Friday, July 15, 2011

In A Pickle

This week it dawned on me that yet another few months have flown by since my last post! Foolish me assumed summer semester would be easier since I was taking less classes. Foolish me forgot that summer classes move at twice the pace. Let it suffice to say that biochemistry is one tough subject. I feel like I am learning enzymatic reactions at their catalyzation rates! (For those non-science folks-- that's fast! Some enzymes in our bodies like catalase "turnover", or work almost 10,000,000 per second.)

School has taken over most of my time, but this Wednesday I took the afternoon off to catch up on some non-school stuff. I picked up my summer reading at the library and researched where to find the best cupcakes for this weekend's big anniversary date. I also tried a new recipe I've had posted on the fridge since March-- Fennel Pickled Carrots. If I had known how simple and delicious it would be, I would have done this ages ago! The recipe is perfect for spring when carrots start to find their way to the farmers market. But since I missed that, my carrots came from the grocery store.

I like the idea of pickling at home for many reasons. First, you can't beat the price. I recently spotted a jar of pickled carrots at the store for $7.49. And no, it was not Costco where the jar was bathtub-sized. Second, pickling at home puts you in control of your salt and sugar content. But most of all, I love pickling at home because it brings back great childhood memories. Both my grandmother and mother used to pickle. Growing up, the big ceramic crock came out of the basement every spring, and we always had a jar of pickled kirby cucumbers or green tomatoes on hand.

My family also canned so that we could enjoy pickles well into the winter, but you don't need to know how to can to pickle. (I can't can. But I can can-can. One involves jarring and botulism, the other is just a fun french dance!) Store in the fridge for a few weeks, and your pickled veggies will be fine.

Enjoy the recipe below, and don't be afraid to experiment. Green bean, corn, and zucchini are all in season, and all pickle well.

Fennel Pickled Carrots

Fill a heat-proof glass jar with about one pound of thickly sliced carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal.

In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp fennel seeds and a clove of diced garlic to a boil. Let cool slightly, then pour liquid over carrots. Be sure there is enough liquid to cover all the carrots. If not, top off with a bit more vinegar.

Seal the jar and store in the fridge. Carrots will be ready to eat in 24 hours.