Glorious Pickles

If there was ever a person who enjoyed pickles more than myself, I should very much like to meet them. My adoration of pickles is so deep that for my Garde Manger class last summer I wrote a ten page paper on pickles and the history of. Pickles are fascinating, and the fact that they are so deeply rooted in American and European history makes them even more so. Military troops all the way back to the time of the Pharaohs were practically raised on pickles because pickles traveled well and were a good source of nutrients. The best part about pickling is that just about any vegetable is receptive to a pickling treatment. Yeah, anything.

Take, for instance, Alton Brown's diabolical brother BA's recipe for Firecrackers (if you watch his show, you'll know who BA is). This recipe makes sinister bombs of spicy pickled carrot goodness that can leave your guests gasping for air. These little atomic bombs make the Spanish Inquisition look like Lamb Chop's Play Along. I made these today because I was bored, and because I wanted some pickles. If there is a downside to making pickles, and I'm not saying that there is, it's the fact that these have to work their magic in the fridge for a couple days before you can eat them. You can eat them the day of, if you want, but they won't have that incredible pickled quality that can only be achieved by backing off for a few days. Sad.

Firecracker Recipe:

1/2 lb mini carrots
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tsp chili flakes
2 dried chilies

Add everything but the dried chilies to a non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 4 minutes. Here you can see the mixture bubbling away in the pot.
Then pour into a container of some kind (I used a "glad" container that can handle heat). You can use a funnel to make this easier. Then add the dried chilies, allow to cool, and leave in the refrigerator for 3 days and you'll be good to go. I only used a 1/2 cup of sugar, mostly because that's all I had but also because it seemed like a lot to me. I was also just shy of having a 1/2 lb of baby carrots. Honestly, this recipe seems like you can't screw it up. Hence why I'm drawn to it!

Do some research on making "refrigerated pickles". Pickles that fall into this category generally require little to no cooking, and must remain in the refrigerator at all times. Except when you're devouring them, of course! When a recipe calls for a mixture to be boiled, like the one above, the main goal is to wake up the spice flavors and to dissolve the sugar that goes into the recipe. The heat of the liquid will also make the vegetable you will be pickling more receptive to the brine. Neato huh??

"Life - a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay."
-Ambrose Bierce

To love, to food, l'chaim!



  1. I like U LOVE me some pickles so this was a good lttle lesson to learn about so keep up the great work bringing the news and I'll keep reading it.

    Your Awesome....and I mean It...

  2. Thanks friend! Have you checked out any of the blogs from Italy? I've had quite a few! I've had a lot of good food and learned some very interesting techniques. Things are going extremely well. I miss home, but there is so much to see and so much to do that it's hard to think about it. Today we're going to a peccorino cheese factory to learn how it is made. It's very exciting! Talk to you soon!


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