Confession: I'm a pickle person.
Some people are sweets people. They constantly need something sugary to put into their mouths. They buy gummy snacks or sweet tarts or nerds, and always need a bit of ice-cream or chocolate after a meal. That's totally fine. I don't have a problem with that, but my equivalent of a snacking fetish is a pickle.
When I come home I grab a jar of cornichons and happily munch on them while I prepare dinner. I make jars of pickled beets and have been known to stain my fingers pink at 4am fishing them out for a sleepless night snack. My tongue prickles when I think of crunching on a stick of vinegary carrot.
This probably stems from the fact that my father is a gardener, my grandmother a jam maker and my childhood was spent squirreling away the summer's produce into jars that were chipped away at over the cold winter months, always evoking a memory of the sun-drenched day that the food was plucked.
Pickles are actually amazingly easy. The only thing you really need on hand is vinegar, sugar and a jar and then the rest is augmentation. I often only make 1-2 jars of things at a time and keep them in the fridge, rather than expect them to be shelf-stable, which requires a bit more planning.
During a busy week, these carrots are cheese-board equivalent of the Big Lebowski rug, they tie the whole board together and make it a meal, rather than just a dead-lazy snack of cheese and oat biscuits. I love making them quite spicy with chili-flakes and the garlic adds an extra bite that goes really well with a sharp cheddar.
You might not think that you're the type of person (f$#king hipster) who "makes pickles," but the improvement in your cheeseboard game alone makes it worth it.
Moroccan Carrots with Chili and Garlic
- Enough carrots to completely fill a jar, peeled and sliced into halves or quarters
- 6-8 whole gloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon of pickling spice
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons or more of chili flakes
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
Shove the carrots and garlic into the jar. Try to have the garlic evenly distributed around the carrots. Put the vinegar, water, sugar and spices in a pan and bring to a boil long enough to melt the sugar. Pour the liquid over the carrots so that it completely covers the veggies. Screw on a lid as tight it will possibly go, and then flip it a few times so that the air bubbles float to the top. Place in fridge. These guys can be eaten 1-2 days later. Preferably with cheese and crackers. :)