10-cent snack: gingered carrot pickles

Unsurprisingly, a budget of $35 a week does not leave a lot of room for snacks. If lunches and breakfasts have to be under 50 cents, then snacks—if we have them at all—have to be under 10 cents. This pretty much limits us to things like tomatoes, apples, and peas from the yard; air-popped popcorn; toast with homemade jam; free food at work…you get the idea. We already buy carrots in bulk to make carrot-and-daikon slaw for these, which one or both of us eat almost every day, but snacking on plain, raw carrots tends to get real boring, real fast. These are wonderfully sweet, zingy, and different, and when when properly canned will last almost a year. (We just keep an open jar in the fridge.)

Recipe adapted from Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn In the South. (He’s the guy with the unibrow judging this season of “Top Chef.” And yes, that is precisely why I checked out this book from the library. Shut up.)

• 1 lb. carrots (99 cents for a 2 lb. bag), peeled and cut into sticks: 50 cents
• 3 T peeled ginger matchsticks: 20 cents
• 1 cup distilled white vinegar: 15 cents
• 1/4 cup turbinado sugar: 25 cents
• 1 T kosher salt: 2 cents
TOTAL: $1.12/jar (30+ carrot pickles per jar, depending on how you cut them)

Put the carrot sticks and ginger matchsticks in a clean quart jar. Bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, pour over the carrots in the jar. If you’re planning on putting these up for a while, sterilize the lid and jar before adding the carrots and brine, then can according to your canner’s instructions. They should be good to eat after an hour or so of sitting.

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