Food fermenting has been part of the human cooking repertoire for centuries and it was used to help preserve vegetables in the pre-freezer era. But fermentation is not only good for preserving food; it also enhances the overall nutritional value of food and has immense benefits to gut health. Traditionally fermented vegetables are a rich source of probiotics (good bacteria) and we all know by now that the balance between the beneficial bacteria and the disease-causing bacteria in our gut is essential to good health, including a strong immune system, seamless digestion and a healthy brain function. So whether you consider yourself generally healthy or you may be in need of some digestive support, fermented vegetables such as these fermented carrots will populate your gut with the beneficial bacteria it needs in order to function efficiently.
The best vegetables to ferment are cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, and peppers. Where I come from, fermented green tomatoes are another staple food in Eastern European cuisine: they can be enjoyed all year round but especially in the winter time, when fresh vegetables are not readily available or don’t perform on taste. Generally speaking, you will want to choose organic vegetables that are in season and ripe, at the height of their optimal texture and flavor.
You may ferment one vegetable at a time, or try tossing several types together for a delicious salad of fermented vegetables. I like the carrot-cauliflower-green tomato combo!
Here’s how you can easily make fermented carrots:
1 liter lukewarm water
4 tsp sea salt
4 carrots, medium, peeled, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
Additional spices: caraway seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorn, ginger
- Make the brine by dissolving the salt in water.
- Place carrots into a clean canning jar, packing them in tight. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space at the top.
- Fill the jar with brine, making sure to cover the carrots completely. Weigh the carrots down to make sure they don’t float (you can use a “fermenting weight”).
- Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-4 days. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop. Open jar and taste the contents to ensure the fermentation process is underway. Stop it when it reaches your preferred taste.