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This recipe uses a process called lacto-fermentation: Vegetables are salted or submerged in a saltwater brine in order to create a condition where lactobacillus organisms convert lactose and other sugars into lactic acid. The result? A tangy and delightfully acidic living condiment. A kitchen scale is a helpful tool for getting the salt-to-vegetable ratio just right.
To learn more about fermentation, check out The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz (on Amazon).
- 1 bunch heirloom carrots
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Spring water
- Use a food processor with shredder attachment or cheese grater to shred the carrots. Or you can simply cut the carrots into sticks.
- Transfer shredded carrots to a bowl on a zeroed-out scale to get a sense of their weight. For this use a dry salting technique, multiply the weight of the carrots in grams by 0.025 to calculate a 2.5 percent ratio for salt. My carrots weighed 615 grams, multiplied by 0.025 was 15.375. I used an online gram-to-teaspoon converter and came back with 2½ teaspoons of salt. If using chopped carrots, no weighing is necessary: Create a brine with a ratio of 1 tablespoon salt to 2 cups of water.
- If using shredded carrots, sprinkle with the appropriate amount of salt and then use your hands to squeeze the shreds. You want to release as much juice as possible.
- Pack the shredded carrots and their juice tightly into a clean glass jar. If carrots are not completely submerged in their own liquid, top with a bit of springwater. If using cut carrots, pack into a jar and top with the saltwater solution.
- Seal tightly and leave to ferment for 2 to 5 days away from direct sunlight. The fermentation process will release gas and bubbles, so it is wise to quickly pop open the lid once a day to “burp” your ferments. You’ll know they’re ready when they are bubbly and more tangy than salty in flavor. At this point they can be moved to the fridge and enjoyed with everything. If any mold accumulates at the top of the jar, simply scrape it off.
Waste not! Use this technique to ferment anything in the fridge that looks like it might be going bad, and give it a second chance at life!