Most people know these as those pickled carrots you can sometimes get in really authentic Mexican restaurants. And “pickled” is appropriate, or at least used to be an appropriate term for fermenting carrots. These days pickling often refers to a method of preserving vegetables in vinegar… or even sugar (gasp!). But before the Industrial Revolution, we called upon the wild yeasts to help us keep our food through winter. I prefer this method as you get a punch of good gut bacteria to aid you.
A few quart masons or a 2 Liter swing top and some fermenting lids and weights are helpful but you can do this with loosely fitted plastic lids or swing top lids and a sanitized little jar small enough to insert on top of the veg. On occasion I have used a sterile ziplock filled with water and stuffed it on top of the vegetables.
For this recipe I used a 2 liter Kilner jar and aided my ferment with some cultured brine as I was having trouble with my carrots due to some lively unidentified wild yeasts.
On salt method: below I have shown a method involving making the brine and pouring over the top. Once you get the hang of fermenting though you will be able to just add the salt to the top and pour the water over. Typically, I will use 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt per quart. Some people use more… and in hot weather I find it is more effective to add a little more to keep the yeast down. You may get a slight white film on your vegetables or on the top. This is normal but somewhat unappealing. It is called Kahm’s yeast. You can scrape it off and it is not harmful like mold but I don’t know anyone really who likes the stuff. If you are having trouble with it in your ferments you could have competing wild yeasts in your home, or simply not enough salt for those particular vegetables. If you’re nervous, err on the side of caution and add a little more salt. As a principle, I will add 1-1 1/2 Tbsp salt per quart to carrots.
- Enough carrots to fill a 2 liter sanitized jar or whatever jar you are using.
- Course pink salt
- Glass jar, sanitized
- Fermenting weight or small jar, sanitized
- Lay all your tools on a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat in the oven and heat to 180F to sanitize everything.
- Peel, rinse and chop your carrots either into sticks or rounds to desired thickness (we did both because littles were helping)
- Fill your sanitized jar with washed, unpeeled (if organic, peeled if not) and sliced carrots, leaving a couple inches room at the top.
- Dissolve 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sea salt per 2 cups non-chlorinated water and pour over the top, repeating until all your veg is covered. (I added the borrowed ferment liquid to top mine off)
- Insert sanitized jar or weight to keep vegetables submerged. Close lid. If you do not have fermenting or swing lids, cover with a towel to keep bacteria out.
- Wait 2-7 days, depending on your taste.
- Save the juice for other ferments!
Fermented carrots are simple easy and our whole family loves them. Sometimes I throw in a jalapeño, garlic or something fun but I find my family prefers it simple.