“I’m hungry, “ whined my three-year old.
“Well, what would you like to eat?”, I asked her.
“A carrot,” she declared.
So I made to fetch a carrot from the fridge.
“NO!” she blurted. “I want a FERMENTED carrot. A PURPLE fermented carrot.”
I was torn between pride in her culinary choices, and the feeling that perhaps I had created a foodie monster. As it happened, we had eaten the last of our fermented carrots several days ago. (We sometimes do ferment the brightly colored bunches of carrots we get from the farmer’s market, yellow, red, orange, and yes, purple.)
Luckily, fermented carrots are among the easiest fermented foods to make. We dragged a chair over to the sink, so she could help wash the carrots. I cut off the tops, sliced the carrots into thin sticks, for faster fermentation, and packed them into the jar. I poured a salty brine over them, a heaping tablespoon of sea salt, dissolved in a pint of water. She watched hungrily as I tightened the ring down on our jar top fermenter. “They’ll be ready in a week, dear,” I told her. “You’ll have to eat raw carrots until then.”
“I will just wait, “ she declared. And satisfied, she climbed down from the counter.
Although any carrots may be used for this recipe, fresh carrots with the green tops still attached tend to be the sweetest and the most crisp. The texture and flavor of the carrot shines through, even after they are transformed by the action of fermentation.
Scrub and wash the carrots. If you like, you may peel them, but often, just a nice scrubbing will do, assuming the carrots are organic. (Always peel produce that is not organic before fermenting.)
Slender carrots my be fermented whole; thick carrots are best sliced into lengthwise quarters.
Pack the carrots into a large mason jar. Here, we used a Ball Pint-and-a-Half. Be sure to leave space at the top of the jar for a weight or press, to keep the carrots submerged beneath the brine; cut the tops of the carrots to fit, if necessary.
Dissolve 1 heaping tablespoon of sea salt in a pint of cool, unchlorinated water. Pour the brine over the carrots. (Use this basic formula to scale up for any size batch you are making.)
Secure the lid and the jar-top fermenter, if using.
Let the carrots ferment in a cool, dark place for a week or more. Longer fermentation times will give a more sour pickled carrot.
Screw on a lid and store in the fridge when they have reached the desired flavor. They will keep there for up to 1 month if they last!
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