I’m experimenting with pickling carrots. The first time I tried, I used a standard dill pickle recipe when I found a lonely little bunch of fresh baby carrots at the Farmers Market at Grand Army Plaza one Saturday afternoon in September. They were so cute! About 2-2 ½ inches long, with friendly green leafy stalks, they fit perfectly into those 8 oz. canning jars. One bunch made about three jars, and they looked so appealing standing up amidst the dill, garlic, peppercorns, and other pickling spices. I kept my eyes open for another bunch of baby carrots in the weeks after, but didn’t see any. Unfortunately, I rarely get up early on Saturdays, so I never get to the Farmers’ Market before noon. I usually bring a collapsible shopping bag and wear it in a zippered bag around my waist while I run from the 9th Street entrance to Prospect Park all the way to Grand Army Plaza. Then I stop to catch my breath, sample the wine and fresh free range turkey, and start my weekly produce shopping.
I realized that if I wanted perfect baby carrots fresh, I’d have to get up earlier and get there before the run. I haven’t been able to do it yet, but I did get there by 10:30 one morning before Thanksgiving because I wanted to bring a festive jar of carrots to friends as a thank-you gift for letting us use their country home for our holiday weekend. I hit the jackpot. I found three stalls that were selling tricolor baby carrots! I’d never seen anything like them. They were bunches of yellow, red, and plain ol’ orange carrots. I brought about four bunches home and prepared three for canning. I made 3 big jars, and 3 little jars, of dilled carrots in cider vinegar. I actually forgot to give them to my friends, so they’re sitting, sealed, in my guest room, but I did bring a jar with me to a work event the weekend before last and my colleagues loved them!
We’re thinking of making jars of pickled carrots for our friends and co-workers for Christmas this year, and I’m dreading having to get up before 9 am on cold Brooklyn morning next weekend. But I think it will be well worth the sacrifice, and we can always come back and go back to the warm and cuddly bed!