This month’s challenge ingredient was the humble carrot. The humble, very, very low acid carrot. As those of you who have tried water-bath canning know safe canning is based on an understanding of the acidity of what you want to preserve. The acid in fruits and vegetables helps kill harmful bacteria and other germs; if there isn’t enough acid, then the bad stuff can grow and then make us sick when we ingest them.
To make sure jams, jellies and other preserves have are acidic enough we add acid in the form of citrus juice, vinegar or citric acid. When preserving very low acid vegetables like carrots the safest way to can them is by using a pressure-canner. This challenge, however, is a water-bath canning challenge so….pickles it is. Pickling is the ONLY safe way to preserve low acid foods using a water-canner.
The basic recipe I used is from the local kitchen blog, but since these were cal-organic and I’m going home in a few weeks for a fabulous birthday celebration including tamales, margaritas and more homemade goodness I figured I’d make Mexican pickled carrots. If you’re from SoCal or have dined at Mexican restaurants there they are a traditional accompaniment to chips and salsa. Basically they are coins of carrots with slices of jalapeño, cloves of garlic, sliced onion and a bit of oregano for good measure.
In two weeks I’ll be able to find out how delicious these are!
p.s. this recipe also makes great fridge pickles.
p.p.s. ummm, crap, I can’t find my camera cord so pictures are forthcoming I promise!
So here’s what I grabbed on the way out the door for lunch today: about 3/4 cups leftover chickpeas tossed with salt,pepper, red onion and a vinaigrette, a handful of raisins, an orange and a sweet potato. I was planning on segmenting the orange and putting it into the chickpeas, but instead I zapped the sweet potato, mashed it up a bit and threw that it. Add the raisins and HOLY COW was that a delicious warm salad. Highly recommended.