Refrigerator-Pickled Carrots

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 sprigs fresh dill (or thyme)
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 +1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, cracked
Heaping 1+1/2 teaspoons salt
Heaping 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1+1/2 pounds small (finger-sized) carrots, or standard carrots cut into sticks or rounds.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 + 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, dill, garlic, black peppercorns, salt and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup vinegar.

Wash the carrots and put them in a large, heatproof bowl, and pour the warm brine over them. Cool to room temperature.

While the carrots cool, wash 2 quart sized canning jars and their lids in warm, soapy water.

When the carrots and brine are cool, distribute the carrots evenly among the jars, arranging them snugly. Divide the brine evenly among the jars. The carrots should be covered completely by the brine. If they are not, add a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water to cover.

Seal firmly and refrigerate for at least 3 days, or, preferably, a week. Carrots are dense and take time to absorb the brine.

Note: Covered and refrigerated, the pickled carrots should last a month or two.

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