How to Salvage a Bag of Carrots That Are Past Their Prime
Don’t toss your old carrots!
Carrots are a fridge staple for most of us. Whether it's the ubiquitous bag of baby carrots for snacking, or a pound or two of whole carrots for recipes, it is rare that you open a crisper drawer anywhere and not find some sort of carrot situation.
Not every week is the same, and sometimes you get to Friday and discover that your long carrots are a bit flexible, or your bag of babies has started to dry out a bit and get that white chalky look on the outside. Now, if your carrots are slimy or moldy or you can bend them in half without breaking, either bin them or compost them, because there is no going back.
But if your carrots are just a little past their prime but still edible? Pickled carrots are your new best pal.
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Pickling may not be your first thought, but this naturally sweet root vegetable is wonderful pickled. It retains a bit of crunch, which is always nice, and pickled carrots are a great snack on their own or a garnish to a sandwich or salad.
This basic version has a sweet and sour element to it, but it is endlessly adaptable to your own taste, so feel free to go heavier on the vinegar in the ratio if you want them punchier or add different spices or add some chile for heat.
I often serve these drained and garnished with chopped fresh herbs like dill or parsley and put them out either on a cheese and charcuterie board or just on their own. They last in the fridge, as with most pickles, for up to a month, although I think the texture is best in the first week to ten days.
This is a small batch quick pickle, but multiply up if you have more carrots, or if you want to make with fresh.
Read more: How to Make Quick Pickled Cucumbers
How to Make Pickled Carrots
- ½ pound baby carrots or peeled carrots cut into small sticks or rounds
- 6 ounces vinegar (apple cider or white wine or rice wine vinegar are all great choices)
- 4 ounces honey (can sub sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup for interesting flavor)
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed (I use half brown and half yellow but you can also use other spices like cardamom, coriander, peppercorns, and the like)
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
How to Make It
Mix honey or sugar into vinegar a little bit at a time to your desired level of sweet/sour, tasting as you go.
Heat in a nonreactive pan over medium high heat with mustard seed until at a simmer and add carrots. Simmer carrots in vinegar, honey and mustard seed till cooked but still crisp (1-3 minutes).
Store overnight in fridge in liquid. Before serving, remove from brine and toss with chopped fresh herbs of your choosing.
Read more: Is There a Point to Peeling Carrots?