Carrots are kitchen staples. It is always a good idea to have a large bag of them awaiting use in the refrigerator. You can chop and plop them into soup, shred and toss with apples in a salad, boil and puree into carrot dip...all of course in addition to eating them plain and simple, rabbit style.
The most recent after work snack at this house is either olives or little cornichons with a few almonds or Brazil nuts. The other day when reaching in the refrigerator for such a snack, I eyed the big bag of carrots in the back corner. Then they reluctantly moved over to the leftover rosemary that somehow seemed to be multiplying. I had been adding rosemary to eggs and salad dressings for what seemed like weeks. It is a fine enough herb, but I was beginning to get rosemary overdose. Making pickled carrots would finally use the rest.
I remembered Molly Wizenberg talking of how easy pickled food items were to make in her book 'A Homemade Life'. I have been intimidated by them because I thought you had to do the whole sealing and jarring procedure. And after years of microbology class, Botulism has terrified me. But my fears were eased upon discovering they can simply be placed in a clean jar and immediately into the refrigerator. And as long as you consume them within a few weeks or so, all should be fine. A tightly boiled seal is not necessary.
The great part of pickling is that you can pretty much pickle any vegetable or even fruit. Green beans. Asparagus. Grapes. Add in 'whatever you want to try' to this sentence. The most difficult part of pickling is that you have to wait for them to soak up the brine. So basically put the head of cauliflower, bag of spinach and cartons of figs in front of the jars which should be in the back of the refrigerator so you don't get tempted to crack open prematurely. You certainly can though if you want. I mean, nothing like a little recipe testing every day to check the difference a day makes. Yeah I said it.
Rosemary Pickled Carrots
Adapted from 'A Homemade Life' by Molly Wizenberg
I had two sizes of jars and thought it would make things interesting to cut the carrots into different shapes. So feel free to do the same. Also, the original recipe calls for thyme, but I happened to have a bunch of rosemary leftover from the rabbit adventure a few weeks ago. So experiment with different herbs.
3/4 lb of carrots, cut into desired shape
1 cup apple cider vinegar, plus additional spoonfuls for topping
1 cup water, plus additional spoonfuls for topping
2 Tbsp sugar
2 big sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into big chunks
3 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
3/4 tsp black peppercorns, chopped in the coffee grinder (or mortar and pestle)
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
Chop your carrots into whatever shape you fancy. Set aside in a large shallow heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, pour in 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt and mustard seeds. Turn heat up to medium high. Once it boils, lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir every so often. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Pour the vinegar mixture on top of carrots. Top with remaining 1/4 cup vinegar. Let cool completely.
While they are cooling, wash your jars thoroughly with soap and warm water and let dry. When the carrots are at room temperature, arrange them in the jars in a way that looks nice to you. Pour the brine into the jars, including all the herbs and spices (A ladle or measuring cup works best). If the carrots aren't totally covered, top them off with 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water. Put the lids on the jars and refrigerate for a week if you can wait...they get better with time.