Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

Can Jam February

The Hot Water Bath steaming away

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.

Chopping the carrots.

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.

packed jars awaiting the vinegar solution

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. 

The finished product.

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Local Food and How to Cook It (Carrots)

My winter vegetable bed in front of the porch.

I’ll get to the cooking in a minute, but I wanted to share this bit of news, to me at least.  Because of my discovery that someone was using my debit card number to buy weird things on the internet, I have discovered that my food could even be more local than I had thought.  Saturday, I placed an order for polenta from Anson Mills.  Saturday afternoon, I looked at my bank statement and discovered that there was a problem.  I called the bank and had them cancel my card and stop all charges to it.  Well, then I remembered that I had ordered that polenta.  So I called Anson Mills and left a message about my predicament.  I didn’t want them to think I was a ne’er do well charging stuff to a card that did not work.  Anyway, to my amazement, on Sunday, Glenn Roberts himself called me back and told me that they would cancel my order, and that I could just order again when I got everything straightened out.  Then in the course of our conversation about the merits of local food and where he grows the corn for the polenta, I found out that right here in my neck of the woods were growers he knew and used, namely Nicholas Donck of Crystal Organic Farm, among others.  Wow!  So my polenta and grits and cornmeal from Anson Mills are possibly even closer to home than I had thought.  The corn is grown in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as in the Northeast to avoid total loss if one area is hit by weather issues or other problems.  He talked about how this area of Georgia, from Covington up to Athens and Washington, Georgia  is a wonderful place for small farmers who grow organically and sustainably.  So take advantage of living in this wonderland of sustainable farming and growers who go beyond organic.   

Pulling up the first carrot I have ever grown.

   One of the yummiest foods of the winter in the south is carrots.  To the left, is me just a few minutes ago pulling up the first carrot I have ever grown.  (You can click on the small picture and see it much larger.)  I planted carrots and beets and green onions out there in front.  Green onions are the only one of those crops that I have ever grown before.  The carrots took forever to come up, but they did.  The beets are probably still too close; I have been thinning them for weeks.  They haven’t made much in the way of roots, but this first purple, forked-root carrot looks pretty good.  I will have it in my salad tonight.  Sometimes the simplest way with food is the best.  I’ll just wash it and slice it up.  If I had more than one, I could cup them in chunks and toss in a little olive oil and roast them in the oven.  That really brings out their sweetness and is really good. 

There is a lovely carrot salad in The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  It goes like this:

Peel and grate 1 pound of carrots.

Make a vinaigrette of 1 tsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Whisk in 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 T fresh orange juice

Toss the carrots in the vinaigrette and stir in 2 T chopped parsley.  (I actually put about twice as much parsley.)

It's almost out.

In Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen I found this especially yummy Roasted Carrot Soup.

1 pound carrots cut in chunks, 2 small potatoes cut in chunks, 1 large onion cut in chunks, 5 garlic cloves peeled, 2 to 4 T of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, 2 hefty sprigs of thyme,and one bay leaf. 

Toss all above together, and spread in large baking dish.  Roast at 425 degrees about one hour, turning 3 or 4 times.

Transfer to soup pot along with 1 quart of vegetable stock or water.  Simmer about 20 minutes.  Puree until smooth.  Return to pot, season with salt and pepper if necessary and stir in 1/2 cup cream.  When you serve, stir in a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.  Put a little chopped parsley on top.

And, it's out!

When you need a crunchy snack, what could be better than a carrot.  They are good all by themselves, fresh out of the garden, but this recipe for pickled carrots makes them even more interesting. 

Bring 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups water, 1/4 cup sugar to a boil. 

Add 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch sticks, 1 T dill seed, 4 cloves garlic, peeled, 2 tsp mustard seed, 2 tsp dried dill weed, 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes.  Cook, covered on low for only 5 minutes.  Pour into glass canning jars, place lids and rings on them.  Let them cool and refrigerate at least 24 hours.  They will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

My first carrot, whee!

Roasted carrots are really good.  Here is a variation on the basic roasted vegetable theme.  This could work for any root vegetable, like beets, turnips or parsnips, as well as carrots.

Slice one pound of carrots thickly.  Toss with 3 T Balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp italian seasoning.  Let marinate for 1 hour.  Spread on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

So, now you have a few ways to cook your carrots.  If you grow them yourself or find some attractive bunches at a farmers market, give these recipes a try.