If the carrot harvest has turned out rich, the vegetable can be wonderfully preserved by fermentation. It is probably one of the oldest methods of preserving food. The principle is simple: In the absence of air and with the help of water and salt, the vegetables begin to ferment. Microorganisms are responsible for this process, as they grow on the surface of the vegetables. They “process” the vegetables and break down the sugars they contain. This creates lactic acid and an ideal environment that keeps the contents of the jar from spoiling. At the same time, fermentation makes food more aromatic, more digestible and even preserves valuable vitamins and minerals. Thus, fermented carrots are not only delicious, but also healthy.
Fermenting carrots: The most important facts in brief
To preserve carrots by fermentation, clean the vegetables and cut them into pieces. Use them to fill jars with rubber rings and cover the carrots with a brine: 25 grams (0.9 oz) of salt to 1 liter (4.2 cup) of water. Hold the vegetables under the surface of the water with a weight, if necessary. Leave some space between the brine and the jar opening for the fermentation gases. Close the lid and store the jars in the dark at room temperature for five to seven days, then in a cool place for another two to three weeks.
How to ferment carrots?
The great thing is that you do not have to make a big effort to preserve the harvest or purchase. Depending on the amount you want to preserve, you can choose the vessel: There are stoneware fermenting pots with high capacity, which are mostly used for making sauerkraut. In addition, there are special fermenting jars, which are equipped with weight for weighting and valve for ventilation. Alternatively, you can also use classic canning jars.
For the fermentation to succeed, hygiene is important during the preparations in the kitchen: It is best to boil the jars with water and clean all utensils such as knives and cutting board, but also your hands, thoroughly with odorless soap. Also, if possible, process fresh, undamaged carrots in organic quality.
Ingredients for 2 jars (approx. 750-1,000 milliliters)
- About 1 kg / 2 lbs of carrots
- 25 g / 0.9 oz salt, fine and unrefined (e.g. sea salt)
- if desired: herbs/spices
Remove the carrot greens and the ends of the beets. Do not peel the carrots, but clean them thoroughly and cut out any unsightly dark spots. Cut the carrots into chunks, slice them, or grate them into small pieces and portion the vegetables out among the jars. Push it down a bit if necessary, leaving room at the top of the jar. Prepare the brine by mixing 25 g / 0.9 oz of salt in 1 liter / 4.2 cup of water and wait for the crystals to dissolve. Then fill up the jars with the salt water. The carrots must be completely covered and there must be at least two centimeters / 0.8 in of space left to the edge of the jar opening. To prevent the vegetables from floating to the surface of the brine and starting to mold, you can weigh them down with special weights, a small glass lid or something similar.
You can now seal the jars with an appropriate valve in the lid, as well as jars with a rubber seal. Screw jars, on the other hand, do not allow the fermentation gases produced during fermentation to escape and could burst. In that case, you should only place the lids loosely. Leave the jars in a dark place at room temperature for about five to seven days. Around 20 °C / 68 °F is ideal for lactic acid fermentation to set in. This is easily recognizable by the rising bubbles. Then leave the carrots to ferment for another two to three weeks in a cool, dark place. Then you can tightly seal the loosely covered jars, or eat the vegetables.
Add some spice to the fermented carrots by adding herbs such as dill, spices such as pepper or chili, or other ingredients such as ginger, onion rings, or garlic as desired during preparation. Other firm vegetables such as cabbage can also be mixed well with carrots. You can try it out according to your taste.
How to store fermented carrots?
Carrots and also other vegetables preserved by fermentation can be stored for many months. The prerequisite is that the jars are in a dark and cool place and are well sealed. If you open a jar and do not consume the lactic pickled carrots completely, store it in the refrigerator afterwards.