The carrots I grew were absolutely gorgeous. Today I’m posting a review of the carrots I harvested, along with a recipe for pickled carrots.
At the time of writing this, there are a few small stragglers still in the ground not ready to harvest (they were overshadowed by larger siblings and need some more time in the sun), and I have several still in a bucket on my porch waiting for the right time to be harvested. If I learn any new information when the remainder come in, I’ll include that in a separate post.
The St Valery were a creamy orange color on the outside, with a vein-like appearance when peeled. The flavor was good and carroty, but not nearly so sweet as the Nantes and Danvers you find in the grocery store. Yield for the St Valery was decent, with a few caveats:
- They were inconsistently shaped. A few of the harvested carrots were short and stocky, while others were longer and thinner.
- They had a tendency to branch. In one or two cases I think the carrot hit a rock and went two different directions, but many of the carrots came up, branched into two or more parts, for no discernible reason. These branches make peeling, cleaning and storing the carrots more problematic, and decreases the overall size of the carrot.
True to their description, the Dragon carrots came out a gorgeous purple color. However, much to my intense displeasure, they are pale yellow or mottled orange on the inside. When you peel them, the great color goes away.
Unlike the St. Valery, the Dragons were much more consistently shaped and had a much lower rate of branching. Like the St. Valery, they were not nearly so sweet as the supermarket varieties.
Here you can see that I couldn’t get a single picture of these things before breaking them open and eating half a jar.
In my book, The Joy of Pickling, I found an interesting recipe for carrots called “Pickled Bay Carrots with Dill”. I made several changes, not the least of which being my use of mature sliced carrots instead of the tender baby ones called for. The recipe also called for a hot pepper, which I thought I had in reserve from my adventures with the dehydrator last year. I took a look through my stash, and the remaining ones were looking a little brown and creepy. I don’t know why. Maybe there was just too much moist air in the fridge? In either case, I substituted some crushed red pepper flakes instead.
I made this recipe per-jar, using half-pint jars instead of the quart batch the recipe calls for.
- Carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
- 3.5 cups water
- 3.5 cups apple cider vinegar
- Black Peppercorns
- Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 Sprig of Fresh Dill
- 1 medium-sized garlic clove
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 0.25 cups sugar
In a pot, mix the water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil.
Blanch the carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes, and immediately move them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
In each jar, place 1 garlic clove, a dash of red pepper flakes, about a dozen pepper corns, and the fresh dill. Add carrots to the jars, loosely packed, to fill within a half inch of the rim.
Pour the vinegar over the carrots to fill the jars with 1/2 inch head space.
Burp the jars, put on a clean lid and band, and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature overnight.
Let just say one thing: Pickled carrots are probably my favorite new type of pickle. The carrots are soft but not mushy. The flavors are perfectly balanced and absolutely transcendent. I’ll be making more of these this year, next year, every year.