I have a bit of a confession to make. Even though my recipe index implies otherwise, I really prefer salty over sweet. For a while my “dessert” after dinner,would be a bowl full of salt and vinegar Lays (SOOO addicting and SOOO bad for you) rather than a couple of scoops out of a Ben and Jerry’s Pint. However, recently I have found a new way to get my salty-fix: jar pickles. Specifically, pickled sugar snap peas and spicy pickled carrots.
I tried pickling peppers last fall but I had forgotten about how magical a little brine and some time in the fridge can be on a jar full of veggies until I read Deb’s post about sugar snap peas. When the first harvest of sugar snaps hit the Nichols’ Farm table, I knew that I had to whip up a jar. Ironically enough, that night I made it to one of the last chapters in a wonderful little book and Molly described how her husband Brandon is a vinegar lover and she shared a few recipes of pickled produce that they served at their rehearsal dinner. One was Spicy Pickled Carrots w/ Garlic and Thyme.
She also shares a picked grape recipe that I will have to try once grapes hit the market later in the summer. I haven’t tried the carrots yet because they need a little more time than the sugar snaps to absorb all the briney goodness but the sugar snaps are addicting. Dave and I ate them in 3 days flat, and I have already made another jar full this afternoon and will likely make them a few more times while sugar snaps are in season. Give them a try. You will become a pickling covert like me. And you won’t even miss the big bag of Lays.
1 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed and strings removed (I didn’t know what strings Deb was talking about)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
dried red pepper flakes, 5 or 6 shakes from a shaker jar if you like things spicy
In a nonreactive saucepan, heat the vinegar with the salt and sugar until they are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and add the cold water which starts the cooling process faster.
When the vinegar mixture is cool, pack the sugar snaps, garlic and flakes into a 1-quart jar and pour the brine over it. Cover with a non-reactive cap. [I have started to save tons of glass jars and I used a leftover TJs apple sauce jar.]
Deb mentions that original recipe suggests you store the jar in the refrigerator for two weeks before eating the pickled peas, but it is likely that you will start eating them the next day, and the jar will be gone a few days later. They are that good.
Spicy Pickled Carrots with Garlic and Thyme
From A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
2 cups apple cider vinegar (plus more if you need it to top off jars)
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
6 sprigs fresh thyme [I love my balcony container garden]
5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons [which is also 1/2 tablespoon if you have one of those] black peppercorns, cracked
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Heaping 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Heaping 1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 pounds small (finger-sized) carrots, or standard carrots cut down into sticks about 1/2 in wide and 2 in long [please don't use the bagged baby carrots b/c those just taste like plastic]
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, garlic, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup vinegar.
Put the carrots in a large, heatproof bowl, and pour the warm brine over them. Cool to room temperature.
While the carrots cool, make sure your canning jars are cleaned. (I used a large leftover spaghetti sauce jar that I had soaked over night in baking soda a few times to get rid of the smell.)
When the carrots and brine are cool, distribute the carrots evenly among the jars, arranging them snugly. (Molly says that hands and fingers work best and she is right.) Using a ladle, divide the brine evenly among the jars. The carrots should be completely covered by brine. If not add more 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water to cover. [I had plently.]
Seal firmly and refrigerate for at least 3 days, or, preferably, a week; carrots are dense and take time to absorb the brine. [all the more reason to make sugar snaps on the same day so that you can munch on them while you are waiting.]
Note: Molly says that they should last in theory indefinitely in the fridge but she doubts they will last that long since you will love them. Try to eat them in a month or two.