Pickled carrots first came on my radar when I was living in Austria. I believe we were visiting a Polish woman, and she fed my missionary companion and I lunch. I don’t actually remember what the main components of the lunch were, but I remember that this woman had jars and jars of pickled vegetables in her fridge. Now, this was at the beginning of my culinary journey, and I hadn’t really realized that pickling is a process and not just something that is done exclusively to cucumbers to put on a burger.
This nice woman had pickled cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, asparagus I think, and pickled carrots. The pickled carrots were my favorite. Carrots have a natural sweetness, and that combined with the vinegary bite is really pleasant to me. Apparently it’s pleasant to a ton of other people too, because tons of cultures have recipes for pickled carrots.
I adapted this recipe from this one from The Kitchen Girl.
Quick Pickling vs Regular Pickling
Pickling is the process of preserving food by either anaerobic fermentation or immersion in vinegar (Source: Wikipedia). Of course before refrigeration, pickling was a critical method for preserving food for the winter, travel, or making good use of excess produce.
Foods pickled through fermentation include sauerkraut, preserved lemons, and kimchi.
Vinegar brined pickles include pickled cucumbers, and many other vegetables, including carrots.
Quick pickling means that we are not using sterilized jars (clean of course, but not completely sterilized like for canning), and these pickles will go in the refrigerator and need to be used in a few weeks. They cannot sit on a shelf for a year. Making quick pickled carrots only takes about 10 minutes. Let’s get to it!
Preparing The Carrots
The first step on your way to pickled carrot enlightenment is to julienne your carrots. That’s a fancy way of saying cut the carrots into matchstick shapes. To do this you peel your whole carrots and cut them into 2 or 3 inch pieces. Next you cut those pieces into planks, and then slice the planks into the matchstick shape.
At the end you will have a pile of carrots that looks like this:
Use a sharp knife to do this, and keep those fingertips out of the way! Curl those fingers, baby. Of course you can also use the julienne setting on a mandoline. If you use a mandoline please for the love wear cut resistant gloves! The worst kitchen injuries that I have personally witnessed have all been from cavalier mandoline usage. Just wear the gloves!!!
After your carrots are prepared, stuff them into a 1 quart mason jar and prepare the brine.
Finishing Your Quick Pickled Carrots
The brine is very easy. Just combine the water, vinegars, sugar and salt in a small or medium saucepot and bring to a boil. That’s it. Then you very carefully pour the hot brine over the carrots like so:
Let the jar come to room temperature and then place it in the fridge. You can eat the pickled carrots immediately and they are yummy, but the flavor gets better with time. Keep your pickled carrots in the fridge and use them within a few weeks. Voila! Quick pickled carrots.
Now you’re ready to put your pickled carrots on sandwiches, in salads, or on top of rich dishes and rice bowls (FORESHADOWING). I can’t wait for you to try them!
Quick Pickled Carrots
- 1 pint mason jar
- 1 and 1/2 cups julienned carrots (matchstick) about 3 whole carrots
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- First, julienne your carrots by peeling them, cutting them into 2 to 3 inch pieces. Then cut those pieces into rectangular planks, then cut those planks into a matchstick shape. You can also use the julienne setting on a mandoline, just be sure to use cut resistant gloves.
- In a medium saucepot, bring the white vinegar, rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. This is your brine.
- While the brine is heating, place your carrots in a 1 pint mason jar.
- When the brine has come to a boil, very carefully pour the brine over the carrots, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the jar.
- Let the jar cool to room temperature, and then place the lid on and stick it in the fridge.
- Quick pickled carrots can be eaten immediately, but the flavor improves with a few hours in the fridge.
- Use within 2 weeks.