I've had a thing for pickles ever since I can remember; the salty tang of the brine and the crunch of the vegetables gets me every time. Our CSA boxes have had carrots in them for the past couple of weeks and I had a bunch of them, sitting in the fridge, waiting for something to do. Since I am not a fan of floppy cucumber pickles (and I haven’t found the perfect pickling recipe that delivers a cuke pickle with some crunch), I decided to pickles carrots instead — they would stand up to the heat of canning without turning to mush.
Indian Pickled Carrots (Adapted from Amy Pennington's Urban Pantry)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup raw sugar
3 peels of lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick, broken in 3 or 6 pieces (one for each container)
1/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp fenugreek seed
1/2 tsp black mustard seed (I used brown mustard seed)
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp coriander seed (I used fresh 1/4 cup cilantro)
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 poblano or jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
1 pound of carrots, washed and cut into uniform match sticks
Prepare jars for canning. In a medium-sized sauce pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon stick to a gentle boil and hold over low heat.
In another sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat until hot. Stir in the fenugreek, mustard seeds, fennel seed, chile flakes and cumin seeds. When the spices begin to pop (about 4 minutes), add the ginger, garlic, salt, poblanos and onion, stirring until soft and slightly caramelized, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
Pack the canning jars with the carrots and cilantro, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Pour equal spoonfuls of the spice mixture into each jar. Pour the hot vinegar over the carrots, submerging them and leaving about a 1/2 inch of head space. The contents should sit right below the bottom ring of the glass jar.
Process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. Make sure the seals are secure and store in a cool, dark cupboard for at least three weeks before eating.