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Recipe

Sweet-and-Sour Pickled Carrots and Fennel

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 4 pints

In this somewhat unusual combination, crunchy carrots take on the lovely flavor of fennel. Use a mix of colored carrots—gold, orange, and red—if you can find them. The darker ones turn the brine a pretty shade of sunset pink.


Ingredients

  • 2 lb. carrots
  • 2 lb. (about 2 large) fennel bulbs
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar or vanilla sugar
  • 2 Tbs. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. whole fennel seeds

Nutritional Information

      Nutritional Sample Size per 1 oz.
      Calories (kcal) : 10
      Fat Calories (kcal): 0
      Fat (g): 0
      Saturated Fat (g): 0
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
      Cholesterol (mg): 0
      Sodium (mg): 40
      Carbohydrates (g): 3
      Fiber (g): 1
      Sugar (g): 2
      Protein (g): 0

Preparation

  • Run 4 pint-size or 2 quart-size mason jars and their lids through the hottest dishwasher cycle to sanitize.
  • Peel and cut the carrots crosswise into 2-inch pieces, and quarter or halve the thicker pieces lengthwise to yield evenly sized pieces.
  • Cut off the fennel tops, and set aside 4 fronds. Quarter each bulb lengthwise through its core, then slice each quarter into thin wedges.
  • Combine the vinegars, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a large, deep saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the carrots and fennel to the boiling brine. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the vegetables, reserving the brine.
  • Place a fennel frond or two in the bottom of each jar. Pack the vegetables into the jars, taking care to get a mix of vegetables and some spices in each one. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Screw the lids on tightly, and let cure in the refrigerator for 1 week before serving. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

• Serve with grilled lamb chops or roast chicken.

• Finely dice and fold into a filling for deviled eggs.

• Chop and add to chicken salad.

The recipe calls for curing the pickles in the refrigerator, but if you’d rather make them shelf-stable until they’re open, you can process the vegetables in a hot-water bath. Though they will soften over time, the unopened pickles will keep for up to 1 year at room temperature. Simply follow these instructions for hot-water canning, processing the jars for 10 minutes.

You may have a fair amount of brine left over. Rather than tossing it, use it to make fennel-pickled eggs. Hard-boil and peel six medium eggs. Pack them snugly into a clean glass jar, and pour hot brine over them, making sure they’re completely submerged. Let cool, cap tightly, and refrigerate. Let the eggs cure for a couple of days before using, but eat within 1 week.

Tip

Why filtered water? Vegetables pickled in agrodolce pick up all of the flavors in the brine—that’s the whole point, after all. Because water is a main component of the brine, I recommend you filter your tap water or use bottled spring water. This way, you can be sure your pickles won’t take on any off flavors from municipal water-treatment chemicals, such as chlorine, or naturally occurring minerals in well water, like sulfur.

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