Fermentation is easy, safe and good for you. This project is great to do with kids and it gets them eating vegetables and probiotics. Most importantly for cooks it unlocks a whole new range of flavors, many pickles taste of onenote vinegar, but each ferment is unique and deep in flavor. Any of the vegetables in season in fall can be lacto-fermented.
By / Photography By Enna Grazier | September 01, 2015

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons real sea salt (additives in some table salts can hinder fermentation)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 garlic Scape or 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small hot chili (fresh or dried)
  • 1 thin slice onion
  • A few herb sprigs of your choice (dill, oregano, and thyme are all great)
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled or scrubbed, cut into sticks if large
  • 1 thick outer cabbage leaf
  • One very clean, quart-sized, mason jar or crock.

Preparation

In a medium bowl, stir the salt into the water, dissolving to make a brine. Place garlic scape or garlic, chili (if using), onion slice, and herbs in the bottom of the mason jar. Fill the jar with carrots, standing them vertically to fit. Pour enough brine over the carrots to submerge them completely by at least ½-inch. Place cabbage leaf over the top of the carrots, tucking in the edges to keep it and the carrots submerged in brine. Add more brine if needed to keep everything submerged. This is very important to prevent rot. If the cabbage leaf isn’t doing the job, top it with any clean weight like a washed stone or small bowl. Cover jar and place in a cool dark place.

Allow to sit at room temperature for 7-10 days. During the first few days you will need to “burp” the jar to avoid exploding jars: once a day loosen the lid just a bit, until you hear some carbon dioxide hiss out, then close the lid again.

After 7 days, remove a carrot using a clean fork or tongs (not your fingers) and taste. It should be crunchy, slightly sour, salty and tangy. If the carrots are to your liking at this point you can refrigerate the jar to slow down the fermentation. If you want more sourness and funk allow to continue fermenting and taste daily until you find the sweet (sour) spot.

Tips – Make a double batch and put the two jars in different parts of your home; one warm place (faster) and one cool place (slower). As with most foods, the slower process will allow more flavors to develop. Experiment what speed works best for you.

Don’t toss that salty liquid. Use it in place of vinegar for a salad dressing, blend with fresh chilies to make your own hot sauce, or drink to stave off colds.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons real sea salt (additives in some table salts can hinder fermentation)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 garlic Scape or 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small hot chili (fresh or dried)
  • 1 thin slice onion
  • A few herb sprigs of your choice (dill, oregano, and thyme are all great)
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled or scrubbed, cut into sticks if large
  • 1 thick outer cabbage leaf
  • One very clean, quart-sized, mason jar or crock.
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