I had read enough about the many healthful benefits of eating fermented foods to know they are important in our diets. They are rich with antioxidants, vitamins and gut-friendly bacteria, according to numerous sources. Eating fermented foods may help with your digestive issues and inflammation, and may even help with circulation, blood sugars and cholesterol. They are low sugar, low calorie and add a lot of flavor to our meals.
I was really interested, because I have been on omeprazole for 6 years. SIX YEARS! The scary thing is that there is a lawsuit going on against two name brands of omeprazole for causing kidney damage. I have tried a bunch of times to quit using it, but by the third day I am suffering from terrible digestive issues. So I am on a mission to clean up my diet.
I kept putting off trying my hand at fermenting after reading about the things that could POSSIBLY go wrong. I won’t lie….I am such a coward at trying new things.
I tried carrots for my first attempt at fermenting, because they were suppose to be super easy to ferment and could be made with no special equipment. I’ll include instructions below for both methods.
The carrots can be shredded, cut into coins, or cut into sticks to fit the jar. It’s just a matter of preference. The fermenting process will take a day or two longer for the coins or sticks.
Because I was making a small batch, I grated carrots on my little mandolin. If I would have thought about it, I’d have used my food processor to grate the carrots for fermenting, then shred cabbage for coleslaw. I’ll remember that next time! The mandolin made fine shredded carrots, whereas, the food processor makes a larger shred. Either size ferment well.
The supplies I use include a wide mouth pint canning jar, a 4 ounce jelly jar, an airlock and stopper, a plastic canning lid to fit the jar, a spoon and sea salt. Hubby drilled and sanded the hole in the lid. I use the jelly jar because I haven’t ordered the glass weights yet.
There are different styles of airlocks. I found these at a local brewing store, but they can be ordered online, too. They sure do make fermenting easy. I don’t have to check as often to keep the vegetables under the brine, the gas escapes easily and there’s less chance of mold. More importantly to me…they eliminated my fear of fermenting.
Use freshly washed jars to prevent introducing unwanted bacteria into the ferments. Dissolve 3 teaspoons of sea salt in 1 pint of warm filtered water. I have used both Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and regular white sea salt. Use whichever you have on hand, just don’t use salt with iodine.
NOTE: If not using any special equipment, just pack the carrots into the jar with a narrow rim, cover with the salt water brine, leaving a 1″ head space and put the lid on the jar. I used the tall narrow olive jar with the black lid, as seen in the last picture. Remove the lid daily to check that the carrots are submerged below the brine and to let the gas escape. Leftover brine can be stored in the fridge to use in another ferment.
If using an airlock, pack the carrots tightly into the jar. Since I was using the jelly jar for my weight, I only filled the jar two-thirds full of shredded carrots. Pour enough brine in to just cover the carrots. Set the small jar on top of the carrots, gently pushing until it is an eighth of inch or so below the larger jar rim. Pour brine into the small jar to hold it down and a little over the carrots if needed. Add filtered water to the air lock to the fill line, put the other pieces on the airlock and then screw the lid on the jar.
If by chance you need to add more brine to keep the carrots covered, just pour a little out of the little jar over the carrots, then put the jar back together as before.
My mind is only a minute long sometimes, so to alleviate having to constantly look at the directions again, I use masking tape and write the pertinent details: Carrots 1/21 (date started), Ferment 1-5 days (fermenting time), Good till 3/22 (best to use by date). This is especially helpful for seeing at a glance the details while fermenting and for later with several ferments in the fridge.
Now, set the jar in a dark corner on the counter or on top of the fridge for a warm spot… and WAIT! Taste daily starting on day two, until you are satisfied with the flavor. Shredded carrots have only taken a couple of days for my taste. When they are finished fermenting, put a regular lid (preferably plastic) on the jar and put in the fridge.
I like to put a spoonful on my salads or on a bowl of bean soup, and sometimes on “fancy” sandwiches (the ones with lettuce and tomatoes). Kids love fermented carrot sticks. The sticks are great in school lunches or just having in the fridge for quick snacks.
~ Fermented Carrots ~
3-4 medium carrots, shredded, or cut into coins or sticks 1 pint warm filtered water 3 teaspoons sea salt Optional: 1 clove garlic OR 1″ ginger (Grate and mix in with carrots)
Dissolve sea salt in warm filtered water
Pack carrots tightly into pint jar, 2/3 full. Pour brine over carrots. Place 4 oz jar on top of carrots, with rim of smaller jar 1/8″ below rim of larger jar. Fill the small jar with brine, and add more to carrots if needed to cover. Attach lid with airlock (with added filtered water, if the style requires water)
Ferment 1 to 5 days. Taste daily. When the taste is satisfactory, remove the small jar and put a regular lid on the larger jar. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 months.
Have you done any fermenting? How do you use fermented carrots?
If you haven’t tried fermenting, give them a try! Tasty and healthy at the same time!