A few years ago I started taking daily raw apple cider vinegar shots during the flu seasons. Two tablespoons in the morning, diluted with a splash of water, then down the hatch it goes. And then your shoulders wiggle all over for a minute, cause it's gross.

I'm sure by now we all know about the raw apple cider vinegar. It improves your skin, relieves allergy + asthma symptoms, speeds up your metabolism, reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes, it's good for your hair when used as a rinse, it's good for your digestion, you can clean your windows with it... all these things. I'll be referring to it as ACV from here on out, I hear that's the street name for it out here. "Yeah, I take my ACV shots with a bit of raw, local honey, and some chia seeds." Like that.

(I used to use ACV at night on my face, but then my husband asked me to kindly stop, as I was coming to bed smelling like salad. Fair enough.) 

(Oil pulling squicks me out, I am ashamed to admit.)

I take ACV primarily to boost my immune system. The acids in the vinegar are supposed to help create an alkaline environment in your gut, which in turn make it harder for viral and bacterial infections to spread. I started taking ACV one winter during a particularly intense flu season. It was baaad. Huck's friends were dropping like flies. It seemed like we were constantly exposed, everywhere we went--and I mean, like, actually exposed, literally, in the grossest ways. (Barf in the sand box during a playdate once, holla.) I'd read once that a shot of ACV a day will keep you from catching the stomach bug, especially when taken immediately after exposure and continuing for the 3 days following. Seems too good to be true, I hear you, but people in these raw foods forums were swearing up and down that it worked every time, and as we all know, you can always trust the things things you read on online forums. So I was like, SOLD. I think we may have been the only ones to stay healthy that year, and I'm not kidding, we couldn't go anywhere that winter without somebody getting sick immediately after, it was like the zombie apocalypse. So, color me converted.

**For kids and other vinegar-averse humans you can substitute a daily cup of 100% grape juice, no sugar added. Who knows really, but it's seemed to work for Huck. Isn't this stuff exciting though?!

So I was looking around the other day for a decent recipe for pickled carrots, when I stumbled on all sorts of articles about pickled + fermented foods preventing and even halting already-in-progress stomach bugs. This has been good news for me, because what can I say? Barf is terrifying, pickles are tasty, old-fashioned canning is a turn on, and holistic healing has always got me going. As does composting, which is very sexy. My grandmother used to make the most delicious dilly beans before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and learning to make them has been on my to-do list for quite some time. Anyway, I'd definitely rather eat one of Shirley's famous dilly beans than do one more danged ACV shot, so. Three birds, one pickle, here we are. 

Speaking of the Costco. The other day I mistakenly ordered about 50 million pounds of carrots. It's a long story. (Funny thing about New York--you can order Costco delivery from your phone, and then some nice person with a car brings it to your door. Not kidding around. Also not kidding around... are Costco-sized bags of carrots.)

I mean, Huck likes carrots and we like carrots, but nobody likes carrots that much.

The whole thing took me twenty-five minutes from start to finish. Here I was expecting a good afternoon of blissful canning, so that was a bummer, but, you know. That's life. This was the most labor intensive part: soaking the mason jars in soapy water while I peeled the carrots. Silly story but I actually worried for a minute I'd have a hard time finding mason jars. In Brooklyn.

It felt weird for a minute to actually be using mason jars to can something. 

Anyway, to keep things super old-fashioned and authentic, I used pre-peeled garlic cloves. 

And took many selfies to document the process.

(Recipe adapted from the kitchn)

// Carrots
// Garlic
// Fresh Dill
// Red Pepper Flakes
// Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
// Water
// Kosher Salt
// Whole Black Peppercorn
// Whole Coriander Seeds
// Sugar*

(Makes roughly 2 pints)

1. Peel about two pounds of carrots. Slice in half length-wise, then slice the halves again, for quartered spears

2. Add herbs + spices to the jar
--Handful of fresh dill (you can also use 2 teaspoons dill seed)
--3-5 garlic cloves, crushed open with the flat side of your knife blade
--1 1/2  tablespoons kosher salt
--1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
--1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
--1 tablespoon whole coriander seed

(You can tweak this as the spirit moves you. :)

**I sprinkled a teaspoonful or so of raw sugar into the jar with the dilly beans, because I remembered my grandmother always using sugar. I'm not sure what difference it makes, but of all the vegetables I pickled, those beans came out the best.

3. Pack the carrots into the jars as tightly as possible.

4. Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour the brine over your carrots, filling the jar to within 1/2 inch of the top.

5. Remove air bubbles by gently tapping the jars against the counter. Bubbles will rise to the top. Cover with more pickling brine if needed.

6. Tighten lids.

(If you'd like, you can boil the jars at this point in a large pot of boiling water for five minutes to make them shelf-stable for a year or so. You'll know the process worked when the lids have popped down. If they don't pop down, store them in the fridge, where they'll keep for a few weeks.)

7. Cool and refrigerate your pickles. Leave overnight for the magic to happen. Pickles that haven't been processed for shelf storage will need to be refrigerated immediately, and will keep in the fridge for just under a month.

Next you ask yourself, What else can I pickle? When really, the better question is, What can't I pickle?

I tried pickling a bit of everything we had in the fridge. Broccoli + cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, and green beans. The beans and carrots won the day. The cucumbers didn't come out well, I'm sure because I used the wrong kind of cucumber (I only had Persian on hand). The broccoli/cauliflower turned out oddly, cloyingly sweet, and I hadn't even used sugar in that one. Head scratcher.

I followed the same ratios for the larger jars, but topped the jar off once all the vegetables were in with a lot more of the brine mixture to fill to the top, as well as a few extra sprinkling of spices, I'd guess about a quarter teaspoon's worth or so. I suspect you couldn't really screw this one up too much, so long as you don't over-salt it or go completely nuts with the red pepper flakes. 

How does it go? A pickled carrot a day keeps the flu bug away? I'm going for it.

PS--Other things the Internet has told me are good for gut health: 
Sauerkraut (yesss!)
Jamie Lee Curtis
and Artichokes!  Who knew?
(More on that HERE.)

I've never been a huge yogurt lover, but I've always been a sucker for some sauerkraut. (And not for nothing but I'm fairly certain kimchi might be the new cupcake.)

Now go forth and pickle!


  1. Loved that you shared this Natalie!
    I recently started making pickled carrots (I literally just throw a bag of baby carrots + a few chopped up onions in a large pot along with equal parts white vinegar and water and boil until they're tender...), but they're seriously the best take-to-work snack and get me to eat a serving or two of vegetables that I wouldn't eat otherwise. I really need to start putting in more seasoners though. Hopefully all your readers start making these because they are so freaking easy and delicious!

  2. I just did a tiny post on my blog that included uses for ACV. I think I will have to try out a shot a day! I know it may taste gross but I'm ok with that! I use it as a rinse on my hair. I have completely stopped using conditioner and only use the ACV. My husband doesn't care for the smell but I suppose he'll live. Lol! He'll really love it when I try to get him in on taking a shot a day!! I will definitely have to try out the pickled carrots!

    Thanks for the post!!!

  3. You made my day with this vinegar/stomach bug prevention stuff. My little guy always seems to come down with stuff and I always get it. And nursing with the stomach flu is THE WORST. Going for ACV ASAP ;)
    I think I'm ready to try some pickling, I used to be scared off by all canning because the sterilizing seemed so complicated, but after sterilizing baby bottles, I think I can handle it no problem.

    -Emily Hansel

  4. When I was in costa rica there was a guy at the farmers market who pickles mangos. Not gonna lie I gag just thinking of it. It looked like a snail, and while I did try a piece of it, all I could think about was SNAIL! I don't think it tasted like snail, but really the texture was just so.. sluggy that there was no overcoming that. So sluggy mangos are one of my suggestions of what not to pickle ;)

  5. Haha I love it. Who knew one could be so adorable and witty in a post about pickles?! I adore dilly beans.

  6. I mix ACV (2 tbsp) with 1/2 c apple juice and 1 c water. Not a ton of sugar in just 1/2 c of juice, and it gives it just enough sweetness. Normal apple juice is now sickeningly sweet to me.

  7. I just made some pickled carrots and love them. I will have to try the daily shot of ACV

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  9. Have you made Elderberry syrup? It is ridiculously easy to make. I had no idea! I caught my daughter's cold last week, which she had for just over two weeks. We're talking runny nose, stuffed nose, sore throat, coughing, and watery eyes. I whipped up some elderberry syrup and all my cold symptoms were gone within 48 hours. AH-mazing! I used 8 ounces of warm water, 3 teaspoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of ACV mixed to relieve my sore throat and it worked within seconds. I'm a big fan of fermented foods and holistic healing too! Add making elderberry syrup to your list. I used this recipe:

  10. I love homeopathic methods so much. It always worried me to pickle my own veggies, though--but I wish you luck and I'm thinking about trying it myself now!

  11. Natalie, I love, love, love your blog but I'm really confused by this sentence: "The acids in the vinegar are supposed to help create an alkaline environment in your gut, which in turn make it harder for viral and bacterial infections to spread." Vinegar is mildly acid and your stomach is highly acidic, so how does drinking something slightly acidic make your gut alkaline, which is the opposite of acidic? Would love to see where you got that explanation! Regardless of the science, the pickled carrots look delicious!

    1. hi! I know, it seems like backwards logic, hah, but it's true! you can read more about it here:

    2. Sorry, but that site is an absolute load of baloney. I'm all about eating natural, organic foods, but there is exactly zero science behind this. Your stomach is supposed to have an acidic pH- it enables you to break down foods. If the vinegar were actually making your stomach more alkaline (which it can't, as it's an acid. What benefit does alkalinity have anyway? I've seen a lot of fad dietary stuff about this on Pinterest lately...) your stomach wouldn't be able to digest food. Taking ACV certainly can't hurt, and I'm the queen of using vinegar around the house, but you'd be better served by eating healthfully, getting enough sleep, and exercising.

    3. hi!! I completely agree that you're better served taking care of yourself wholly, rather than just popping a pickle and calling it good. I'm definitely not advocating becoming a vinegar junkie, either. more just enjoying pickles and sharing some intetesting reads I've come across lately. I certainly haven't read all the scientific data so I can't speak to your point regarding the science behind it, though I'm sure it's not TOTALLY a bunch of baloney just like it's not TOTALLY 100% scientifically proven, haha, but I definitely appreciate your point of view!

    4. And one more thing: I <3 pickles :)

    5. I wrote a nice long reply, and it seems to be gone- bummer. You said above that "it's true". Commenters: alkaline diets do not meet any sort of scientific scrutiny. You likely won't meet any harm from one, but please do ACTUAL research and don't believe everything you read on the internet. It really bums me out how few discerning skills people seem to have.

    6. I always questioned the ACV stuff I came across in blogs until I sat through a lecture specifically on vinegar given by one of my nutrition professors at Arizona State (Carol Johnston). And it’s not just ACV that is beneficial, the acetic acid is the active component, which is in every type of vinegar. I don't have an exhaustive list of research to back up all the claims I've heard on the internet but Johnston specifically researched vinegar supplementation in both non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic patients. She mentioned that vinegar has been historically used as an antimicrobial agent but that wasn’t her focus.
      What she and her team found was that the acetic acid (1 tablespoon vinegar) delayed gastric emptying, thereby slowing the spike in insulin—giving an effect much like the pharmaceuticals targeting glycemic control.
      (Sorry to get on a nerd rant, but vinegar is the s***, and people should eat more pickled foods, vinaigrette, mustard, etc. If people want to try it as a flu/earache/jellyfish sting remedy, power to ya. Nat, spread the love!)

  12. Interesting read, old school here and have never heard of apple cider vinegar, but after reading this I'm wanting to try it on my hair, & everything you mentioned! Especially with winter coming, don't want Noah getting sick, and if it boosts our immune system then I'm sold! And those pickled carrots look delish! Thanks for educating me today, and for sharing your recipe!


  13. HOW do you get costco delivery in Brooklyn?!?

  14. I tried the ACV route (in a glass of 100% grape juice) once for a week or so when a stomach bug was going around my family earlier this year. I had been using before as a facial toner (per one of your posts I think) and I thought that was going well.

    I tried the ACV in water too to avoid the nasty bug...but let's just say it didn't work. I still got it. It wasn't as long as the bug the rest of my family got so maybe that had something to do with the ACV but I still can't stomach (pun intended) the smell of ACV after that. I may be turned off by it for good. I use it in a almond bread recipe and I nearly gag when I have to add the ACV. So glad it works for someone even if it's not me!

    Also, distilled white vinegar is good for hair that's on the oily side!

  15. Okay, I read and am still asking myself what the hell a dilly bean is?

    Nicole B.

  16. I grew up with a Mom who canned her garden at the end of the season and the entire business seemed too hard for me to ever attempt with out all her equipment, but that is so much easier than I ever thought it would be. I think I will give this a try over the weekend.

  17. I loved your voice in this post. More than normal. The perfect level of sarcastic. And I love pickled everything!

  18. Sorry, I was pumping breastmilk and should've clarified I love all of your posts but this one made me laugh out loud. Funny and educational. I never get tired of reading your blog/posts. Thanks!!

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  20. Please, PLEASE share how you get Costco produce delivered! I live in Manhattan and this would be AMAZING for my family, especially with the winter vortex of despair almost here again...

    THANK YOU!!!

  21. FerMENtiiiiing (in my best Oprah voice) has changed my life! I won't bore you (unless of course you find fermenting chat as exciting as I do then please let me know and I'll never shut up) with my methods. Check out ferment, make yogurt, be happy, BOOM! :)

  22. I liked your speech in this publish. More than regular. The best stage of ironic. And I really like pickled everything
    Best deal for vancouver furnished apartments

  23. I just pickled a bunch of veggies myself! My one tip -- if you can crush your spices (like with a mortar and pestle thing-y) before adding them to your brine, it releases all their spicy goodness!!!


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