You will never buy pickles again after tasting how good homemade pickles can be. You can pickle any vegetable but this recipe is for crunchy, spicy carrots. The seasonings are mainly based on Indian spices, which I think stand up to the sweet, salty, acidic brine sooo well. You can add these pickled carrots to more recipes or just eat them as they come out of the jar (a whole jar doesn’t last too long in our house).
The brine is based on rice vinegar, which is a pretty neutral flavour of vinegar that you can add our own flavourings to. You can switch this for other more flavoured vinegars such as apple cider or white wine vinegar BUT BEWARE, this is not only more expensive, the flavour profile will also be very different and the seasonings may not come through as expected. If you find it hard to get hold of rice vinegar, it’s best to use a basic white distilled vinegar, which is also pretty neutral in flavour. The vinegar is also diluted with water so it is not too overpowering. This allows the taste of the vegetables to come through – rather than masking their flavour with acid! Sugar and salt also help mellow the acid.
The main flavour coming through in the seasonings in this recipe is coriander, which I think marries so well to the carrots. The subtitles of the other flavours then start to come through, with a kick of heat from the peppercorns and chilli flakes. I left out cumin seeds. Despite being such a classic combination, I often find cumin can be a little overpowering with carrots if the ratio is even slightly too high, or even if you change to a stronger cumin batch. If you love it though – just switch the coriander seeds for cumin and enjoy!
I often see the small carrots of spring pickled whole, with a little stem showing. These taste fabulously sweet and are great when spring comes around. For those bigger, earthier carrots of autumn and winter – just cut them into strips. I think 1 cm rounds at an angle look pretty, but chop them into any shape you want to eat! The thinner you cut them, the softer they will be when eaten.
When to eat?
These are ready to eat after about 2 hours in the fridge. They should keep up to 1 month in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Air tight container such as a kilner jar or large jam jar
- 125 ml rice vinegar
- 475 ml hot water
- 70 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp coriander seeds
- ½ tbsp nigella seeds
- ½ tbsp pepper corns
- ½ tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 5 garlic cloves
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 500 g carrots
- To make the brine, add the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Peel and chop the carrots into ½ – 1 cm rounds (at a slight angle looks quite pretty).
- Add the chopped carrots and all the flavourings (seeds, chilli flakes, peppercorns, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs) to an airtight container and pour over the hot brine. Allow to cool and store in the fridge. They are ready to serve after around 2 hours in the fridge and will keep for up to 1 month.