Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots are one of the easiest ways to start eating fermented foods. The natural sweetness in carrots helps to mellow the acidity and tangy-sour flavor that occurs during the fermentation process, which helps people who are new to eating fermented vegetables really enjoy them.
Most of us are familiar with sauerkraut, kimchi, and cucumber pickles as forms of fermented vegetables. However, you can easily turn almost any vegetable into a delicious, probiotic-rich addition to your meals.
There are two major categories of vegetable ferments: Self-Brining Vegetables: Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots and Sauerkraut are the types of ferments that start with a grated or finely shredded vegetable. Salt is added, and the vegetable is pounded, rubbed, or left to sit in order for the salt to draw the moisture from the vegetable. The liquid present in the vegetable combines with the salt to create a brine that covers the vegetables. This provides the mostly anaerobic environment necessary for lactic acid fermentation.
Brined Vegetables: Think of a jar of pickles, with vegetables floating and bobbing in brine. These are the type of vegetable ferments that require a saltwater brine be made and then poured over the prepared vegetables and seasonings. A common brine ratio is 2 tablespoons coarse salt to 1 quart water.
Either method can work with most vegetables. Some vegetables, however, are better suited for one of these methods than the other. Cabbage and other leafy greens like kale do better when shredded or grated, as large pieces of leaf tend to get slimy. Likewise, a hard vegetable such as a carrot or beet retains its toothsome quality when cut into larger slices or pieces. Grating, on the other hand (as in Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots), produces something easily hidden as part of a salad or blended into a drink.
- 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 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 of room at the top of the jar (this is important to avoid juicy runover!).
- Cover with cheesecloth, secure with a string and let ferment at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 3 days.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and store for up to several months.