Hot Whiskey Pickled Carrots
Pickled carrots are one of my favorite pickles. They are so versatile paired with food, or just eaten straight from the jar.
Special equipment: mason jars (Ball, Kerr, etc.), canning pot, tongs
4 pounds carrots
4 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups water
6 tablespoons whiskey
6 tablespoons pickling salt
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
12 teaspoons black peppercorns
12 medium cloves garlic
12 teaspoons dried chili
12 teaspoons mustard seeds
SANITIZE JARS & LIDS: Place 12 regular mouth half-pint jars (8-ounces) in a pot, covered with water; bring to a boil and turn off; leave jars in the hot water, covered, until ready to fill. Place lids in a heat-safe bowl and our boiling water over them; let them sit in hot water while you prepare the pickles.
PREP VEGGIES: Wash and trim carrots so that they fit in jar; I like to julienne or chop into sticks.
MAKE BRINE: Combine vinegar, water, bourbon, sugar or honey, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
PACK JARS: Using stainless-steel tongs, remove jars from water, and set on a layer of clean towels. Evenly divide garlic, peppers, dill sprigs, and mustard seeds among sterilized jars. Pack jars tightly with carrots. Leave 3/4 inch of space beneath the rim of the jar. Pour hot liquid over carrots, covering carrots by 1/4 inch, leaving 1/2 inch of space beneath the rim. Slide a clean plastic chopstick or wooden skewer along the inside of each jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe mouth of jar with a clean, damp cloth. Place hot lid on jar; screw on band firmly without forcing.
PROCESS: Place jars in hot water canning pot, using tongs. Add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes (they should be clinking together at a full rolling boil before you start timing).
Remove jars from water bath with tongs; let stand on clean dish towels for 24 hours. Check cool jars for the slight indentation in the lids that indicates a vacuum seal. Jars that do not seal properly or that leak during processing should be stored in the refrigerator and pickles consumed within a week. For the best flavor, allow sealed pickles to mellow and meld in a cool, dry place for 6 to 8 weeks before serving. Store opened jars in the refrigerator.