Monday, September 24, 2018

Mexican-Style Pickled Carrots

Our family absolutely loves a family-run Mexican restaurant in Centralia, Washington called La Tarasca. The handmade tortillas are the fluffiest you could ever hope to find, the adobada tacos a marvel of flavor and the refried beans silky and delicious. We parents have also always liked the pickled carrots they provide when you sit down but it wasn’t until our most recent visit that the kids, now 11 and 6, decided to give them a try. Despite a little bit of spiciness, which they’re usually sensitive about, both of them were hooked. Given that winters are long and boring in terms of vegetables for the lunchbox, I thought that the kids might enjoy some home-pickled carrots. I used this recipe from Kevin’s Cooking as my baseline with very few changes. I like the idea of making them myself because then I can adjust proportions of things to our tastes. For example, I halved the jalapeño in deference to the kids’ palates. As much as I would have liked to use Mexican oregano and will try to do so in future, I couldn’t get any from the stores near me easily so used the more widely available Turkish oregano and it was fine. I liked Kevin’s recipe because I thought the idea of par-cooking the vegetables was wise and this was validated by the end result. Everyone in the family thought these were great and I’m making them again today, this time a full batch instead of a half. I’m also going to throw in some cauliflower since I’ve got it and I think it’ll do well with this treatment. It takes the recipe more in the Italian giardiniera direction but I’m ok with that.
Of course, I’ve thought about doing this in my Instant Pot but I really don’t see that there would be a value-add.

INGREDIENTS for two quart-jars of deliciousness
2 lb carrots or mixed carrots and other vegetables like cauliflower cut into 1-inch chunks, peeled if desired. I use organic carrots and scrub well rather than peel
1 jalapeño pepper, with seeds and ribs removed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 medium onion, sliced he specifies white but I’m going to try a red onion this time
5 cloves garlic, smashed (or to taste, more if you love garlic like we do)
1 1/2 c white vinegar
1 1/2 c water
1 TBSP oil (not sure this is really necessary)
6-8 whole bay leaves (we use greasy bay so use more leaves)
10 black peppercorns
2 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican
I tsp kosher salt


  1. Place vinegar and water in a large saucepan that will fit all of your vegetables along with the garlic, oil, bay leaves, peppercorns, oregano and salt
  2. Bring to a boil then add the remaining ingredients
  3. Bring back to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely
  5. Divide the vegetables and pickling liquid into as many jars as you need and refrigerate. The pickled vegetables are ready to eat after 3 hours but the flavor will continue to improve