Carrots and apples are some of the easiest fresh items to keep on hand. They’re among the last locally grown produce you can harvest or buy each year. Simply shoved into a fridge drawer, they can last weeks. I harvest enough to dedicate space for a couple of boxes in my cool mudroom. Unblemished late apples tend to stay tart and crisp the longest when wrapped in paper and packed in a wide, shallow box. I’ve converted a broken-down ice chest into carrot storage, pulling keeper carrots after the last frost and burying undamaged ones amid layers of sand.
If you always have a couple of carrots and apples at hand, a quick salad, sauteed side or crunchy snack is minutes away. When I think of their natural sugars, I immediately picture this duo as a quick pickle. Vinegar’s zing not only complements their sweet flavors but also keeps them looking bright and fresh.
Carrot-and-apple pickles also brighten winter’s darkest days. Deep orange carrots seem to shine in the brine. Leaving the peel on the apple adds another splash of color and helps hold the shape. Ultrathin slices of carrots and apples mimic the texture of pickled ginger. You could also grate this trio like a slaw, but thick shreds will give a stronger gingery bite.
Whether sliced or grated, this pickle works well alongside a honey-cured or smoked ham, roasted turkey, baked salmon or spiced lentils. Be sure to include it when you turn leftovers into a sandwich.
Ginger-Spiked Carrot and Apple Pickle
Makes 1-1/2 cups
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
1 medium crisp apple, quartered and sliced (1 cup)
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (4.3% acidity)
1/4 cup sherry
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the carrots, apple quarters, and ginger crosswise into paper-thin pieces with a similar diameter. Transfer the vegetables to a colander set over a bowl, toss with the lemon juice and then the salt, and let sit for 30 minutes.
In a small measuring cup, combine the vinegar, sherry, and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the coriander seeds.
Rinse the salt from the vegetables under cool water, then gently squeeze out the water. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, pour in the brine, and toss to mix well before serving. These pickles will keep for at least 1 week in a clean lidded container in the refrigerator submerged in their brine.
Excerpt from The Complete Guide to Pickling, by Julie Laing, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
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