Paul Cezanne proclaimed, "The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution." But, what about a "freshly preserved" carrot?
Carrots may be the only vegetable that your children will ever eat. Full of flavor and naturally sweet, carrots are a staple in lunch boxes and colorful side dishes. You've cooked these veggies in many different ways and even added them to a salad. But what about fermented carrots?
Many foods can be fermented, so it's no wonder that fermented carrot sticks are also a thing. Their ability to stay crunchy and retain their color makes them an ideal candidate for fermentation. But what is the fermentation process for carrots?
How to ferment vegetables, and why it's a good idea
Fermenting food is an ancient food preservation method used in China, dating back some 2,000 years ago. Since then, it's been popular to keep foods longer and give the foods the additional nutritional properties of probiotics.
Fermented vegetables are made by keeping the veggies in a wet and oxygen-free environment. This process cultivates good bacteria (lactobacillus, a probiotic) and creates an environment that harmful bacteria can't live in. It also preserves the vegetables and makes them tasty!
Probiotics are good for gut health. Fermented carrots are packed with gut-friendly lactobacillus bacteria so that they can assist with your digestion. It may even help your immune system work better, and your taste buds will get a boost!
Using very little fermentation time, ingredients, and effort, you can create a fermented version of carrots that is sure to be a hit! So let's jump into a mouth-watering fermented carrot recipe.
Frank's fermented carrots
If you harbor a love for pickles, you'll love these carrot sticks! They're crunchy, tangy and sour, and work great in salads or as a burger topping. Eating some fermented foods every day could help keep your body healthy, but if you are getting a bit bored with cabbage, try carrots!
- 1lb of carrots, trimmed and peeled
- 1 sauerkraut crock or mason jar (quart size)
- 3 large cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and pressed
- Fresh herbs such as dill (alternatives can be thyme, rosemary, marjoram, or sage)
- Sea salt to taste
- Filtered water (as needed to fill)
- Trim the ends off your carrots and wash them thoroughly. Peel the carrots if you find the skin too thick—cut carrots to the same size, length, and thickness. To determine the size, cut one, place it in the jar and adjust to fit.
- Allow for at least 2 inches of space from the top of the sauerkraut crock or jar. Once you have one cut to the perfect length, cut the rest of them to match.
- Add your salt to the bottom of the crock or jar. Then add the peeled and pressed garlic and any other herbs or flavors like traditional dill, chili flakes, rosemary, ginger, or lemon.
- Pack everything tightly into the jar, add your brine, and make sure the carrots and other ingredients don't float to the top. You can pack the carrots in by alternating the thick and thin ends to keep the contents secure when brine is added.
- When you add the water, keep it an inch below the top of the jar. Use filtered water because it will not kill off the naturally occurring good bacteria. Chlorinated water or tap water that contains bacteria or other chemicals may not create the desired outcome.
- Put a lid on your creation, but don't tighten it all the way. You want the top to be on but not entirely secure. The fermentation process will soon begin, and you will want to release the air created by the bacteria consuming all of those sugars.
- Keep the container inside of a baking dish in case the contents fizz over. Place the jar in a darkened but cool place so that it can continue to ferment. Check on the contents daily. You'll notice color, scent, and taste changes.
- Fizz and froth will occur. It is part of the regular activity of fermenting carrots. This means the bacteria is doing its job. After a day or so, you'll notice that the water becomes cloudy or even begins to bubble.
- After 2 or 3 days, you may see a white scum on top. This is also perfectly normal. By day 3 or 4, you'll smell a slightly sour or acidic scent coming from the jar. You can do a taste test at this point. If it tastes sour or tangy, and you like it, it is ready. If not, leave it one more day.
- At this point, you should be happy with the flavor and texture and know that the carrots are fermented. You can seal the cap and place it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Although they may not last that long, you now know how to make even more!
Top tip:Remember that it's important to cut your carrots into evenly sized pieces. If you're wondering what shape will be best for carrots and sticks come to mind, go for it! Fermented carrots in that shape work really well.
There are all kinds of exciting recipes around for carrots; we even came across recipes for making vegan cheese with carrots and this carrot on a stick recipe at Cookpad.
We might try some of these recipes one day, but this fermented carrot recipe is by far our favorite! Because of the probiotics in it, it's also super healthy!
A few words about probiotics
Good bacteria (or probiotics) are what makes fermentation vegetable recipes so popular - and for a good reason! Introducing good bacteria into your gut could help create an environment where good bacteria help improve certain foods' digestion.
Having a probiotic-rich diet can help improve your gut health. Having a gut that works efficiently means that nutrients are easily absorbed, allowing other systems to do their work more effectively. Fermented veggies like carrots will help you get the necessary probiotic health benefits.
These benefits can range from improved memory to weight loss and help with depression, Alzheimer's, ADHD, and even autism. Scientists and doctors proclaim that health begins at digestion, so let's give yours some fermented goodness.
In case you were wondering
If you're getting into fermenting veggies like we are, here are some answers to questions you may have about fermentation recipes:
#1 How long do fermented carrots last?
Most fermented foods, especially vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and carrots, can last in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. However, you should always check on your fermented carrots every week to prevent eating food that may be moldy.
#2 How much salt do I need for fermentation?
Your fermented vegetable recipes' salt contents can vary greatly depending on the jar's size and the veggies' size. The general rule of thumb is roughly 4 Tbsp of sea salt for a half-gallon of distilled water. This will be a reasonably accurate measurement for a perfect brine.
#3 What do fermented carrots taste like?
Fermented carrots taste much like carrots in that they have all that carroty flavor but with an added salty, tangy, or even sour taste sensation. By adding various herbs and spices to your concoction, you can make them spicy with chili flakes or more traditional with dill taste.
The final crunch
The fermented foods craze is incorporating a ton of vegetable options that now include carrots. One reason carrots can compete with other fermented vegetables is to give a sweet and zesty flavor with a ton of crunch. Not to mention the added nutritional goodness!
So if you're craving for more than a plain old pickle, and want to add a new dimension to your fermenting food experiment, give fermented carrots a whirl. We love this probiotic-rich food that you can easily make at home!