Cocktail Carrots are easy to make and take only a couple hours to pickle in the fridge. Make them earlier in the day and you have an instant appetizer to offer your guests while dinner cooks.
I used to eat at a place that served a little dish of Moroccan spiced carrots alongside its sandwiches. The sandwiches were excellent, but I would have eaten there for the coriander and cumin flavored carrots alone.
I started pickling my own carrots with those spiced carrots in mind. One day I accidentally dumped caraway instead of cumin seeds into the brine. It was a happy accident—the pickles were delicious.
It was also a good lesson: carrots are like the little black dress of the vegetable world. They can be basic and uninspired, but with the right “accessories,” they are smashing.
I make these carrots regularly with garlic, oregano and hot chilies, but I also love them with cumin, caraway, or fennel. You can mix up the spices however you like. (I’ve offered several variations below.) Crunchy, spicy, and a little bit sweet, they are terrific for serving with cocktails or beer, or for garnishing a Bloody Mary.
- To make brine, bring water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a simmer.
- Remove from heat.
- Place seasoning and carrots into jar.
- Cover with hot brine.
- Cover and let cool at room temperature for about an hour, then refrigerate.
- Pickles must soak in brine at least 2 hours and preferably about 4-5 before eating.
- They will become more strongly flavored (and softer) the longer they soak.
- When you've eaten them all (it will happen faster than you think!), save the brine and reuse it for another batch!