Do you ever open your refrigerator door to find carrots staring back at you? And the next time you look in your refrigerator, the same carrots are still there. Fortunately, carrots have a long shelf life. But in my family, it also means that we are not eating this simple, very nutritious vegetable to its full potential. In my quest to “elevate” carrots, I decided pickle the carrots — along with cabbage and red onions– adding fresh cilantro from my garden. Wow, it was a hit and my husband couldn’t stop eating the pickled carrot slaw. Time to make another batch.
Carrot sticks are nice; but what else can you create with carrots? I absolutely love roasted carrots when cooked with a beef pot roast, but that can take alot of work. One of my favorite recipes is for oriental-flavored, sautéed shredded carrots which dates to my youth and home-cooked Chinese dinners — that is another story. Yum, I could actually eat this “Chinese Carrot Relish” almost every day. (blog post, March 24, 2015) My recipe here is sort of a variation on that relish idea.
For this adventure, I decided to shred and pickle the carrots. I added cabbage and red onions to make a versatile slaw. The idea is saved from a favorite “Martha Stewart” magazine article which included a recipe for pickled onions served with a shredded pork sandwich. Never throw away a great recipe! The Martha Stewart recipe has just the perfect pickling brine — it is wonderfully sweet and sour. Plus, it is easy to prepare. The pickled slaw lasts for a week or more and we found plenty of ways to use it at meals — adding it to sandwiches or using it as a side dish.
Health Benefits to Carrots
When growing up, I always heard: “eat your carrots, they are good for your eyes.” Fact or fiction? This is true. The beta-carotene in the carrots is converted to Vitamin A in your skin. According to Scientific American, “Vitamin A helps the eye convert light into a signal that can be transmitted to the brain, allowing people to see under conditions of low light.” Do your eyes quickly adjust when you go from a bright room to a dark one? If so, then you have enough Vitamin A. Complete lack of Vitamin A can cause blindness (which used to be a problem in underdeveloped, malnourished parts of the world –not our country). Carrots have other nutrients and antioxidants, too, which are good for our health. So, let’s eat carrots.
Growing cilantro in a Louisiana garden
This recipe is a great one for using all the cilantro growing in my garden this spring. Cilantro is a cool weather crop and it easily grows in fall and spring Louisiana gardens. Cilantro can be quite expensive when purchased in a grocery store. For a few months, I have an endless supply of cilantro. Cilantro loses its flavor when cooked, so I add it just at the end when serving to my dish. Cilantro is rich in Vitamins K, C and beta-carotene. Although you don’t eat that much cilantro in a dish, every bit adds up!
Storing cilantro can be a challenge. It wilts quickly. I found that putting the stems of cilantro (and parsley) into a glass jar filled with ice water and storing the herbs in my refrigerator kept these leafy greens fresh for several weeks.
Here are the ingredients for my dish plus my brine. Use either pre-packaged cabbage (shown here) or part of a fresh head of cabbage in the recipe.
For this recipe, I used four carrots (about 2 cups shredded carrots) and half a head of cabbage and half of a red onion. I used a food processor to shred the carrots and the slicer attachment to cut the cabbage and red onion. You could also use a hand shredder or mandolin slicer.
Here is the “Martha Stewart’s” brining mixture — vinegar, sugar and salt. This is a sweet brine — it it is delicious.
To make the recipe, heat the ingredients for the brine on the stove to dissolve the sugar and salt. Then remove the brine from the stove and added the shredded vegetables, weight down with a dish on top of the pickled vegetables. Cool to room temperature. Transfer the pickled carrots, cabbage and red onion to a non-metallic container and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.
When you are ready to serve, drain off the pickled vegetables and garnish with cilantro.
Serve with a variety of dishes such as “Fried Chicken Tenders” and Buffalo Sauce.
Enjoy this tasty pickled vegetable slaw. It’s a great way to “cheat” and get vegetables into your diet and meals — because these pickled carrots taste so good! I love the sweet and sour brine. Thanks Martha Stewart.
Pickled Carrot Slaw with Fresh Cilantro
- 4 large carrots
- 1/2 head cabbage (or 16 oz prepared shredded cabbage mix)
- 1/2 red onion, peeled
- 2-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 small bunch cilantro (including stems), chopped
Instructions and Steps:
- Prepare vegetables: Pare and shred carrots using food processor attachment. Alternately, use hand shredder on course setting. Using a slicing attachment to food processor, slice cabbage and red onion. Alternatively, use a julienne sliced placed on narrow setting to shred the cabbage and red onion Set vegetables aside while preparing brine.
- Bring apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt to boil in medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the vegetables to the brine in the saucepan. Place a plate over the vegetables to press down. Cool to room temperature. Then transfer the vegetables to a medium-sized, non-metallic bowl along with the brine. Cover and chill in refrigerator.
- Pickled vegetables may be made a several days ahead of time.
- When ready to serve, drain pickled vegetables and transfer to serving plate. Toss with fresh chopped cilantro.