Lacto-fermented vegetables add not only gut-healthy prebiotic bacteria, but also the vitamin-rich vegetables. And they provide attractive colour, a salty-sour tangy taste and an appetizing crunch to meals. I like to include some kind of lacto-fermented food in every meal I serve.
These ginger-flavoured carrots are one of our favourites. The have a great crunch, a pleasant saltiness that is tempered with some acidic sharpness, and a subtle ginger flavour. I like to pack these in lunch boxes, to serve them as a snack with a dip or to chop them up and include them in salads.
To gain the most benefits from the gut-friendly bacteria, you really do need to serve these raw and cold. Think of them as crunchy, salty, sour carrot sticks.
You can obtain the un-chlorinated water in a number of ways – you could run your water through a water filter that will remove chlorine. You could leave the water on the counter-top for a day or two (but be aware that a number of municipalities are now using chloramines in the place of chlorine to sterilize their water – chloramines will not dissipate over time, unlike chlorine. Call your water provider to ask if they use them). You could whirl your water in a blender for a minute or two do “de-gas” it (this does not work for chloramines), you could boil it for 10 minutes (again does not work for chloramines). You could use bottled, reverse-osmosis filtered water. Or you could do what I do, and not worry too much about it…. I have never had a fermentation fail due to using tap water!
Don’t be afraid of the salt – the carrots really do not absorb all that much of it – they just have a pleasant salty-sour taste from the salt-solution they were cultured in that remains on the outside. If salt is an issue for you, please do not try to reduce it (it is there to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria), simply rinse the brine off the carrot sticks before eating them. You may reduce some of the beneficial bacteria by doing this, but most will remain.
I recommend that you use organic carrots to make these – carrots can absorb toxins from fertilizer use that they store in their skin. If you have to use regular, grocery-store carrots peel them first as that will remove most of the toxins.
Lacto-Fermented Gingered Carrots
makes 1 quart mason jar
- 1lb organic carrots (4-5 medium carrots)
- 1″ piece of fresh root ginger – thinly sliced into rounds (no need to peel)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- filtered/de-chlorinated water as needed
Wash your carrots well and remove the ends. Peel if using non-organic carrots.
Cut the carrots into sticks.
Place the ginger and salt in the base of the jar then pack the carrot sticks in tightly. I like to hold the jar on it’s side and slide the sticks in one by one, filling in any gaps so that all the carrot sticks stand vertically. You want them so tightly packed that nothing can float to the surface. Use an extra carrot if necessary.
Pour the water over the carrots so that they are all covered by at least ¼” of water. The water level should be less than 1″ from the top of the jar. Seal with a lid. Give a quick shake (gently – you do not want to dislodge any of those carrots!) to dissolve the salt.
Check once a day, loosening the lid to allow any carbon-dioxide build-up to escape. After 3-7 days store in the refrigerator. The best way to judge whether these are ready is to taste one. If it tastes good to you – pleasantly sour-salty, it is ready. If not, allow it to ferment for a few more days.
The carrots will continue fermenting in the refridgerator but it will be much slower. Eat the carrots within a week or two and they should stay crunchy.
If all the carrots are fully submerged in the brine you should not get any mold growth. But in the unlikely event that you do (most often caused by a stray carrot or piece of ginger floating to the surface) discard the entire jar. Mold most often looks fuzzy and can be white or colored (blue, yellow, green).
Shared at Paleo AIP Roundtable #28