Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Solar Powered Cooking, Indian Pickled Carrots

   This time of year I like to gear up my pickling, dehydrating and canning operation. I'm not saying that Summer's over, just that this is the time for the best of the best at Farmer's Markets so why not start saving some of it up for those cold and rainy days ahead? We got a big chunk of work turned in this last week and while we're awaiting producers notes I'm stocking my larder.

   I don't get much off our two plum trees as I'd have to camp out 24/7 to keep the squirrels, birds and deer away. Luckily some friends gave me about 4 lbs of plums off of their trees and the other day I put up about 5 pints of plum chutney. I'm always hunting around for things that I can preserve and cook up, but who wants to run the stove on a hot hot summer day? So I decided to  do as so many Indian cooks do and go solar. I'd make some pickles and let the sun do the cooking for me.

   Indian pickles or achars, are often made by putting the fruit or vegetable in a sterile airtight jar packed with salt, oil and spices and letting it mellow in the sun. A lot of the time these pickles may take a week or more to be ready to eat but here's one that can be on the table the very next day. We were in the middle of a hot spell when I made these pickles, with temps over 100 degrees. One long day in the sun and they were just right.

   This is nearly the easiest thing I have ever made, and as long as you have hot weather, an airtight jar and something to go into it, you're golden. I used these Rainbow Carrots I'd found at the Farmer Market.

Indian Pickled Carrots

Here's What You Need:

5 medium sized carrots
1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp  coarsely ground brown mustard seeds
1 tsp Kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil ( you can also use mustard oil if it's available)
A sterile airtight jar

Here's What To Do:

Wash the carrots.

Peel and dry them with a paper towel.

Slice them into 2 inch long pieces. You need about 2 cups worth of carrot pieces.

Put the carrot pieces in a bowl.

In another bowl mix together the salt, turmeric, oil, lemon juice and mustard seeds.
Pour the carrots into the bowl of spices and oil.

Mix everything together well. I reached in with my hands and gave them a little massage, making sure the carrots were totally covered in oil and spices.
Put the carrot and spice mixture into a clean airtight glass jar.

Just like this.

Place the jar of carrots in the sun all day long.

Bring them in at night and refrigerate them. They'll be ready to eat the next day and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I served these pickles at our July 4th cookout, along with regular sweet pickles and burgers.

   They're fast and easy to make, and you don't even need to turn on the stove since mother nature does all the work for you. Coming up next more Indian vegetables, a possible dosa challenge, and the secret of brining chicken for the grill. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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