Carrots are one of my family’s go-to snacks. I love this post by Chris that shows me how to take an already powerhouse vegetable up a notch nutritionally. And to know that my loved ones have them in their lunchboxes gives me extra peace of mind.
Did you know that orange carrots weren’t the original carrot? The orange carrot was selectively bred in honor of William of Orange. Only recently have yellow, purple, and red carrots returned to popularity. This recipe for fermented carrots takes advantage of those colorful carrots from the garden or the grocery store. But be warned; the final product is uniformly orange.
Serve them like carrot sticks for a crunchy snack or appetizer. They are full of good probiotics and sweet taste. They aren’t drippy or messy like other fermented vegetables. They are a good choice for the lunchbox. And they are so quick to make. You can make a jar on Thursday and have it ready for lunch boxes on Monday morning. This makes it fit easily into your busy routine.
Note that the finished lacto-fermented carrots will be orange. The purple, yellow, and red colors of carrots are anthocyanin flavonoids that are pH sensitive. As the pH of the ferment drops, the carrots lose their red and purple colors. But they are still a powerhouse of healthy antioxidants and probiotics.
Fermented Carrots for school lunches
• 2 quart wide-mouth jars
• Wide mouth jar ring
• 3 lbs of fresh and colorful carrots
• 5 garlic cloves peeled
• 10 stems of fennel leaf or dill leaf
• 2 tbsp. of Himalayan salt
• 2 tbsp. of live probiotic juice from another vegetable ferment (optional)
• Make the brine – 2 tbsp. salt and 1 quart cold water
• Peel or scrub the carrots and cut into quarters so that they are the size of carrot sticks
• Peel the garlic cloves and place them in the bottom of the jar.
• Place the carrots upright in the jar on top of the garlic cloves. Pack them tightly but not so tightly that the brine can’t surround them.
• Add the fennel or dill leaves when the jar is full of carrot sticks. You’ll remove these once the ferment is completed.
• Pour the brine over the carrot sticks in the jar. Use a knife to dislodge any air bubbles and top up with more brine to within 1 inch of the neck of the jar.
• Add 2 tbsp. of liquid from a successful fermentation.
• Place the glass fermentation weight in the neck of the jar to hold down the carrot sticks. Place the gasket, steel lid, plug, and airlock on top the jar and secure with the jar ring. Fill the airlock half full with potable water. Place the whole jar on a plate to catch any overflow–just in case.
• Place the jar and the plate away from direct sunlight and heat. I keep mine on the dining room table, where I won’t forget about it.
How to tell if the ferment is working?
The ferment will begin to work within 12 to 24 hours. You’ll notice large bubbles rising in the brine when you gently tip the jar slightly. As the fermentation continues, these bubbles will get finer. Pressure will build up in the jar and the liquid in the jar will rise. It may overflow the jar, through the plug in the lid. This is normal. The plate should catch any overflow.
This is how you know that the ferment is working as it should.
The bubbles will stop after four days. The carrots will be tangy and crunchy, but not too sour. They are great with a dip, just like raw carrots at this stage.
Remove the glass weight, and fermentation lock. Replace the fermentation lid with a regular wide mouth lid. Store the jar in the fridge. You can start to eat them immediately.
The fermentation isn’t over yet, though. It will take 10 days to 4 weeks before the carrots are infused with their best flavor. During this time the garlic and fennel (or dill) will permeate the carrots and make them even tastier. The lactic acid will continue to infuse the carrots converting them into a probiotic powerhouse of good microbes to support your health and wellbeing.
Serve up your crunchy fermented carrots
Serve these any place you’d serve carrot sticks. Think of them as raw carrot sticks rather than a pickle and you’ll find lots of places to sneak these into lunches and after school snacks.
Fermentools has home fermenting kits of all sizes. Don’t get caught off guard. Get a 12-pack today and you will never run out of supplies.