While there’s an infinite way to pickle, I general use one of three recipes. The basic idea is to toast up your aromatics, add water, vinegar, sugar, and salt, bring it up to a boil, then pour over your veg and cool immediately to save their crunch.
In this case I’m using carrots. They’re universal. Soups, salads, cheese plates, sandwiches…
What You Need
1 good sized non-reactive stockpot
2 mixing bowls
about a quart of ice
2 lbs carrots – The fresher the better. Wash and peel them, then cut as evenly as possible. I like them julienned on a mandoline, about two inches long. But you can also cut them on a bias for nice, almost diamond shaped carrots.
1 Tbsp each Coriander, Caraway, Fennel, and Black Peppercorns, all whole seed
1 lb brown sugar*
2 Tbsp salt
1.5 qts rice vinegar**
2 Cups H20**
On high heat, toast your seeds in the stockpot until they’re super fragrant and slightly browned. Don’t let them burn.
Immediately add the water, sugar, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a full boil and let it roll for about five minutes to extract the flavor from your spices. Taste it for salt and sweetness.
Place your carrots in one mixing bowl, then place that bowl in the second mixing bowl filled with ice.
Carefully pour the pickling liquid through the strainer onto the carrots and refrigerate.
That’s it! When they’re cool keep them in an airtight container, submerged in their liquid. You can use them within a few hours, but they get better over time. They will also keep for a long time.
* I like the taste of brown sugar best, but for a clearer liquid, and brighter colored carrot, you can use plain old white sugar. I think it tends to be sweeter too, so add to your liking.
** This is a relatively strong pickle ratio. If you don’t like a strong vinegar-y taste, substitute two more cups water for two cups vinegar. Or, instead, try using regular white vinegar. Rice vinegar is generally already sweet.