I’m not sure what it is about fermented foods that has me so enthralled. The probiotic aspect is great – and the flavors are like nothing else – but I think more than any of that, it’s just so dang cool to see these things work! I get like silly excited every single time! What can I say – I’m a food geek.
My latest ferment, known in certain circles as dilly carrots, was so simple to put together and by day 2 it was bubbling away doing all kinds of healthy sciency stuff in the jar.
I am not going to bore you with the same facts that are on about 350 thousand other websites (according to Google:)). But yes, they are extra good for you, aid digestion, and are rich in probiotic goodness. As you know if you’ve read my blog at all – I am really into that whole probiotic thing.:)
(Also, it makes bubbles.;)
Day 3 Dilly Carrot Ferment.
If you’re new to the world of fermenting, this dilly carrots recipe is an easy one to get started with. All you need is carrots, water and (non-iodized) salt.
Dill is a perfect compliment, but you can experiment quite a bit by adding cloves of garlic, onion, and other herbs and seeds.
The magic of lacto-fermentation does all the work. Lacto refers to Lactobacillus, a lactic acid bacteria (probiotic) and has nothing to do with dairy. Although some people use whey to speed up the fermentation process, it can sometimes lead to a rather icky slimy texture which I’d prefer to avoid.
These digital scales are perfect around the kitchen. I love the flat design – it makes it super simple to store.
Just measure out the salt and dissolve it in water. Dechlorinate your water first so it won’t interfere with fermentation. To dechlorinate water, just leave a jug of water on the kitchen counter overnight (12 – 24 hours).
The salt ratio is important for a safe ferment. If you change the recipe, keep the brine ratio at 4 cups water:19 grams of non-iodized salt.
I also stirred in some dry mustard powder (I thought we had mustard seeds when I started and wasn’t about to change my mind about adding it!).
If you use dry ingredients, they have a tendency to float upward, that includes dry mustard powder. So there will be a harmless scum from the powder rising with the gases. Don’t panic.:) Just remove it when you burp the jar (I only had to do it once, on day 2.)
Wash carrots well but don’t peel them. Slice ’em up however you like. You could even shred them if you’re so inclined.
I made my dilly carrots using tall thin slices for grabbing and eating straight out of the jar.
The smaller the carrot slices, the faster they will inherit all the yummy pickle-y flavor of the ferment. Make sure to leave room at the top of the jar to fully immerse the carrots in brine.
Throw some other flavorings like caraway seeds and peppercorns in a sterilized jar and pack everything in. If you don’t have an ideal way to weight the carrots down to stay under the brine (like a fermentation weight), just pack the jar extra full to keep the carrots submerged.
Cover the jar with a lid and leave it at room temperature a few days. Open the jar daily to release excess off-gases (or your jar could explode from excess pressure). Once the bubbling stops (between 5 – 10 days depending on room temperature) it can be stored in the fridge for at least 6 months (but it probably won’t last that long:)).
You can start taste testing around day 4, some people wait as long as 6 weeks. It’s totally up to your taste preference. The carrots will stay crispy, and develop into a tangy probiotic treat that even Kevin will eat.:)
Wash and sterilize a 1 quart jar.
Mix 4 cups dechlorinated water with 19 grams coarse sea salt (or other non-iodized salt).
I used 4 tsps. dry mustard powder, but if you have mustard seeds, add 1 tsp. of them to your fermenting jar instead!
Wash and cut about 6 carrots, enough to pack jar well.
To bottom of jar, add:
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. peppercorns
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
1/4 tsp. fennel seed
2 sprigs of fresh dill
Pack carrots over dill and seed mixture.
Add brine to cover carrots completely. Cover with a lid and leave at room temperature.
Open jar daily to release gases. When your Dilly Carrots stop bubbling (between 5 – 10 days depending on temperature), store in fridge until ready to eat. Carrots will last in fridge 6 months.
Marvel over the simple and yet wondrous fermentability of so many good things!