March 17, 2012

Spicy Pickled Carrots

Alaska has long summer days that produce those enormous cabbages that set world records at the state fair. Lucky for me, the climate is also great for carrots. As of last summer, my new favorite way to pickle them is this recipe adapted from Sherri Brooks Vinton's Put 'em Up!

Spicy Pickled Carrots

   4-6 garlic cloves sliced
   1 tsp red pepperflakes optional
   2 pounds carrots
   4 cups distilled vinegar
   1 cup sugar
   3 Tablespoons salt

Divide garlic & pepper among 3 clean hot pint jars.
Trim, peel and cut carrots into lengths 1 inch shorter than jars. 
Boil vinegar in large nonreactive pan. 
Add salt and sugar. Dissolve. 
Pour brine over carrots covering by 1/2 inch and leaving 1/ 2 inch of headroom. 
Preserve with hot water bath method. 
Process time at full boil is 15 minutes. 
Turn off and let sit for 5 minutes.
Remove jars and let stand 24 hours. 
Remove rings and store in cool dry place for up to 1 year.

These pickles taste great. Another plus: I usually already the ingredients on hand and can make a quick project of putting them up on a late summer or fall evening (after bedtime for children).

We keep them in the pantry to pull out as a quick zingy side dish at dinner. I have also given them as holiday presents to foodies I know will appreciate the novelty (and the kick).

They are spicy. They will be less spicy if you reduce the amount of red pepper flake, but I don't think you should. The contrast between the sweetness of the carrots (and sugar), the sourness of the brine and the heat from the pepper is what makes them wonderful.

Not just wonderful. Prize winning. These pickles won a blue ribbon and the coveted Judge's Choice Award at the 2013 Alaska State Fair.

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