I have made pickled carrots before, a long time ago. Four years ago; when my food photography was atrocious and my canning skills were n00b level. I made an adapted version of Molly Wizenberg’s recipe from her book A Homemade Life, which was basically spicy pickled carrots with rosemary. They were good and very much enjoyed by everyone who ate them, but for some reason I never again made a pickled carrot.
I really don’t know why I never again pickled carrots, really. I always thought of it when I saw beautiful multicolor heirloom carrots at farmer’s markets. I literally would see them and think, “How gorgeous would those be, pickled up in a jar?” And then I’d promptly move on and never actually do it. I’d probably just eat them in a salad or soup and that would be that.
But I recently had this genius idea. While making Jay his whiskey sour/maple whiskey pickles for the zillionth time, I thought, “Hey wait a minute… maple glazed carrots… maple whiskey pickles… what about using this recipe for pickled carrots?!” He looked at me as if I was insane (a normal occurrence) and then nodded slowly and smiled and said, “Sure…” I think he was just humoring me.
And so of course I just had to try it out. I did not have any fancy colored carrots, unfortunately, just plain old skinny organic orange beta-carotene-filled “normal” ones. However, it really would be lovely to fill up a jar with a variety of colors and sizes of carrots for this. Excellent presentation.
No canning is required for these, however you can process them for 10 minutes in a waterbath canner if you want to keep ’em a bit longer.
I really like using the 24-ounce jars for carrots and asparagus and tall veggies, so that’s what you see here. But any jar will do.
QUICK MAPLE WHISKEY PICKLED CARROTS
Makes one quart or 24-ounce jar; can be doubled or halved
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity if you’re planning to process them)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar (5% acidity if you’re planning to process them)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon- good quality but not the most expensive
- 1 large head of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dill seed
- anywhere from 1/2 lb. – 1 lb. fresh carrots, depending on size/shape, peeled if desired/cut into sticks if desired
- In a wide saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer & cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the carrots, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Then pack jars with carrots. If you’re leaving them whole, you might have to cut some to get them to fit, and that’s okay. Add garlic, dill heads and pickling spice.
- Add the maple syrup and whiskey to the jar. Pour hot brine over the carrots. Stir or mix gently with the handle of a clean wooden spoon, and tap to remove any bubbles.
- Cover jars with lids (I used these since I wasn’t planning on “canning” them) and let cool before refrigerating. Carrots are thick and need to sit for AT LEAST a week to absorb the flavor; and I personally would give them a gentle turn upside down and rightside up after every two days just to mix the whiskey and maple syrup, but be sure to have a good fit with your lid before doing this.
- If canning them, wipe rims and add lids and bands to fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes (for quart and 24-oz. jars). Remove, let sit for 12 hours, etc, etc. Any jars that aren’t sealed have to be popped into the fridge for immediate use. Any jar; canned or not, that are not in fact sealed must be used fairly quickly anyway- think within 2-4 months.
For children’s consumption and/or anyone who avoids alcohol, the whiskey can of course be removed from the recipe. And for a super sweet treat you can even remove the dill and sneak in a vanilla bean if you like.
These straddle that carrot-y line of sweet/savory. They make it even more ambiguous, thanks to both the apple cider vinegar and the maple syrup combined with the tang of the white vinegar and the garlic. Plus there’s that wicked dill flavor that hits you! They’re great for snacking, or as an appetizer/part of a charcuterie platter, but they’re also great with pork, ham, lamb or chicken. I can’t imagine there are many things they wouldn’t be good for, except maybe a salad. Unless you like a little alcohol in your salad.
And they make a great tangy side for your end-of-summer barbecues.