MEL × RIVERBEND: Carrot + Stem Mixed Pickles
Photography by Sara Jewell
RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS
Pickles from my mother's kitchen
Pickle making is something that I’ve borrowed from my mother’s kitchen. She used to make beet pickles mostly, and she liked them on the tangy side. There always seemed to be rows upon rows of quart sized jars in the basement, but then again, I was young and everything seemed to be so endlessly abundant then.
I would grab a jar, unscrew the metal ring top and pop the sealed lid with the help of a fork. From there, I would spike a fork into the ever so dark juices in hope to capture a jewel-toned piece of sweet and vinegary root. Once I had consumed about half the jar, I would pour out some of the pickling brine to ease my fork-fishing endeavors.
Pickles in my kitchen
Pickles, now, are something that I serve alongside almost everything. I enjoy having food boards when friends come over and pickles of every kind balance those out ever so well. They're also such a lovely palate cleansing food, which can be used between courses or as a starter to a meal.
If I'm being perfectly honest though, I make pickles for the very selfish reason of eating them by the jar-full. Simply with a fork, or alongside aged cheddar and crackers. On evenings when I can't be bothered to make a meal, and Tom isn't home to eat, pickles and cheese is my guilty pleasure.
This time of year, when carrots are getting sweeter and stems are getting more fibrous, all I want to do is make pickles. Sure, you can make pickles out of just about anything, kale stems, beets, carrots, beans, zucchini or cukes. However, there's something quite fantastic about doing a combination or mixed pickle. I love popping open a jar and savoring the different tastes and textures.
This one has three main ingredients: rainbow chard stems, carrots & garlic scapes and it truly is a delight.
Makes 2 quarts
2 C carrot sticks
2 C rainbow chard stems*
1 - 2 garlic scapes
2 C filtered water
1 C white vinegar
1 C white wine vinegar
1 T sugar
1 T salt
10 min PREP
Chop your vegetables into sticks of matching length no longer than the height of the jar (you need to be able to fully submerge them) and pack it into your mason jars.
The tighter you pack it the better your pickles will be and the less likely they are to go bad.
Mix together the water, vinegars, sugar & salt to make your pickling liquid.
Once the salt & sugar have dissolved, pour the liquid over the veg to fill the jars.
Use your finger to pack them in even more and release as much air as possible. Tapping gently on the counter after the lid is on also works well to release air bubbles.
Leave the jars on the counter for at least an hour then store them in the fridge.