How To Avoid Wasting Carrots

January 10, 2011   24 Comments

Do you hate limp carrots? Do you buy a bag of carrots only to find that half of them are rotten by the time you get to eat them?

Pickled Carrots

What about baby carrots? I find them to be tasteless, but I think I am in the minority on this one. Do they get soggy before you finish a bag?

Well, I have a delicious solution - pickled carrots! It is ridiculously easy to pickle carrots and then you have a lovely and low calorie snack in your fridge for an ENTIRE month (or longer).

You can't make excuses about not having time to slice carrots if you do a big batch and just leave it in your fridge. Also, you can just buy a bag of baby carrots and then you really save time in the process.

These pickled carrots can be eaten 24 hours after you make them. They have a salty, sour, and sweet taste and the pickling process really dresses up the carrots.

Serve these carrots at a party or along side your favorite sandwich. Or just grab them for a low calorie, anytime snack.

You don't have to "jar" them. Like Freezer Jam For Dummies, you can just use the fridge to store your pickled carrots so you don't have to go through the painful process of sterilizing jars and sealing them.

I used a Glad plastic container to make my pickled carrots. Any container with a top is suitable for pickling. Just be sure (for this recipe) that it can hold about 4 cups of liquid.

I used "rice" vinegar for this recipe because it has a sweet taste to it. And, I used caraway seed and crushed black peppercorns to flavor my carrots, but you can use anything you have around the house (wine vinegar, fennel seeds, dried oregano, dried basil, etc.) to flavor your pickling juice.

Once you get some experience with pickling you can adjust the seasonings for your taste.

Do you pickle? Please share your tricks below.

Pickled Carrots Recipe

(4 servings)

1 pound carrots (baby carrots will work)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns (optional)
1/4 finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)

Peel and slice carrots into sticks. If you are using baby carrots you can skip this step. Pour water and rice vinegar into a small saucepan. Mix in sugar, salt, caraway seed, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and parsley. Cool to room temperature and transfer to a storage container. Can be eaten in one day or up to one month.

79 calories, 0.3 g fat, 14.1 g carbohydrates, 1.1 g protein, 3.2 g fiber, 81 mg sodium, 0 Points+

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 24 )

This is awesome, thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I have a great recipe that I use to make refrigerator pickles. I've tried using the recipe to "pickle" carrots but the results were less than spectacular. I'll have to try rice vinegar, as I always use apple cider vinegar. It causes the jars to be cloudy, but it adds a lot of flavor to the pickles.

@Matt- Please post your pickling recipe. Thanks!

A while ago I found a recipe online that I tweaked a lot for my own tastes. Here's the basic recipe that I use:

1/3 cup sugar substitute
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup (packed) fresh dill
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried ginger
Black pepper, freshly cracked
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 to 4 pickling cucumbers

1. Combine all the ingredients except the pickling cucumbers in a saucepan and heat on medium-high until just boiling.

2. While the pickling mixture is heating up, slice the pickling cucumbers and place in the thoroughly cleaned glass jars.

4. Once the pickling mixture is just boiling, turn off the heat and pour over the pickles. Immediately seal the jars. Leave the jars on the counter top until they are room temperature.

5. Once the jars are cool to the touch, place in the refrigerator for at least two days before eating. I like to wait at least a week.

Note: I find that this recipe usually makes between 2 to 3 jars' worth of pickles, although I usually end up with extra brine at the end. Once all the pickles have been eaten, you can reheat the remaining brine for a new batch.

I've tried tweaking this recipe for other vegetables, notably carrots and cauliflower. I then eliminate the dill and maybe add a few more spices depending on what flavor I'm going for. However, my problem is that the vegetables come out being too raw for my tastes.

Oh, I forgot that I sometimes add a little turmeric as well!

@Matt - Thanks SO much for sharing. I can't wait to try this. Lisa

Matt, I love raw veggies, but husband hates them. So, I understand them tasting too raw. Have you tried blanching the carrots first? Drop them into boiling water for a bit. (Depends how cooked you want them to be) then drop them into ice water to stop the cooking process (so they don't get mushy.)

I would experiment with that a little and see if you like it better with just a little bit of cooking.

I'm not a cooking pro, but I have canned and frozen a few things where blanching improved the texture.

Stephenie, thanks for that great tip. Blanching should be good because it will cook them a little while still maintaining that crunchy texture I want. I'll definitely have to try that next time I try pickling carrots.

Hi. So I take it you're using the rice vinegar WITHOUT the sugar and salt in it already since you have them in the recipe? Or is it additional sugar and salt?

(Rice vinegar comes already seasoned to put in your sushi rice, or plain...)

@Sue - I am actually using the one with the sugar and salt in it - seasoned rice vinegar - because it was the one in my cupboard and it worked great. I think you can use either.

I love this idea! There's always something on the verge in my fridge, no matter how frantically I cook to keep up with everything. In fact, there's a fennel in there right now that's just begging for a vinegar bath...

Thanks Matt!

@T - Sure thing! I like to play around with the flavorings of the recipe too. My favorite creation was a batch of ginger pickles that went perfectly with barbecue. Let me know over at how the pickles turn out for you if you end up making them.

I'm not much of a pickle eater but your post inspired me. I have chickens. During the winter months they lack the garden produce that they love. I'll cook the limp one's for them.

I know what you mean about baby carrots tasting "off". However, I have found that Trader Joe's baby carrots (the ones in the 1.5 lb bag) are pretty tasty. They are better than any other baby carrots that I have bought. Maybe you should do a baby carrot brand taste comparison :)

My cousin married a mexican. She basically uses the same recipe and throws a can of sliced jalapenos in the mix. Those carrots are so spicy and oh so good.

Love this! Made mine with some pickling spice and added some red pepper flakes. I did baby carrots and celery sticks. DELISH! I think I'll try blanched cauliflower with the remaining brine next. This recipe rocks, because I am not fond of plain veggies, but I LOVE pickles.

My mother use to pickle cauliflower,carrots,celery,and black olives together using apple vinegar,salt,pepper and garlic salt.Sometimes she use pickling spices my sisters and I loved this.

i actually do this with the brine from a jar of pickles or jalapenos when they are empty - i blanch carrots and squash, toss them in the brine and have pickled veggies the next day!! stil havent tried cauliflower yet

thanks for the recipe I love pickles, but your recipe is new to me. I can't wait to try it

Has anyone ever tried making carrot fries or turnip or parsnip fries? Would these not be practically zero points?

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