simmer until tender. Purée until smooth, add a little dairy (cream, half and half, yogurt, or sour cream work best), salt, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and dinner is ready.
You've seen my marinated carrot salad. It's always a hit at potlucks or as part of an appetizer platter. It comes together in less than 10 minutes and can be made hours ahead.
Carrots also make an incredible preserved pickle. These pickled carrots are based on the classic dilly bean recipe. The carrots are cut into narrow sticks, briefly blanched, then suspended in a simple vinegar pickling solution. They come out tender but with a core that retains some backbone and crispness.
After a day or two of soaking, these pickles are ready to be eaten. I tend to munch them straight from the jar. More discerning eaters could try them chopped into tuna salad or with a salad Niçoise.
Before You Get Started
These pickles can be made either as preserved pickles or refrigerator pickles. If you're planning on canning them, keep the blanching step to a quick 90 seconds. If you want to make them for the fridge, three minutes is the name of the game.
The reason for the time difference is that when you process pickles, they get an additional round of heat exposure that can lead to softening. These pickles are best when they retain some hearty texture, so you want to avoid overcooking them.
You'll see that the recipe instructs you to peel the carrots. I am not typically someone who peels her carrots, but when you pickle them, it must be done. It allows the pickling liquid more access to penetrate the carrots, leading to a tastier product. If you can't bear the waste of the skins, make plans to cook up some vegetable stock. A day or two of saving vegetable scraps and you should have enough for a generous batch.
I use dill seeds instead of dill weed, as it imparts the dilly flavor but allows the liquid to remain clear (during storage, dill weed breaks down and turns murky and sludgy). If you happen to grow dill in your yard and you can put your hands on a dill head or two, those could easily be swapped in for the dill seeds.
1 1/2 pounds carrots, trimmed to fit your jars
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
Bring a small pot of water to a boil to blanch the carrots.
Prepare 1 pint and a half-jar, or two 12-ounce jelly jars. Place lids in a small pot of water and bring to the barest bubble to soften sealing compound.
Peel carrots and trim to fit jars. Cut into thin sticks.
When water comes to a boil, drop in carrots and cook for either 90 seconds if you plan on canning your pickles, or 3 minutes if you’re making them as refrigerator pickles.
When time is up, remove carrots from water and run under cold water to stop cooking.
Combine vinegar, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Place spices and garlic cloves into bottom of jars.
Pack carrots sticks upright in jars.
Pour boiling brine over carrots, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Tap jars gently to remove air bubbles.
Wipe rims and apply lids and rings.
If you’re canning the pickles, process them for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
When time is up, remove jars from canner and let cool.
Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerator pickles should be placed in the fridge as soon as the jars are cool.
Let pickles rest in pickling liquid for at least 48 hours before eating.
Canning jars, small canning pot (optional)
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||11%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|