The following originally appeared on 5/4/09 on Exit 51.
In A Pickle
Lists are a big thing with me. I make them constantly to remind myself of anything and everything. It becomes clearer to me with each passing day that I manage to forget more than I remember. To steal a line from an interview Russell Brand gave to NPR, “I’m an unreliable witness to my own existence.” Fortunately, this condition has not progressed to the point where I make lists of the lists that I need to make.
Let me say that when I’m making the grocery list, I try very hard to make sure I’ve double checked the recipes I plan to make against the list. Otherwise, I could find myself in a pickle. Like yesterday.
After plowing through my latest food memoir, I had made a mental note that I wanted to try the pickled carrot recipe. I knew were were going to be having people over for a dinner party and I wanted to have those carrots on the menu. So, without consulting the recipe, I picked up what I thought I remembered as the ingredients. And then I forgot all about it.
The weekend before the dinner, I was out and about and checking things off other lists. Laundry, check. Housework, check. Yard work…lots of yard work, check, check, check. After battling the weeds for three hours, I picked up the recipe again. And I realized that not only did it need a week in the fridge to pickle, but I had only managed to remember about half of the ingredients. Among the things that I forgot, canning jars. So what do you do?
You either scrap the recipe or you get yourself to the megamart in a jiffy. Did you know that canning jars aren’t sold individually? They aren’t. So I either need to LOVE this recipe and make it to give to everyone I know, or find uses for the other eleven jars.
Until next Sunday, the jury is still out on the fate of the pickled carrots. I’m sure I will remember to tell you how it all goes…it’s already on the list.
Molly’s Spicy Pickled Carrots
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar, plus more for topping jars
- 2 cups water, plus more for topping jars
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 6 (5 to 6 inch) sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 pounds small (finger sized) carrots, or standard sized carrots cut into sticks about 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long
Combine 1 1/2 cups vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, garlic, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt, and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup vinegar.
Put carrots in large heatproof bowl, pour warm brine over them. Cool to room temperature.
While the carrots cool, wash two quart sized canning jars and their lids in warm soapy water.
When carrots and brine are cooled, divide carrots evenly between jars, arranging them snugly. Using your fingers and wide mouth canning jars makes this easier. Divide the brine evenly between the jars. The carrots should be completely covered by the brine. If not, add a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water to cover.
Seal firmly and refrigerate three days to a week. The carrots take time to absorb the brine.