Pickles…it had to be pickles. What else can you do with carrots in a hot water bath. Well, I had found some recipes for carrot chutney, and even marmalade, but I’ve already done marmalade, and besides, there is only so much sweet stuff that is reasonable for a person who is eating to stave off type 2 diabetes to have around the house. So, something that would be good snacky food, with not too many calories, was what I needed and I found the recipe in the newest edition of Well Preserved: small batch preserving for the new cook, by Mary Ann Dragan. Pickled Rosemary Carrots. That sounded perfect. Only the tiniest amount of sugar. I had made something very similar that was not jarred up and sealed. It just stayed in the fridge until you ate it up, which did not take long. I liked them and felt sure I would like these. The recipe was not challenging at all, at least compared to the marmalade from last month. This one was pretty much old hat. Cold pack, pour in the vinegar, put on the lids and hot water bath. It was almost too easy. or so I thought.
Finding the carrots turned out to be the hard part. I really wanted local, organic carrots for this round. I thought it would be easy. I know lots of local farmers. I have access to some markets that are still open, even in the dead of winter. Surely I could pull this off. I called all my farmer friends. No one had carrots. The extremely cold weather we have had this winter had slowed them down to a crawl. Some had carrots, but they were no bigger than a very slender pencil. I was forced back to the grocery store, but I did get organic carrots. So I have gotten something right. And the rosemary did come from my own herb garden. I did not have pickling salt, so I substituted sea salt. The recipe also called for mixed peppercorns. I could not find those but I did find some special Tellicherry black peppercorns and some green peppercorns, so I used them.
So I peeled and cut and packed them into the jars. It didn’t take as long as I had thought it would, even doing 4 pounds of carrots. And, they fit exactly into 6 wide mouth pint jars. I put in the garlic, chili pepper and sprig of rosemary and they were ready for the vinegar. My dear husband helped with getting the hot vinegar solution poured in and I put on the lids and set them in the steaming hot water bath. They stayed in there for 15 minutes and were done. The lids started popping almost immediately after I got them out. I was very surprised at how quickly they were all sealed.
So here is the recipe. Directly from the book except with a few minor changes:
Pickled Rosemary Carrots
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon each Tellicherry black and green peppercorns
- 6 cloves garlic
- 6 hot chili peppers
- 4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
- 6 – 3 inch sprigs of fresh cut rosemary
Prepare the preserving jars. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Place one clove garlic and one chili pepper in each jar. Pack carrot sticks tightly in the jars standing them upright. Slide one sprig of rosemary into each jar. Carefully pour the boiling vinegar solution into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean and place lids and rings on the jars. Place the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
It was very satisfying to see how easily it all went together. Kind of zen-like in its simplicity. I’m looking forward to tasting them. I will let them sit for about a week before I take a taste and give them time for all the flavors to “swap around” as Huckleberry Finn would say. I think they turned out quite lovely. The green and orange complement each other in a satisfying kind of way. I hope that they will be as delicious as they look.
Now, I eagerly look forward to the challenge for March. I hope that I can get the ingredients for it locally and organically. I had thought that I was really good at that. After all, the pick up for our local CSA is on my front porch. I did not count on the weather knocking me for a loop. But I guess that is what we all have to live with in reality.