Nothing pleases the palate after a long summer day like a good pickle. A bit of salt, a bit of crunch, and that vegetal freshness make a refreshing bite. Earlier this summer, my brother-in-law Brett had a few people over one evening. After handing around a few beverages, he pulled a mason jar from the fridge and set it on the counter. Inside, mutli-colored carrots floated in a murky liquid. “Pickled carrot?” he asked. Who would say no? They tasted simultaneously like carrot and not-carrot, with a satisfying sour flavor to balance the natural sweetness of the carrots. What a snack–imagine coming home from the bar or from a long day hike knowing that such a jar awaited in your very own refrigerator. If Brett could pickle some carrots, why not me?
With that goal in mind, I cracked open Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I received it as a Christmas gift last year–a highly respected cookbook about things that sit well outside my wheelhouse: curing, pickling, and smoking. The first time I tried to pickle carrots, my son got sick and we just ate the carrots because they were there and didn’t involve a trip to the grocery store. The second time, a wind storm knocked out our power. This time, nothing stood in my way. I cannot wait to crack these open in seven to ten days.
Michael Ruhlman’s Pickled Carrots
50 grams kosher salt (1 ¾ tablespoons)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a bigger-than-thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped
half a handful of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 liter water (4 ¼ cups)
255 grams carrots (9 ounces)
- Put the water, salt, garlic, ginger, and oregano into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.
- Remove the brine from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Put the carrots into a clean jar, and pour enough of the brine in to fill them.
- Press some plastic wrap down onto the carrots and pour brine on top of the wrap to ensure that the carrots remain covered.
- Let the jar sit in a cool spot to ferment for 7 days. If the carrots are not sufficiently sour after 7 days, let them ferment for another 3 days.
- To store the carrots, take them out of the jar and put them in a clean one. Strain the remaining brine into a pan and bring to a boil. Remove the brine from the heat and allow it to cool back to room temperature.
- Pour the cooled brine over the carrots, cover, and refrigerate.