Golden Pickles

We had our first mild frost last week and I’ve started the final harvesting.  I’ve decided to pickle the last of the carrots and beans.  The first order of business is to scrub them good with the vegetable brush and trim the ends.  Cut into sticks and cubes, or slices if you prefer them that way.

Straight from the garden

Straight from the garden

After their bath

After their bath

I got pretty tired of boiling water, blanching and ice baths and I thought “why am I doing this” when I have a perfectly good microwave oven.  It works great.  Well, I haven’t tried it with tomatoes so I can’t recommend it for those.

Cover with plastic and one minute in the microwave

Cover with plastic and one minute in the microwave

Set up the water bath and pull the hot jars out of the dishwasher (sanitize cycle).

Pickling Solution

This is the same basic solution I used for pickling beets.  I like the sweetened mix for carrots, but you could “dill” them.

  • 4 cups white distilled vinegar (5%)
  • 2 cup of distilled water (no chemicals)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons canning salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 12 whole allspice

Combine all ingredients into a non-reactive pot (not aluminum) and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.

Pack the carrots into the jars.  I made cubes this year, along with some carrots sticks.  Pack the jars tightly and add 1 slice of fresh ginger to each jar.   Using a strainer, pour the hot pickling liquid over the carrots, making sure they are covered but leaving about 1 inch of space in the top of the jar.  Put the lids on and tighten the bands finger tight, but not tight, tight.

When the water bath reaches boiling, turn down to a simmer and process the jars in the water bath for 15 minutes.   Remove the jars and set on a kitchen towel.  Listen for the “ping” which means the jars have sealed.  Let the jars sit for 24 hours, then you can tighten the bands to finger tight again, or remove them and use just the lids.

Pickled Carrots Cubes or Sticks

Pickled Carrots Cubes or Sticks


E Sign

The Glory of Orange Food

These days when I have a meal, I don’t always start with the main course because sometimes the most interesting food on the table is the side dishes. Plant based eating changes your focus and I’m sometimes amazed at the imagination and ingredients that go into all of the foods that accompany the main dish.  No, I’m not talking about garlic mashed potatoes, which I absolutely love, but dishes that stand and shine on their own, and this glorious side does just that. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Ginger is a great idea for Thanksgiving, and a year round favorite at my house.  It’s also an excellent way to coax a picky eater or vegiephobe into eating something that’s good for them.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Ginger

Favorite Sweet potato and carrot mash 002


  • 1 orange or red sweet potato
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Onions and garlic

In a small saucepan, soften the shallot and garlic in a tablespoon of vegetable broth.

Add the sweet potato cubes and carrot with just enough vegetable broth to cover.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until fork tender. Drain.

Sweet potato and carrot mash 011

In a food processor or blender (you could just use a hand masher) combine the sweet potato, carrot, garlic mixture with grated ginger and coconut oil.  You could use butter, but I find that the coconut oil adds a subtle flavor that I really love.  Add a little almond milk or half and half for consistency.  Blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with cilantro or parsley leaves, or orange zest.

Mash with Black Bean Burger

You could pair it with black bean burgers topped with salsa and some steamed broccoli.  This dish is just the right combination of sweet and savory.  Save the leftovers (if there are any) to make sweet potato quinoa patties, but that’s another story.