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Friday, September 14, 2012

Pickled carrots in salt brine with honey and mustard (vegan)

Darlings, autumn is here, which means it's pickling season! :)

First of all, I think you'll all agree with me when I say that vinegar-based pickles are nothing compared with traditional pickles made in salt brine (that actually allows fermentation, not just preserves, which leads to a richer and more complex flavor). Those were the pickles we in Eastern Europe grew up with. And my dad's pickling skills are brilliant, I learned a lot from him. But from his mixed pickled vegetable jars (God, those jars were huge! :P) my favorite bits were always the carrot slices (followed closely by the cauliflower florets) which I prodigiously hunted and fished for :)
So now I like making my own pickles with just carrots (although I must admit putting different kinds of veggies to pickle together in the same jar does give a nice flavor, but the honey and mustard more than compensate for that, not to mention not having to fish through the jar for the occasional carrots which were my main choice). And improving the taste with mustard and honey flavors. The result is lovely, so here's to me being a good girl and sharing it with the world :) Enjoy!
P.S: Laura and Vlad, I hope you liked them ;)

Last year: no cooking due to another kind of bun in the oven. :)

Ingredients (for 2 X 500 ml jars):
  • 250 g baby carrots
  • 2-3 tablespoons of golden mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
  • 30 g natural salt (without iodine)
  • about 600 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

First of all, it's very important to use natural salt (like sea-salt). The salt with an addition of iodine makes the pickles too soft and trust me, you want them crunchy, not limp. To get started, sterilize the jars for about 10 minutes in the oven at high temperature (200 degrees C will do) and then start filling them. Pour some mustard seeds on the bottom and start layering the baby carrots in them:

Continue with the rest of the carrots, packing them tight until the jars are filled almost all the way to the top. Slice the garlic cloves and insert them all around. At the end, pour the rest of the mustard seeds in the jars. Also pour 1 tablespoon of honey in each jar.

Heat the water until it starts to boil. Dissolve the salt in it, then pour it in each jar until it's almost filled. The jars can now be closed. If they were sterilized properly they should be fine, but for extra help keeping the bad bacteria out I like to seal each jar with 1 tablespoon of olive oil added on top before I put on the lid. Your call.
After you seal the jars closed, keep them in a dark place at room temperature and allow the pickles to mature. They'll be ready in 6 weeks from now, but they keep well for another 6 months until you open them. When you open a jar, keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy your pickling and your pickles! :)

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