An ideal summer recipe: these are easy, travel well, and are super healthy. Make them on Sunday and snack on them by Wednesday, or leave them in the fridge for weeks at a time: they last very well. These blow baby carrots out of the water: crunchy, a little sweet, a little spicy, a little sour. I went to Maine this weekend and brought them; they were gone by the time we arrived.
Also, feel free to save the juice and use it again: after we had finished the carrots we used the vinegar mixture to marinate some thinly sliced cucumbers overnight. They were great, even though we didn’t wait for them to pickle.
I adapted my recipe from a number of places, but Molly Wizenberg and Smitten Kitchen were the main inspirations.
Makes 1 pound of pickled carrot sticks
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
several sprigs fresh thyme, or whatever herb you have on hand
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, cracked
½-1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
Slice the carrots and put them into your pickling container. I used a mason jar, which is nice because it can sit at the back of your fridge with a tight lid and not cause any spilling problems, but any non-reactive (ceramic, glass, stoneware, food-grade plastic, wood, porcelain) container will work. You’re going to be pouring hot liquid into it, though, so I would avoid plastic.
Combine ¾ cups of the vinegar with all of the water, sugar, thyme, garlic, pepper, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ¼ cup vinegar.
Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the carrots. There should be enough brine to cover the vegetables completely. If not, add a mixture of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water until they are submerged.
Seal firmly and refrigerate for at least 3 days. The longer you wait, the better they’ll be: they reach a sweet spot of delicious around 7 days, if you can wait that long. Enjoy!
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