Fermented carrots add a pleasant and sour crunch to stews, crudités, and cheese and charcuterie boards. Lacto-fermented carrots are also more nutritious than raw carrots as they feature healthful benefits such as probiotics.
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What is Lacto-Fermentation?
At some point, thousands of years ago, early humans learned to use the process of fermentation to enjoy its tasty results. The most familiar fermented foods, like Korean kimchi, Jewish pickles and German sauerkraut are made using lacto-fermentation.
Most people think about beer or wine when they hear the word fermentation. While specialized yeasts are used to convert sugars in grape juice or grains into alcohol, it is tiny bacteria that are responsible for lacto-fermentation. Various strains of these bacteria are naturally present on the surface of plants, especially those growing in or close to the ground such as garlic, carrots, and jalapeños.
The naturally occurring bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid. This acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Lacto-fermentation also increases and preserves the beneficial vitamin and enzyme levels, and digestibility of fermented food.
Why Make Fermented Carrots?
- if you’re keen to try fermentation for the first time it’s best to start with an easy recipe. Fermented carrots are one of the easiest fermentation recipes you’ll find.
- lacto-fermented vegetables are rich in beneficial bacteria, which have been proven to encourage healthy gut flora.
- fermenting carrots allows you to naturally preserve raw carrots to enjoy over a long period of time.
- their subtle sourness and crunch offers a unique flavour profile.
Get Creative with Fermented Carrots
Lacto-fermented carrots are a great way to enjoy a sour crunch at mealtime. You ideally want to avoid using it in recipes that require cooking, as the heat will destroy the beneficial probiotics. Here are some of our favourite ways to use fermented carrots when cooking at home:
- Dips: fermented carrots are best enjoyed dipped into hummus, guacamole, baba ghanoush or yogurt ranch dip.
- Cheese and Charcuterie: add your favourite lacto-fermented vegetables to a celebratory cheese and charcuterie board.
- Salads: top your favourite cold salad with sliced carrots.
- Stews and Soups: add fermented carrots to your favourite hearty stews and soups.
Tips on Making Fermented Carrots
Our carrot recipe looks very easy based on the short ingredients list. Since lacto-fermentation is a science, it’s best to ensure you understand how fermentation works. Here are our favourite tips and tricks:
- you’ll need to purchase standard fermentation equipment which can be basic or more specialized. At the very minimum you’ll need measuring spoons, measuring cups and canning jars with a rubber seal. If you plan on fermenting often purchase this fermentation crock for large batches or these fermentation jars fitted with bubble airlock.
- do not fill the carrots and brine all the way to the top of the jar. You want to have just enough brine to cover the carrots.
- you can speed up the fermentation process by adding a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar or “sauerkraut juice.”
- ensure the carrots are always submerged under the liquid to prevent mould growth.
- open your lid each day to burp the jar, releasing a build up of carbon dioxide. This will help you avoid an unwanted explosion in your cupboards.
- feel free to add pickling spices, fresh herbs, sliced garlic or even jalapeno peppers to add a boost of flavour.
- at the farmer’s market, purchase speciality carrot varieties such as purple, pink, and yellow to add colourful creativity to your jar.
How to Make Fermented Carrots
- 3 cups carrots peeled and sliced
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp salt
- Once your carrots are peeled and sliced add them to a mason jar so they are 1 inch from the top.
- Prepare a salt brine by dissolving salt in water.
- Pour brine into the mason jar until carrots are covered.
- Optional: add any additional flavourings such as pickling spices or fresh dill or basil.
- Put the lid on the jar and store at room temperature in a dark place like your closet or cupboard.
- Open the jar once a day to release carbon dioxide. Fermentation fans call this “burping.”
- Continue this process for 3-4 weeks until fermentation bubbles no longer form.
- Move the jar to your fridge once fermentation has completed and enjoy for the next 3-6 months.
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New to fermenting? Check out these great books and products to get you started!
Fermentation Revolution by Sebastien Bureau & David Cote: Covers everything you need to know about fermentation to start a lacto-fermentation revolution in your pantry!
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz: The most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published.
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi & David Zilber: At Noma in Copenhagen, named the world’s best restaurant, fermentation is one of the foundations behind their extraordinary menu. Read their never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma’s extensive pantry of ferments!
Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten & Christopher Shockey: This easy-to-follow guide presents more than 120 recipes for fermenting 64 different vegetables and herbs.
If you’re ready to start fermenting and are looking to ferment beer or wine purchase this great home brewing kit!
This Easy Fermenter Kit was created to help make fermenting simple. It comes with 3 Wide Mouth Mason Jar Lids & 1 Oxygen Extraction Vacuum.
This 5L Glass Fermentation Crock + 45 recipe book set lets you make delicious, fermented favourites in an affordable design at home.
We also love this Simply Sauer Vegetable Fermentation Kit which comes with 1 oxygen pump and 4 air airlock lids. If you are planning to ferment multiple items at once, they also make this great Mason Jar Fermentation Airlock Lid Kit.
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