I stumbled across a recipe for fermented carrots the other day (here) – what a great idea! We have a lot of carrots left from the CSA share and while we’ve been eating raw carrots with dinner quite frequently I thought it would be nice to do something different with them. And after discovering how much I like the kimchi I made in October, I’ve been thinking about making lots of fermented pickly foods.
This is pretty simple, like most fermented pickles. Slice the veggies, mix with salt and squeeze/pound them to break down cell walls and get the juices flowing. Add flavoring agents and work them in some more, then pack everything into a jar and let it sit for a couple weeks.
I opted to use my mandoline to slice the carrots since I was cutting up so many. I love this thing, but the blade is super sharp – don’t get cocky using it! I sliced my thumb pretty badly last year and am now more than a little afraid of it. They sell them with blade guards for a reason! You can absolutely do this with a knife, but it’s going to take a lot longer and you’ll have more inconsistent slices. Neither of which is going to negatively affect the finished product, for the record!
I ended up with about 8 cups of sliced carrots, which was probably about 12-15 medium carrots. I tossed them with a couple tablespoons of kosher salt and then mixed and squeezed the heck out of them. Then I sliced up a few cloves of garlic and grated a 3″ piece of ginger and mixed those into the carrots, squeezing some more. I also added a couple dried peppers, probably cayenne, from which I’d removed the seeds and then crushed in my hands. This part’s totally optional, as are the garlic and ginger, but will contribute a whole bunch of delicious flavor!
After all that squeezing, you should have a bit of liquid coming out of the carrots. At this point I didn’t have anywhere near enough liquid to cover the carrots once they were stuffed into a jar, plus I had to leave the house for a while, so I just covered the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for a few hours while the salt did its thing, drawing more liquid out of the carrot slices.
I sanitized a regular mouth quart jar, #12 stopper, and airlock (from Northern Brewer), stuffed all of those carrots in, making sure to press them down so everything was under the liquid, and popped the stopper and airlock in. It’ll sit on the counter for a couple weeks, until it stops bubbling, and then I will eat them!
If you don’t want to deal with an airlock, you can also just put some salt water in a ziplock bag and fit it into the mouth of the jar. That’ll help keep everything submerged and still allow excess gases to escape. You *can* just ferment it with a lid on too, but you’ll want to vent the jar every day or two. Trust me.
Fermented Carrot Pickles
- 8 cups thinly sliced carrots (10-15 medium carrots)
- 2 TB kosher salt (use about 1/2 that volume if using finer-grained salt)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 3″ piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp crushed pepper flakes, more or less to taste (or use fresh minced chilis) (optional)
In a large bowl, mix carrots and salt and squeeze or pound until carrots begin to exude juices. Add ginger, garlic, and pepper and squeeze some more. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 3-4 hours, then pack into sterilized jar and seal with stopper/airlock or a baggie of salt water.