spicy carrot pickle presents
A deep downy fog wrapped around our cold hill this morning. The firs that can usually be seen waving their skirts and climbing high into the sky were barely faint shadows in the white soup. The birds we feed dropped in by the hundreds, out of a dense snowy nowhere. Such a quiet fell on this place! I so love a good foggy morning! (Do you?)
The car wouldn’t leave its garage today. There’d be no stop and go, bumper-to-bumper for me. No crowded stores with pokey elbows. No waiting in long queues at the post office. It was the very day I’ve been hoping for, a day to stay at home, to stare out the window for some peaceful moments … and to pickle me some presents.
I could have done a better job of matching today’s recipe to the weather by making a good thick pea soup. But peas weren’t what I had. What I had were carrots. (I was going to give them to you yesterday, being Wednesday and the day I normally serve you up some veggies, but I got very distracted with choirs of little ones singing, and bells ringing on street corners and all the rest of it. You know.) Anyway, back to the carrots.
(And even if you’ve never canned before, these are NOT hard to do.)
Spicy Carrot Pickles
(makes 4 pint jars)
2 pounds carrots, trimmed & scrubbed
5½ cups cider vinegar * (5% acidity – important)
1 Tablespoon pure kosher salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
8 dried hot chilies, stemmed
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sprigs thyme
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (to suit your taste)
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ small white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
* I used an unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Wash and (if desired) peel your carrots. (Here’s an opportunity to insert a Spreenkle 7.1 – Garbage disposals do NOT like your peelings. I heard it on authority…you know the guy, who’s asking for a belt for Christmas. I would have thought disposals would love them, eat them up, but noooo. Your garden however, does love your peelings. And here’s a word from our Luke – “Those ends you’re trimming – now would be a nice time to toss your faithful Golden with the silvery muzzle a little something to show your appreciation for the many times he gets up in a day to follow you around and lie at your feet.”)
Trim the carrots into 4-inch lengths, to fit upright in pint jars. Cut them so that they’re no thicker than ½-inch. Set aside in a bowl (or pitcher) of ice-water.
Put your canning pot on the stove and fill with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1-inch. Bring the heat up. Wash the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot. Place the flat lids in a heat-proof bowl.
Gather your ingredients together and have them handy.
In a wide, 6-to 8-quart pan, combine the vinegar, 1 cup water, the salt, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves (only). Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the carrots from their ice bath and add them to the simmering pickling brine. Cook until just crisp-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes
Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, emptying their water back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.
Working quickly, divide the chiles, garlic, thyme sprigs, red pepper flakes and black peppercorns among the jars. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the hot carrots to the jars being careful not to pack them too tightly. Fill in the empty spaces with slivers of white onion. Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars, leaving ½- inch headspace at the top. Using a chopstick, remove any air bubbles that might be hiding amidst the carrots.
Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars then put the flat lids and a ring on each jar. Adjust the ring so that it’s just finger-tight. (If you’re using Weck jars like the ones here, place the rubber ring over dampened rim, then the glass lid on top, then fasten with clips.)
Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure that the water covers the jar tops by at least one inch. Bring the pot to a boil and BOIL for 15 minutes to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and leave undisturbed for at least 12 hours. After 1 hour check to make sure that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of the metal lid. If it can be pushed down, the jar isn’t properly sealed but can be placed in the refrigerator and be perfectly fine for months. (With Weck jars, if the “knob” of the rubber gasket points down, you have a good seal. See in the photos.)
After 12 hours – Label your pickles, and store or gift wrap.
I know you can’t tell from the jar, but these are so very tasty! They go beautifully with a sandwich – try with a grilled cheese or panini!
Click to print.
This recipe is borrowed from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff – a great little resource for preserving all sorts of things!