I am a big of fan of these Pickled Carrots with Garlic because they are so simple to make and are incredibly tasty. Be careful, though...they can come with some major garlic breath, which is totally worth it! These are nice to make in the winter time, when there are not many other local foods available.
When I call these "pickled," I mean that they are lacto-fermented, so the pickling process happens through adding a starter and letting them ferment to develop their tangy flavor; no vinegar is used at all in making these. I will often demonstrate these when I am teaching Fermentation 101 classes, as they are easy to put together and are a great introduction into making your own lacto-fermented vegetables at home.
These carrots are a perfect snack food, as they lend themselves to snacking as a nice junk food alternative. They also work well as a condiment or side dish to any meal, especially if you are trying to get more fermented food into your diet. I love that fermented foods can taste so good and be so beneficial for your digestive health!
This recipe is so simple to make, and once it's all put together, you can just leave it to do its thing until it is ready. I use liquid whey to lacto-ferment these carrots, which I get by straining full-fat plain yogurt through a strainer lined with a tea towel. The liquid that drains through is whey (very different from whey protein powder, obviously), which is full of lactic acid producing bacteria, making it a great starter culture for a wide variety of vegetable ferments. I like to use whey when I am fermenting with a brine (as in this recipe), but not when I am making something like sauerkraut that makes its own juices. I find those don't need any extra starter added. If you are dairy-free, you can still make this recipe, just omit the whey and allow your carrots to ferment for a few extra days. You could also use other cultures to act as a starter for a dairy-free version, such as a splash of sauerkraut brine.
If you aren't a garlic fan or just want to change it up, you can use ginger instead, described in the alternate recipe below. Those are great on a salad or inside some homemade sushi rolls!
Pickled Carrots with Garlic
Makes ~2 quarts
1- 1 1/2 lb carrots, cut into sticks or coins
12 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 Tbs sea salt, to taste
4 Tbs liquid whey (optional)--use liquid from strained yogurt as described above
Place carrots and garlic in a half gallon jar, or divide into 2 quart jars. I like to put the carrot sticks in the jar vertically so it looks nice and it also fits more in the jar.
Add salt and whey or other starter culture. Fill jar with filtered water, leaving about 1-2” headspace. The carrots should all be submerged in the liquid. I like to place a glass fermenting weight (I use Pickle Pebbles) on top of the vegetables to ensure they stay submerged, which prevents mold and yeast from forming on the surface.
Place a lid on jar (I typically use the plastic lids for Mason jars) and let sit about 1 week to ferment. Taste them at around day 3, and then gauge how "done" they are. If you like them as is, you can use them at day 3. If you go for a more tangy, fermented flavor, let sit a few more days up to a week or so.
Burp the jar by opening the lid slightly, and screwing back on loosely, every few days to let out gas buildup and check for surface mold or yeast.
Refrigerate when they are done fermenting. These will keep in the refrigerator for several months.
Pickled Ginger Carrots
Substitute 3-4" fresh ginger, chopped, for the garlic.
Follow the rest of the directions as written.
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Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.