Introduction: Mexican Vegetable Pickles

Salsa and guacamole are staples when it comes to Mexican food but there's one condiment that will complete the trifecta of flavor for any south-of-the-border sandwich, taco or salad: pickled vegetables. Carrots and onions combine with jalapenos in a brine of vinegar, garlic, salt, spices and herbs to make this spicy, tangy, crunchy side that will keep in the refrigerator for weeks!

Adding the vegetables at different times throughout the cooking process keeps the onions and jalapenos from overcooking and losing their color. The spices and herbs in this recipe can be adjusted for personal preferences. Also, to reduce the heat of the jalapenos, remove the seeds and membranes from inside the peppers before cooking.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
4-6 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground or crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon canning & pickling salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seed or ground dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon epazote, optional
2 cups diagonally sliced carrots 1/8" slices
1 1/2 cup radially sliced onion stem to root
3/4-1 cup thinly sliced jalapeno
cilantro
carrot greens (optional)

Step 2: Create Your Brine

In a large saucepan, combine first 10 ingredients (through epazote) and bring to a boil.

Step 3: Cook Carrots

Add the carrots to the boiling brine and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes but start testing for desired texture after 6 or 7 minutes).

Step 4: Add Onions & Jalapenos

Add onions and jalapenos and bring mixture back to boiling. Remove from heat.

Step 5: Add Cilantro & Carrot Greens

Stir in chopped fresh cilantro and carrot greens (optional). Cool about 15 minutes.

Step 6: Pack in Jars

Transfer the pickled vegetables and the brine to 3 half-pint canning jars that have been sterilized. Cool completely. Cover with lids and rings and store in the refrigerator.

Step 7: Consume!

Pickles are ready to eat as soon as they cool but the flavors will develop best after 24 hours.

Step 8: Create a Masterpiece

Be creative ... think outside the taco ... Bloody Marys anyone??

For more brilliant ideas like this one, follow along with me at picniclifefoodie.com!

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