I haven’t pickled anything since last summer when I went over to a friend’s house, and a group of us had an afternoon of pickling and preserving. Before that I hadn’t pickled anything, well…, ever. We made pickles, dilly beans, spicy carrots, and a blueberry jam (which never quite set up but was great on pancakes). These were our creations, minus the blueberry syrupy/jammy whatever-it-was.
So this weekend, almost a year later, I decided to take on some spicy carrot pickles all by myself. They turned out pretty well! I haven’t tasted them in their final stage yet because they need a few days to marinate, but I’m really hopeful. The best part was that they were incredibly fast and easy to make. So here’s a how-to in case you’re interested in making them for yourself.
Actually, before I start, let me tell you one thing: if you ever want to feel what it might be like to have non-functioning lungs, try chopping some jalapenos then boiling some vinegar. Then you’ll know what that feels like.
So now that that has been said, here we go:
All you need is 3 1- pint jars, 2 pounds of carrots (the big bag, if you buy your carrots from the grocery store), about 4 cloves of garlic, 1 jalapeno, 4 cups of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of salt.
First you peel the carrots. It’s a lot of carrots to peel, but it’s worth it. Don’t judge me by how clean my sink is, but rather, judge me for how fast my hands are moving and my cool and retro yellow colander.
Slice up the garlic and jalapenos. This is the part where your husband starts to complain about how spicy things smell and how they’re “bothering his nose.” Just ignore him; he is not as tough as you when it comes to the kitchen.
Next, you take three pint jars and put the garlic and jalapenos in the bottom (divide them up evenly, or you can experiment with different amounts of spice between the jars if you’re not sure what you’re up for in the heat department). If you like things super spicy, add an extra jalapeno or some crushed red pepper flakes. Add the carrot sticks to the jars, making sure they’re short enough to leave about 1” of room at the top. Note: Make sure your pint jars are very clean; I had my assistant who is also my webmaster who is also my lawyer who is also my husband wash them for me while I chopped the veggies.
Boil your vinegar on the stove in a non-reactive pot (stainless steel, glass, and enamel are fine; aluminum, copper and cast-iron are not fine). Try not to breathe. Add the sugar and salt when the vinegar is boiling, then stir to dissolve.
Once the vinegar/sugar/salt solution was all dissolved, I let the brine sit off of the heat for a few minutes so it wasn’t super duper hot, then I poured it over the carrot jars with the help of a ladle. Make sure you have liquid about 1/2” over the top of the carrots, and that you then leave about 1/2” of space between the top of the liquid and the top of the jar. Then, cap those jars and you’re DONE. That’s it. I said it was easy!
These will be ready to eat in about a day, and will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. Keep in mind this is cold-packing and not preserving. So you can’t put these in the pantry and expect to pull them out for Thanksgiving, know what I mean? That would make your mouth pucker for an entirely different, really unpleasant reason.
Let me know if you make these or if you have any other good pickling recipes. I’m a sucker for vinegary things, so I’d love to hear about it!