Fermented Carrots

We made fermented carrots with garlic, ginger and capsicum for the first time a year and a half ago, in a series of experiments to ferment different vegetables. We liked their spicy and fresh aromatic taste and crunchy texture instantly. Since then fermented carrots became regular food on our everyday menu.

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Fermented carrots can be served on their own, as a side salad to chicken, meat or fish dishes, added to fresh salads to replace the dressing, or mixed with eggs, when making quiches or omelettes. Bread, shown on the photo is not grain free, it is only gluten free. I often add fermented carrots to baked dishes to add texture and intensify the taste. I have started to make fermented carrots with small quantities, but now make 3 kg batch at a time, keep it refrigerated, and it lasts, depending how often we use it, for 4-6 weeks.

The recipe had been already published in my cookingwithoutgluten blog some time ago, but did not include step by step photos to make it easier to visualise the process. I only made one change to the recipe, I do not add cloves anymore.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 kg carrots, depending on carrot size, you’ll get 2.5 – 2.6 kg peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • medium piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1.5-2 heads of garlic, not in the photo
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies
  • 150-200g white cabbage
  • 55-60g of sea salt

Total weight of all ingredients will be around 3.0kg. Salt is added 20g to every 1kg of carrots and other vegetables mix. Capsicum and cabbage are used to provide extra juices and jump-start fermentation process.

Preparation:

  • peel carrots and grate them, either manually, or in food processor (I have found that grating in food processor gives more juices and as the result fermentation process begins faster)
  • divide grated carrots into 3-4 manageable portions and place each in a wide bowl

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  • wash and dry capsicum and chillies, peel ginger and garlic
  • blend capsicum, chillies, ginger, garlic and cabbage in food processor to a coarse paste (it might help to blend chillies, garlic and ginger in small cup blender first, transfer the paste to a regular bowl and blend with capsicum and cabbage)

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  • measure salt in the ratio 20g of salt per 1kg of vegetable mix
  • proportionately add salt to each batch of grated carrots in separate bowls

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  • rub salt into grated carrots massaging carrots with your fingers, it will result in appearance of carrot juice on the bottom of the bowl

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  • add previously made garlic, chilli, ginger, capsicum and cabbage paste and mix it with each portion of carrots with a spoon, do not mix the paste in with your hands, it is spicy and you can have chemical burns if a lot of chilli is used

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  • transfer individual portions of carrots with mixed in spice paste into a large ceramic or glass container, where you can ensure to keep carrots submerged under juices

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  • I use large round glass cylinder and a plate of smaller diameter to keep carrots down
  • press carrots down for the juice to cover them completely
  • place the plate to cover carrots and keep them under the liquid at all times
  • use weight to keep the plate in place
  • cover glass container (not necessary in case of ceramic container) and keep it on the benchtop for 3-5 days

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The appearance of bubbles shows the start of fermentation process. In summer, at higher room temperatures, 3 days are usually enough to have fermented carrots ready, but still crunchy. If kept for too long, they become softer. Sweeter carrots are fermented faster, compared to less sweet varieties. In winter, at cooler temperatures it takes full 5 day to ferment carrots. Pack clean glass jars tight, to avoid air pockets in fermented carrots. Fermentation will continue and with time, carrots will become softer in texture and not as crunchy.

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Try to ferment smaller quantities of carrots first. You can adjust ginger, garlic and chilli quantities to the heat and spice level you prefer. Fermented carrots are an exceptionally healthy vegetable preserve with many flexible uses. The preserve is easy to make and keep. What’s more, is has a wonderful fresh taste which can enhance any dish on your plate. Fermented carrots are good for a person on any diet or eating plan and have their rightful place among other fermented products in a healthy nutrition.

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