Fermenting has played an important role in preserving foods for 1000s of years. Nearly every traditional culture included at least one fermented food regularly in their diet – this was mostly done to preserve foods when they were in abundance.
This week at Magic Meadows Debbie has gotten a hold of an abundance of organic carrots. To help support our local farmers - get down and grab yourself a few kilos of carrots to ferment. Debbie is selling them for $2/kg. A deal like this doesn’t come around too often and its the perfect excuse to get some fermenting happening at home.
Carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to ferment and a great place to start if you are new to fermenting. They are ready to consume within a week, easy to eat and in my experience most kids love them.
The process by which your everyday carrot is converted into a fermented carrot is called lacto-fermentation. We create an ideal environment for the lactic acid bacteria, which live naturally on the carrots to thrive, so they can ferment starches, sugars and minerals in the carrot primarily to lactic acid, or to lactic acid, CO2 and ethanol.
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) can live in both oxygen rich and deprived environments, however they are the happiest in the absence of oxygen. As they grow in strength and number they ferment the carrots which become rich in a diverse range of probiotics.
So how do we create an ideal environment for our little LAB buddies to thrive?
We submerge our carrots in brine, put them in a dark cool place (preferably around 22 degrees Celsius), then leave them be to eat to their hearts content, party hard and multiply.
SO get down to Magic Meadows this weekend with a few bags or boxes and get some organic carrots.
Magic Meadows is open Friday from 2pm
Saturday from 8am-2pm
144 Emmersons road
Lovely Banks, Victoria, Australia
Below is a basic recipe for fermented carrot sticks….
You will need:
A jar (preferably a suitable fermenting jar)
Enough carrots to fill the jar
Salt (20g per litre of water)
Herbs (dill & garlic or ginger, turmeric & pepper are two of my favourite combinations)
1. Make a 2% brine mix by dissolving 20g of iodine free salt in one litre of water
you may need a small amount of boiling water to help dissolve, but ensure it is cool before adding to the carrots as heat will kill our bacterial friends.
2. Cut you carrots into sticks
3. Add carrots to your jar
4. Add herbs of choice
5. Pour enough brine over the carrots to hold them in place
6. Scrunch up about 20-30cm of baking paper and place on top of the carrots to hold them under the brine
This is important as any carrots above the brine line will be exposed to oxygen and insufficient salt to ward off the growth of the WRONG types of bacteria
Your Lacto-fermented carrots will be ready to eat once the brine starts to turn cloudy - usually around 5-7 days. You can leave them to ferment longer, just put them in the fridge after 6 weeks.
Refrigerate after opening and always use clean utensils.