Oh, look – another ferment. What can I say? I’ve come to love them and tend to have one in the fridge at all times. Right now, I have three: the small remains of our last batch of sauerkraut, the rapidly diminishing dilly beans, and now this.
The reason I made this is because in the comments of the dilly bean recipe, Lisa – one of the most stylish style bloggers you will ever find, to say nothing of being an incredibly beautiful, intelligent and gracious woman – said, “The Mexican restaurants around here do a pickled jalapeno carrot that’s INCREDIBLE. Want to backwards engineer a recipe for me?”
Oh, that all requests should be so easy.
Those jalapeno carrots fall into a broad category of pickled vegetables known as escabeche (which literally translates to “pickle”), a common condiment in many Mexican kitchens and restaurants (meat-based escabeche – usually fish, poached or fried, and marinated in an acidic mixture before serving – is popular in many Mediterranean cuisines, particularly Spanish). Almost all recipes include jalapenos or other hot chilies, carrots, onions and garlic, and many contain other vegetables; cauliflower is the most common.
The vast majority of commercially available escabeche is preserved in vinegar, making it shelf stable. Not necessarily a bad route to go – I still have many, many jars of cucumber and watermelon pickles safely tucked away in my basement from last year’s canning frenzy. However, this method cooks the vegetables, leaving them rather limp and, if you wish to make it at home, is a bit of a production.
Lacto-fermentation results in a tangy, fiery escabeche that is fresh, crisp, delicious and easy – not to mention oh, so good for you.
Note: I did not seed the jalapenos at all; I simply sliced them. This is quite spicy (10 jalapenos, after all) and will become more so as it continues to ferment. If you or members of your family have a tender palate, you may want to halve the chilies lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and veins before adding them to the carrots and onions. Also, according to most sources I’ve found, this will last many months in cold storage (one account cited it as still being good a year later), but I’d still probably eat this within 3 or 4 months.
Click the image to enlarge
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the bias
- 10 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced into half rounds and separated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- filtered water
- Combine all of the ingredients, except the water, in a large bowl and toss to distribute the salt. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Pack the vegetables into a clean, wide-mouth quart jar. Add the water until the jar is filled to 1 inch below the rim.
- Cap the jar, not too tightly, and keep at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 2 to 3 days or until the liquid in the jar beings to bubble. Transfer to the refrigerator.
- Nutrition (per serving): 37 calories, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 886.4mg sodium, 258.9mg potassium, 8.6g carbohydrates, 2.6g fiber, 3.7g sugar, 1g protein