Carrot Quick Pickle with Ginger Recipe

Before I tell you about this amazing carrot quick pickle with ginger, I want to make sure you know this: pickling means preserving food in a seasoned brine or vinegar mixture, and in case you didn’t get the memo, pickles are the new cupcakes.

I sorta kinda doubt it — try bringing pickles to your nephew’s birthday party — but, as someone who grew up with store-bought jars of cornichons (gherkins) as the single pickled element of the family diet, I am most intrigued by the techniques involved, and the wide range of products they create.

I am a city dweller and it is unlikely that I’ll ever have the bumper crop and larder space (or, um, patience) to fill dozens of towering jars with multicolored vegetables biding their time in their sterilized bath, so the method I am most drawn to is the quick pickle: this simply consists in pouring a boiling brine or vinegar solution over pieces of raw vegetables, and letting the mixture cool to room temperature. This type of pickle keeps for about two weeks in the refrigerator, so it is usually done in small batches that you can consume within that time frame — unless you’re giving some away to well screened friends and relatives.

I am a city dweller and have neither the bumper crop nor the larder space to fill dozens of towering jars with multicolored vegetables, so the method I am most drawn to is the quick pickle.

My first near-pickling experience, long before this carrot quick pickle with ginger, occurred at my friends Braden and Laura‘s place recently, as I helped Braden prepare the quick-pickled chili peppers he was later to serve with squid ink pasta and fried squid rings. My involvement was limited to the chopping of said chili peppers, which taught me an important, though non-pickling-related lesson: you should protect your hand with a glove or a light film of oil before handling a large amount of hot peppers, otherwise you’ll wake up in the morning feeling like it’s been dipped in acid.

Scoville scale aside, I had thus been introduced to the quick pickling thing, and was ready for a re-run in my own kitchen. So when I received a copy of Pierre Lamielle’s very lovable cookbook Kitchen Scraps, the first recipe I decided to try was the carrot-and-ginger quickie pickle on page 82.

If you don’t know who Pierre Lamielle is, head over to his food blog and tell him I said hi: he’s a talented illustrator/cook with wit to spare, a definite knack for food-related puns, and a weakness for root vegetables.

His book is a collection of humorously written and illustrated recipes, and I am enjoying it more than a little. It is wacky, irreverent, and funny, yet the recipes are built on solid ground: the author went to culinary school, and this you can tell by his intermittent use of the verb “to blap,” a technical term that means sticking something in the oven without making too big a deal out of it. So it’s a book you can actually cook from, chuckling privately at the prospect of serving the bear butt-kicking granola, the whirled peas soup (give whirled peas a chance — get it?), or the angel hair conditioner pasta.

Among the recipes I’ve flagged are the bread of roses (a bread pudding with chocolate and rosewater), bruno “bloody beets” barbabietola’s beets and ricotta risotto (one of five mafia-approved risotti) and, of course, the stinking french onion soup, because that’s hard to resist.

The carrot quick pickle was indeed a breeze to make — it took about ten minutes, and I was on the phone for most of that time — and I am delighted with the result: the ribbons look terribly pretty, and we’ve been eating them as a sweet and sour condiment nested inside tuna sandwiches, as Pierre suggests, or swirled over this warm squash and bean salad, and I can see it bringing a lovely brightness alongside a hearty, brooding stew.

As for the book, it has earned its place on the special bookshelf I reserve for alternative publishing projects from Canada, right between L’Appareil and Au Pied de cochon, and when my little nephew turns 19 years old rather than 19 months old, I have an inkling he’ll get a kick out of it, too.

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Carrot and Ginger Quickie Pickle Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Makes about 400 ml (1 2/3 cups)

Carrot and Ginger Quickie Pickle Recipe


  • 2 medium-small carrots, about 200 grams (7 ounces)
  • a 40-gram (1 1/2-ounce) knob of fresh ginger, scrubbed but unpeeled, sliced thinly
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) white vinegar (I used a tarragon-infused white wine vinegar, but cider vinegar would work as well)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


  1. Peel the carrots and, using the vegetable peeler, cut them into thin ribbons. Place the ribbons in a heatproof bowl, and set a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl.
  2. Combine the ginger, vinegar, salt, sugar, and 240 ml (1 cup) water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture boils, stir with a wooden spoon to make sure the sugar and salt are dissolved, and remove from the heat.
  3. Pour the ginger brine through the sieve and into the bowl of carrots. Make sure the carrots are completely immersed, cover with a plate, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean jar, close tightly with the lid and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


  • Note that the not-entirely-pleasant odor of hot vinegar will linger in your kitchen for a few hours afterward, so if you have guests coming over I suggest you make it the day before.
  • Adapted from Pierre Lamielle's Kitchen Scraps.
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  • This is a great idea! Thanks!

  • My husband loves anything that is pickled, so he will be thrilled to know that pickling is the new cupcake.

    I, on the other hand, will miss the cupcakes :).

  • caroline

    I just heard that macaroons are the new cupcake, a claim I’m more inclined to believe though I’d rather have a pickle myself.

  • Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will try this one. I love carrots too and this one is so perfect.

  • I think I have some ginger left in my kitchen – and carrots are always in my fridge, so guess what I’m going to try right now? Thank you for the recipe! It sounds great!

  • gingerpale

    Ha–just this morning I read a clever (I thought) reflection on life/pickle observation:
    “The cucumber gets pickled more than the brine gets cucumbered.” Gerald Weinberg

    I also *just* sliced some carrots into “coins”–I’ll use some to try this recipe, aware that they’re thicker than ribbons.

  • I love the colorful photo — a creative use of depth of field and it brightened my day instantly. Thank you!

  • I wish my beloved shared my passion for pickled stuff… I might make this anyway

    how long after it cools do you think it’s ok to start enjoying it? A couple of hours? Or is it better to wait until next day at least?

    The carrots in ribbons might pickle pretty quickly, I think

  • Very interesting your pickle. I never thought it could be a qickie, but it seems that it can. thanks for the idea.

  • I can live off pickled food. Sounds delicious!

  • Love the bright photo!!

    I also grew up with little to no pickling around, just heaps of jam making though I know that doesn’t count. I’m also really intrigued by what things people pickle, what’s common and what weird things people like to preserve. Great post!

  • There is a resturant near me that serves a little tangle of gingery carrot ribbons on the side of each lunch plate. They guard their recipe like a state secret. Everyone in town, myself included, has tried to wangle it out of them. They have refused requests from magazines asking for it. I have tried, but never conquered the dish. I think this is it, and I will soon be the most popular person in town…

  • Rosanna

    How funny, pickles being the new cupcakes:D

    I love eating all things pickled but I only make a quick pickle sort of recipe of eggplant myself; But I just boil the eggplant in a vinegar and water mixture, then drain it, lay it out to dry, and layer it with slices of raw garlic in a jar and pour olive oil over it…

  • Having just shared dinner with Pierre I would agree that he is a bit wacky, irreverent, and funny! Glad to see us Canadians are making there way to you.

  • I love anything pickled. Sounds very good with the tuna! Also would be something that I could show my high school students how to do. Thanks

  • Richard

    Ooh! This looks delicious! I love carrot and ginger, and make something similar using cucumbers, so I can’t wait to try these.

  • Yep, pickles are the new cupcake. If by that you mean they are suddenly everywhere! Seems like every restaurant in New England now has a fancy pickled something served with just about everything. But since I LOVE pickled anything, I think this new trend is way better than standing in line for 30 minutes for a cupcake! I’ve been devouring pickled okra, but your carrots look so pretty I think I’m going to have to give them a try. Thanks!

  • I love making quick pickles! I had pickled pumpkin on an antipasta plate in Sorrento this fall that I loved. Now, I just have to figure out how to make them for myself!

  • I made a batch of pickled purple carrots that turned out beautifully (I was inspired by the gorgeous bulls-eye look of the carrots to begin with). Can’t wait to have them with some pate.

  • What a great combination! I grew up eating homemade pickles and they were a part of almost every meal in our home. I gave up making them when I moved away for university since I’ve never had the storage space (or the necessary equipment) for pickling. Maybe quick pickles are the answer!

  • oh, good golly, what a find! thanks, clothilde, for the ref to pierre — entirely new to me, and entirely delightful! happy holidays, *molly

  • I think I will add some zucchini to mine. Happy pickling!

  • really interesting recipe, have you ever tried korean spicy pickled cabbage? it’s yummy and really good for you!

  • I just discovered your blog and am already directing people here (and thanks so much for making Mathiot’s book accessible!)

    I’ve been working on a low-sodium brined pickle (it’s possible, just not tasty as yet).

  • I’d rather have a pickle than a cup cake anyday.
    Thankyou for this recipe -I think a strip or two will go very nicely in a humus sandwich-, pickling ideas, pierre and introduction to blapping (if it is indeed a verb)

  • YummyYummy

    Thanks for passing along Pierre’s recipe! They were so easy to make and now I am off to pickle everything in my fridge. I found these links to Pierre’s blog with more Quickie Pickle recipes.


  • Thanks for the recipe! I would love to make lots of this and give to my parents. They love carrots!

  • All – Many thanks for the kind comments about the post and photo, and for sharing your own pickle stories!

    Gingerpale – Love the philoso-pickle quote, thank you.

    SallyBR – Yes, I think a couple of hours of refrigeration once the mixture is cool is enough. It does pickle quickly!

  • Thanks, Clotilde

    I ended up making it yesterday and tried some after about 3 hours – it was already tasting pretty good.

    Today at lunchtime: even better!

    (husband is still unimpressed, but it’s ok, more for me… ;-)

  • I made these over the weekend and they could not be simpler! I boiled the pickling juice outside, on the grill burner, so as not to make the whole house smell like vinegar.

    I’m enjoying the carrot pickles elegantly folded atop rice cakes that have been spread with a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese, but I do think they would pair beautifully with tuna salad as well.

  • Sounds refreshingly delicious and so glad I found your blog! Love the beautiful image followed with lovely words.

  • gingerpale

    These were *excellent*–used carrot “coins” instead of ribbons. I happened to have tarragon vinegar too–and the tarragon was so perfect I’d push it way over to the highly recommended side from the optional side. Also, a second dish, of cucumbers done similarly is SO pretty and compatible with this!

  • Elise

    Mmm! I’ll have to give these a try tonight.

    Being of the opinion that cupcakes are only good to look at, I’m glad to hear that pickles are the new cupcake! At Christmas, my dad and I fixed up a big batch of our traditional pickled herring and onions (we’re of Scandinavian origins). The onions are as big of stars as is the delicious herring. Pickled beets are another fave.

    If people don’t like the smell of hot vinegar, fresh cucumbers (I prefer regular over English) sliced very thinly can be placed in a similar vinegar/sugar/salt mixture without having to heat it. You do have to stir quite a bit to dissolve the salt/sugar, or you can dissolve them in a bit of hot water before adding the vinegar. You can serve them in just an hour (or leave them longer if you like). Sometimes, we just use some seasoned rice vinegar and that’s very good. We let them “cure” in the fridge or on the counter, depending on when we might be serving them, but I think it’s best to prepare the amount you intend to eat within the next few hours so the cucumbers don’t lose too much of their texture sitting in the vinegar too long. You can save the vinegar in the refrigerator and reuse it for your next batch or use it in a salad dressing. No waste!

  • Xan

    How did I miss this one when I had all those carrots in the garden!

  • These look wonderful. I especially love the look of the thin ribbons. Very nice!

  • Wow! This looks delicious and easy. Not only do I love pickled carrots (so southwestern), I adore ginger. But I’ve never had it pickled. The only other recipe I know that combines the two is for Gingered Baby Carrots. This is definitely a departure, but one I’m willing to make. Thanks!!

  • BrooklynBeka

    Have you tried leaving the ginger in? I adore ginger and wonder how good that would be?
    Can the salt sugar proportions be altered to taste?

    • I haven’t tried leaving the ginger in, but I’m sure it would be lovely! And I wouldn’t tinker with the salt/sugar proportions myself as you need a good balance of both for the pickle to taste right.

      • BrooklynBeka

        Thank You!

  • Bo Waite

    These are fabulous! I left the ginger in and added sliced red onion to the carrots, which I julienned instead of doing ribbons. Used on Asian wraps the first night, fish tacos the second night, beef brisket the third night, and I’ve been munching on them all meals in between. These are addictive. I’m about to make another batch to go along side a massive pulled pork sandwich feast. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bev Badger

    How much of this pickled carrot ribbons would you say is a serving? Do you think I could use a sweetener instead of the sugar? I am going to try this tonight because it just looks easy and delicious!

    • Servings are really difficult for pickles because it depends how you use them and how much you like pickles.
      I’m guessing you’re asking this because you’re counting calories?

      • Bev Badger

        Not so much calories but carbs.

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