Fall is upon us in earnest. Harvest is in full swing, and we now move from the bounty of lighter veggies to the heartier crops that store through winter. As our season transitions, so do our bodies, and the chill in the mornings and earlier evenings invite us to wind down and settle in.
It’s a time to be gentle with oneself, to focus on nourishment and building the fire within that will carry us through the depths of winter. It is also a wonderful time to build the pantry to carry us through the depths of winter.
There isn’t anything quite like opening a jar of pure summertime bliss on a cold and dreary day. From pickling to making jams to creating hearty sauces, the possibilities are endless for how to capture peak deliciousness of harvest to enjoy later.
The following recipe is a favorite in our household. It comes from Seattle chef Renee Erickson, whose cookbook; A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus is a true celebration of every season in itself (and a stunning documentary of the beauty of simple, honest food.)
Carrots are a great storage vegetable, but pickling them with saffron and star anise gives you a tangy yet honeyed condiment to reach for in the darkest hour of “all we have are onions and potatoes because nothing is growing in February” season. They are delicious alongside roasted chicken, plated with cheese and charcuterie, or just crunched on as a snack. This simple recipe is for fridge pickles, which will keep up to one month, but to can for shelf stability follow the put-up instructions found here.
Source: A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus by Chef Renee Erickson
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: 1 quart (2 pint jars)
Special equipment: 2 pint size jars with lids and rings
2 bunches (1 ½ pounds) medium carrots, peeled
3 cups cider vinegar
1 ½ cups water
½ cup sugar
3 whole star anise
Heaping ½ teaspoon saffrons threads
Julienned peel of half a medium lemon
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
If necessary, trim the carrots to fit the jars you’re using; halve any carrots fatter than a man’s thumb lengthwise. In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, uncovered, or until you can bite through the carrots but they still have some crunch. Remove the pan from the heat and let the carrots site until they reach room temperature. Transfer the carrots to jars, pour the brine on top, and store in the refrigerator for up to one month (or process for canning following the instructions found here.