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Fermented Lemon Ginger Carrots

Fermented ginger carrots are tasty and oh-so-simple to make. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you ferment the perfect crunchy carrots.

Equipment

  • 1-quart mason jar

Ingredients
  

  • 6 to 8 medium-sized carrots or enough to fill your mason jar
  • 2 cups room temperature, un-chlorinated water (Note: If your water is chlorinated and you don’t have a filter, let the water stand overnight and the chlorine will evaporate.)
  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined sea salt
  • One-inch (or more) chunk of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
  • slice of lemon (optional)
  • 1 or 2 grape or oak leaves (optional - they will help keep your carrots crunchy)

Instructions
 

  • Wash and dry your mason jar.
  • Make the brine by dissolving the salt in the water. Note: You want to ensure your water is free from chlorine. Chlorinated water for fermentation will slow or prevent the growth of the beneficial lacto-bacteria and yeasts.
  • Wash and peel your carrots. Slice off the stem ends and put aside any bruised or questionable looking specimens. Cut the carrots lengthwise into quarters and then short enough to fit into your jar with a little headspace above the carrots.
  • Pack the carrots, ginger and leaves (if you are using) so tightly into your jars that you can not even squeeze in one more carrot. This is important because the vegetables will shrink as they ferment. This will help ensure they will stay immersed in the brine. Place the slice of lemon top and cover with brine, leaving about 1 inch of headspace so your bottles don’t explode when the brine begins to bubble up.
  • Now, this is really important – the brine should cover the vegetables at all times or else they will start developing mold and your ferment may be ruined. So long as they remain under the anaerobic safety of the brine, they’ll be fine.
  • To keep the vegetables submerged, I placed a slice of carrot lengthwise on top. You could also use a cabbage leaf or a piece of cheesecloth, for example, followed by some type of weight. Check out this post for some creative weight ideas. You can also buy fermentation weights.
  • Screw on the lids (but not too tightly in order to let some of the fermentation gasses escape) and set in a location at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Soon you’ll see bubbles of carbon dioxide gas in the brine, which means you’ve been successful and the brine has started to acidify. This is the stage in which you will begin to “burp” your jar every couple of days if you are using a standard sealing lid. Simply unscrew the lid slightly and allow the gas to escape.
  • Over time, the mixture will become cloudy and start to develop a pleasantly sour smell. Lactobacillus species are most abundant during this time. Now, you can start to taste test the carrots.
  • But here is the tricky part. There doesn’t seem to be a cut and dry date for when fermented carrots are done. It seems to depend on the temperature of your home and how sour you like them. It should take a week or two. Remember: Fermented carrots should smell pleasantly sour. Never eat fermented vegetables that smell bad. You may also want to avoid ferments that smell like alcohol (unless you want to get a bit tipsy).
  • Once the carrots are done to your liking, screw the lids on tight and place them in the fridge or other cold storage facility. You may also want to label your ferments with the date.

Notes

Fermented carrots are naturally crispy, but you can add one or two tannin-rich grape or oak leaves to your ferment for a crunchy boost.  The tannin prevents vegetables' cell walls from breaking down.