Pickled Carrots

What a way to take carrots to another level! First we make them ridiculously tender in a spa-worthy salt scrub, then they get a luscious bath in pickling liquid. It’s the ultimate detox, a stress-melting treatment for today’s urban carrot. I use these pickled carrots diced up in a summer salad. They also make a perfect companion to a plate of cured meats or good cheese.

This basic vegetable pickling liquid is what I use for almost any root vegetable; it can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. I like to keep it around for any last-minute pickling needs.–Seamus Mullen

LC Quasi-Quick Pickles Note

These quasi-quick pickles stack flavor on top of flavor, seeing as they’re first enveloped with salt and herbs and spices, then baked, and then plunged into a pool of tongue-tinglingly tangy spiced vinegar, all in the span of a few minutes of work and a few hours of waiting. If you crave an even quicker pickle, simply blanch the carrots rather than bake them. The result will cause you no remorse.

Pickled Carrots Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped or crumbled guindilla pepper (optional; you can substitute a pinch crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups Salt-Baked Carrots (see LC Note above)

Directions

  • 1. To make the pickling liquid, combine all of the ingredients except the carrots in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. You should have about 3 cups of liquid. (You can cool, cover, and refrigerate the pickling liquid for up to 1 month. Bring it to a boil just before using.)
  • 2. If using thickish carrots, cut them on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices; if using slender carrots, cut them into sticks. Place the carrots in a ceramic bowl. Pour the pickling liquid over the carrots. Cover and refrigerate until cool. The carrots can be served right away; however, if you let them soak for at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator they’ll take on more of the characteristics of the pickling spices. [Editor's Note: Some testers found the carrots to be pungent in a particularly perfect way at 45 minutes, while others preferred the carrots after they'd lounged in the liquid overnight and taken on more heat from the peppers and other robustly flavored ingredients. Suit yourself. If you take a nibble and they're a little vinegary for your taste, just add a touch of cold water and soak the carrots a little longer.]

In Advance Advice

  • In case you didn’t catch the nifty in advance advice in the instructions, allow us to repeat ourselves: You can cool, cover, and refrigerate the pickling liquid for up to 1 month. How handy is that?!
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Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Jo Ann Brown] I don’t even know how to explain these flavors. They mix up the taste buds and I’m tongue-tied. Despite being a two-stage recipe it was easy and generally took little prep or supervision to get to pickled carrot goodness. I’m smitten with the spices and how the vinegar shamelessly assaults my mouth only to have the carrot bring up the rear to smooth everything together. I like you, little complicated carrot.

  2. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Anne D.] I have a confession to make. I was all set to make this recipe and was going to town trimming carrots and prepping the pickling liquid when I realized I didn’t have the pound of salt that I was certain was lingering in the pantry. I made these pickles anyway, skipping the salt bake and blanching the carrots in salt water for one minute and then rinsing them under cold water to stop the cooking process. I then proceeded with the recipe from there.

    The pickled carrots were delicious and took no time at all to throw together. I packed my carrots into a large mason jar and poured the pickling liquid directly over. I couldn’t stop myself from sampling them after just 10 minutes, and they were already flavorful. They were best, however, after sitting in the refrigerator for a full day. Tart but sweet and just a little bit spicy, the fennel seeds really stand out and pair well with the natural sweetness of the carrots. When I make them in the future I’ll try to get my hands on the guindilla pepper or will increase the amount of red pepper flakes because I do like a spicier pickle. One other small point is the fact that the apple cider vinegar is very fruity and imparts a strong flavor. I think if making it again I’d use half apple cider and half regular white vinegar for a milder vinegar taste. Even with the shortcut these were a winner, and my husband and I can’t stop snacking on them. I’ll make them with the salt-baked carrots next time and can’t wait to see how delicious they are.

  3. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Joel Jenkins] They were delicious. Although the shelf life of 10 days seems to be a bit short; mine were just fine after that. (It’s hard to eat 3 pints of pickles in 10 days!) I really like the quick “canning” recipe much better than spending hours over a canner after blanching the 50 pounds of vegetables necessary to make it worth the effort.

  4. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Colleen Bloxham] When I first saw this recipe for quick pickled carrots, I was quite excited, but then when I saw that you salt-baked them first, I was doubly excited!The salt baking, which entailed fresh herbs from my garden, lemon peel, pink and black peppercorns, and salt, brought loads of flavor to the profile. I’d chosen both yellow and red carrots from the farmer’s market to bring some color and distinction to this dish. The recipe was dead easy but removing the peels after they’d baked was a bit tricky. I found that letting them sit a little in the bowl while hot made them easier to peel. I then proceeded to the quick pickle. It too was dead easy. A few spices, including fresh coriander from my garden, and some vinegar went into the pickling liquid. I left the carrots in the fridge for several hours and served them with some grilled chicken and a side salad of arugula to balance out the bitter and sour. I really liked this recipe and can see many uses for the pickles, such as on a charcuterie platter or mixed into a green salad, even chopped and added to a carrot salad for a little sharpness along with the sweet. The pickling liquid would also work well with a mélange of root vegetables.

  5. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Elsa M. Jacobson] We had vegetables from our CSA and fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden. I salt-baked the carrots and the beets, then ate the delicious beets and used the carrots (not without some substantial taste testing first!) for the pickles. The salt mixture didn’t completely cover the vegetables at all, but the spices and herbs did contribute great flavor to the baked veggies. It was hard to scrape off the skin and I’d skip that step for the carrots in the future: presuming they’re organic, I’m fine with the peels on my carrots. Neither the dish towel nor the paring knife suggestion worked well for me. At this point, there were some tasty cooked vegetables. On to the pickling! Again, there were fresh herbs from the garden, both thyme and dill, plus garlic from the CSA. I neither had nor could I quickly get ahold of the guindilla pepper specified, so I substituted a pinch of red pepper flakes. After bringing the vinegar and water to a boil and then simmering for 20 minutes, I no longer had 3 cups, so I added some more water. While we didn’t wait to sample the baked vegetables, we did wait the minimum 45 minutes of soaking time in the refrigerator before sampling the pickled carrots and they were delicious served as an accompaniment to the quintessential burger, potato salad, and watermelon summer picnic. If I’d made them a day earlier, I’d definitely have included them in the terrific everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad we’d had the night before, and I love the idea of using them as a companion to good cheese. I’m also going to be a big fan of keeping the basic pickling liquid around for last-minute needs.

  6. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Imelda Antonio] I love pickles so much that I always have a jar in my fridge, and from time to time pickle my own cucumbers, cauliflower, or jalapeños. I’d only ever tried store-bought pickled carrots before, which I haven’t always enjoyed as much as other pickles. So I was intrigued by recipe that incorporated salt-baked carrots. Not being familiar with salt baking, I was very curious about how that method affected/improved the vegetables.

    I had a fun time making these carrots—trying out a new cooking method/technique is always interesting. The instructions were easy to follow. I made two batches of the pickling liquid and put just the carrots in one, and both carrots and beets in the other. The latter jar turned a very pretty pinkish-red color from the beets. The carrots tasted great, though I found them to be a little more tart than I like, so I added 2 tablespoons more water. Overall, the carrots tasted good, but I didn’t get how roasting them in the salt/rosemary/thyme/peppercorn/lemon “scrub” added any extra/different flavor. I think they can be made just as well and tender without this added step, although I hadn’t tested that as a variation (naked roasting), so I’m not really sure what they’d taste like without baking them in the salt scrub.

  7. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Becky Kimball] I thought the Salt-Baked Carrots were too salty by themselves, but quite tasty after pickling. I personally would’ve liked the pickles to be a bit sweeter, but the true pickle lover in my family, my husband, was almost late for work from eating so many! As an out of hand snack, they’re tangy and retain quite a bit of texture—they’re not too soggy or mushy. On a sandwich or salad, they add the perfect zip. Some readers may want to up the heat or garlic level a bit, but the floral notes of the pink and black peppercorns came through nicely. As my mother-in-law said, “They’re a great pickle!”

  8. ruthie says:

    This sounds like a great idea. I always have cauliflower left over when I make the baked, and a few baked carrots and a few other things in this pickling liquid would make a great combo pickle for mezzes or antipasto or tapas or whatever. This place is a goldmine, I tell ya! ;)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Thanks for the swell idea, Ruthie! Love the notion of cauliflower pickled in this fashion. Love it! Kindly report back….

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