Photo by Hayley Barisa Ryczek
When you think of fermented vegetables, you might think of sauerkraut. The truth is, with a little instruction, you can ferment many different types of vegetables for unique flavor plus a powerful probiotic boost.
Vegetables can typically be fermented in one of two ways:
Lactic acid fermentation is the method for self-brining fermentation. The recipe here for Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots begins with shredded or grated vegetables. Salt is added to the vegetables, and they are mashed, rubbed, pounded, or left as is to settle in with the salt. This allows the salt to pull the water and liquid from the vegetable. This liquid combines with the added salt forming the brine that then coats the vegetables. This forms an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment for the fermentation.
Saltwater brine is used in this method of fermentation. When you see a jar with pickles immersed in the liquid, this is an example of brined vegetable fermentation. The ratio for creating the brine is 1 quart (950 ml) water mixed with 2 tablespoons (30 g) salt. Seasonings are sometimes added to the brine.
Some vegetables work best with the brined method and others work better with self-brining. You could use either method with most vegetables though.
Leafy greens such as kale or cabbage brine best when grated or shredded first because large pieces may turn slimy. Carrots and other hard vegetables can be cut into larger pieces or grated, it depends on how you plan to serve the vegetable. Carrots (for example, Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots) are grated, and this dish can be added to a drink or tossed in with a salad.
Photo by Hayley Barisa Ryczek
Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots are a great starter recipe for learning to ferment vegetables. Carrots are naturally sweet and this is an ideal flavor to offset the sour, tangy, slightly acidic taste that is a natural flavor of the fermentation process. This can help you adjust to eating fermented vegetables. To shred the carrots, use the large holes on a box grater or a food processor. A rasp or other fine hand grater works great for the ginger.
Equipment You'll Need:
- Large mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Pounder (optional)
- 1 glass quart (950 ml) jar with lid
- Smaller jar to use as a weight
- 4 cups (440 g) shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) raw honey
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) sea salt
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) whey or brine from a vegetable ferment
- In a large bowl, mix together the carrots, ginger, orange zest, honey, salt, and whey.
- Mash or pound the ingredients together to release their natural juices.
- Place the ingredients in a quart-size (950 ml) jar and push down to make sure the juices cover the carrots and ginger, using the smaller jar filled with water or brine as a weight if needed. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) of room at the top of the jar. (This is important to avoid juicy runover!) Cover very tightly with the Mason jar lid and let ferment at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 3 days.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and store for up to several months.
YIELD: About 3 cups (330 g)
Reprinted with permission from Fermented Foods at Every Meal by Hayley Barisa Ryczek and published by Fair Winds Press, 2016.