Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trends/Pickled Carrots and Cauliflower

I almost gave up on writing this post about five minutes after starting because the words just didn't seem to be flowing. So instead of forging on as I usually do, I just closed the tab letting my browser erase any semblance of a thought I had assembled. Some days, giving up just seems a hell of a lot easier. Just as I closed the tab though, this popped up on my newsfeed, reminding me that more people should know about at-home pickling (even if it's only to but the author of the article at Slate just a little bit more).

By making this, I am by no means claiming to be trendy or an urban hipster. I did, however, come across this recipe for pickled carrots and thought that it would be nice to make use of the mason jar I've had lying around. This served more as a cute outfit for my carrots though, since I didn't need to sterilize the jar or go through the whole canning and sealing process. In the spirit of pickling, I also pickled some leftover cauliflower I had in the fridge. I figured there was no reason not to go all out and try out different variations. The truth is I love having crunchy, fresh and healthy snacks to munch on when I get home after school and these seemed like the perfect addition to my fridge.

These pickles are super crunchy with just the right balance of sugar, salt and vinegar. The original recipe called for dill seeds, but my supermarket didn't have them so I just used a pickling spice mix. Although I have no basis for comparison I am really glad I made them this way because I found that the spices added a really dynamic and expected blend of flavors. Sometimes I want my food to taste special and different, but when it comes to something like pickles I just want them to taste like the classics I know and love. These are just that, they are simple and taste just the way they should, and for the time being I can't think of a better snack to come home to. After having gone through these pretty quickly, all I can think about is what to pickle next. Roasted peppers? Beets? I think I will have to try them all.

Pickled Vegetables
(adapted from Epicurious)

1 pound carrots, cut into 3 1/2- by 1/3-inch sticks
1/2 a head of cauliflower (about 3/4 pound), cut into small florets
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons pickling spice mix
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Place the vegetables in a shallow bowl. Combine all the ingredients, except for the vegetables, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat then simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables and cool, uncovered. Once they have cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a day to let the flavors develop.

• This recipe can be used for practically any vegetables you choose.
• Store these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.


Ideal Living said...

Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen said...

I tried this today--have been wanting to do pickled carrots for a while (though I confess what I really want are those pickled carrots with jalapeno). The constituents of your pickling spice has a huge impact on this and, presumably, anything you use it in. Mine is very I'm not yet sure how I feel about that. I simmered thinly sliced beets in the liquid to soften them up a bit and BOY ARE THEY STRONG!!a Anyway, that's my experience.