Spicy Fermented Carrots & Ginger (3 ways!)

As a Registered Dietitian, I’m excited to share with you a recipe for fermented carrots & ginger. These tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet vegetables not only tantalize your taste buds but also pack a nutritional punch.

Fermentation, an ancient method of preserving food, is the only way to preserve food that actually enhances the bioavailability of nutrients and introduces beneficial probiotics that overtime may help improve your gut health. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the science behind fermentation, explore the specific health benefits of ginger and carrots, and provide you with a simple guide to fermenting your own carrots & ginger at home so you can support your gut health and add a zesty crunch to your life!

Shredded and chopped fermented carrots & ginger

How do you ferment ginger & carrots?

All fermentation is very similar, and simple. 

  1. Frist, prep your space/counters, clean jars and utensils etc.
  2. Now decide whether you want to shred or chop your produce; and get going! See “do I need to peel carrots?” below.
  3. Add the carrots and ginger to a large glass bowl (metal may react). 
  4. Once all the veggies are ready, sprinkle and massage the salt and let sit for 15 minutes or so. The salt will break down the cell walls and pull out the available water, cool huh?
  5. Funnel the produce into the glass jar and press down as you add. You can use a pickle packer, or wooden spoon or rolling pin. Goal here is to help create brine with pressure.
  6. Wipe the jar and mouth of the jar clean, place a weight on the carrots and firmly press down. If there is not enough brine to keep the carrots covered, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until they are fully submerged. Be sure the sides of the jar are scraped down.
  7. Screw the lid on finger tight, label with a sticky or dry erase marker the date you packed. 
  8. After 3 days you can begin tasting.
    1. If you cut carrots into rounds or sticks (which are bigger), the fermentation time will be longer. I think you’ll be satisfied around day 7-10. 
    2. If you decide to shred or ribbon your carrots (into smaller/thinner pieces), the fermentation should be only about 5-7 days.
  9. When the pH is less than 4.6, and you’re pleased with the flavor, enjoy! 

Note: Select the jar based on the carrot size/shape

  • Select a narrow, pint jar for shreds and ribbons. Narrow jars allow you to really press down and create the much needed brine to cover your veggies.
  • Choose a quart jar for coins and sticks. You won’t lose any volume chopping carrots, so choose a larger, quart sized jar.

Equipment

Tools you’ll need

  • Glass jars; including ball jars, Wecks jars, latch jars, old pickle jars 🙂 Just make sure they’re clean
  • Fermentation weight; my fav. on the cheap is a brined filled plastic bag, but you can also get these mason top glass weights which work well for wide mouth jars.
  • Chefs knife, or veggie peeler to ribbon carrots
  • Glass bowl, measuring spoon
  • Optional, but useful: pickle packer, funnel (narrow and wide mouth)

Are fermented carrots good for you?

Yes, fermented carrots can benefit your health on many levels. Here’s how:

  1. Fermentation contains probiotics that can influence your gut microbiome. 
  2. Leaving the peels on carrots also introduces the prebiotic, rhamnogalacturonan I (cRG-I), which increases short chain fatty acid production that improves the integrity of the gut lining, among other benefits. 
  3. Plus, carrots contain a Vitamin A precursor that may reduce the risk of cancer, among other benefits. 
  4. Lastly, the nutrients are easier for your body to digest because those microbes have already started the job for you! 

Is fermented ginger healthy?

Yes, fermentation is the only method of preservation that actually improves the nutrient bioavailability of foods. Fresh ginger is well studied to help with nausea and intestinal motility, and may help with other things like inflammation. 

Fermentation makes active compounds, like gingerol, easier to utilize. Plus there’s the added benefit of probiotics!

What happened to my fermented carrots, they’re slimy?

It’s likely that they were contaminated, either an unclean jar, utensils, food or hands. After about 5-7 days you should have a nice and tangy jar of shredded, fermented carrots. Nothing slimy about them. 

If your ferment feels off in any way (trust your gut), then throw out the batch and restart. You can also test the pH to ensure it’s below 4.6, which is a safe pH to kill clostridium and other common food borne pathogens. 

What’s the white-ish film on top of my carrots?

This may be kahm yeast, it’s a yeast that is generally safe but degrades the quality of the ferment. You can scrape it off if you’re comfortable, or restart your fermentation. To avoid this next time try to limit the amount of headspace (oxygen) in your jar.

Can I cut my carrots differently, instead of shredding them?

Yes! Carrots are a favorite grab and go veggie in our home, so absolutely experiment with your favorite variety; coins, shreds, sticks, ribbons… just remember the larger the piece, the longer the fermentation time, and the ginger may not “take” quite as much to those larger sticks. 

Should I peel my carrots?

Short answer is no. Carrots have a thinner skin than other root veggies (like potatoes) so there’s no need for the extra work. The longer answer is, maybe, it depends…

If your carrots are BIG or older, I suggest you peel them because older, thicker skins tend to be more bitter. Of note, carrots both conventionally and organically raised tend to be low in pesticides.

Do I need a starter culture?

No. I’ve fermented carrots several times, in all different cuts and never required a starter culture. But, a starter doesn’t hurt your situation either, it’ll just speed up the fermentation process. This article explains really well when to use, and not use a starter culture.

Ideas to help you eat your fermented carrots & ginger

Fermented carrots & ginger are not only tasty, but also a versatile ingredient that can enhance various dishes with their unique flavor. Here’s some ideas on how to use your fermented ginger carrots. 

  • Add them to a salad, this is one of my favorite ways to use my fermented veggies
  • Add them to wraps, sandwiches and other handhelds
  • Easy side dish, or garnish
  • Add them to grain bowls
  • Add them to sushi wraps, yum!

Of note, if you heat them above ~ 110 degrees or so (like adding them to a stir fry), you will kill the probiotics, though studies show that even a dead probiotic may provide healthy benefits. So if this method helps you eat more probiotics, go for it, just be informed! 🙂

Shredded Fermented Carrots & Ginger

Spicy Fermented Carrots & Ginger

Fermented carrots and ginger is a tangy, probiotic-rich side dish made by lacto-fermenting fresh carrots and ginger in a salt brine. This simple, healthy condiment is packed with beneficial bacteria, promoting gut health and adding a zesty kick to various dishes.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grab & Go, Harvest, Quick, Summertime
Allergen: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Fermentation Time: 5 days
Total Time: 5 days 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 16kcal

Equipment

  • Chefs Knife
  • Veggie peeler, or box grater, only necessary to ribbon or shred
  • Medium glass bowl
  • Clean fermenting jar
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Pickle packer, optional
  • Funnel, narrow and wide mouth jar, optional
  • Fermentation weight

Ingredients

  • 3-4 large Carrots, shred, ribbon, coin or chop into sticks
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 2 tsp salt, non iodized
  • 1/2 cup water, non chlorinated, such as well or RO water

Instructions

Shredded/Ribboned Carrots

  • Begin by washing your carrots, then ribbon or grate with a box grater.
  • Place the shredded carrots (about 2 cups) into a glass bowl and sprinkle with salt and massage. Combine with ginger. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Then Funnel into the fermenting jar (pint sized) and press down with a pickle packer or wooden rolling pin/spoon.
  • If you cannot create enough brine to cover the veggies, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until all the veggies are submerged in brine.
  • Cover with a fermentation weight. Let sit in a cool, dry space, out of direct sun for 5-7 days, or until the pH is less than 4.6 and the taste is desirable.

Coined/Stick Carrots

  • Begin by washing your carrots and chop into 1/2 diameter sticks about 5" long or 1/2" thick coins (about 2 cups).
  • Place directly into a quart sized fermenting jar. Add the grated ginger.
  • In a measuring cup, measure 1/2 cup water and dissolve the salt. Pour over the carrots.
  • If this isn't enough brine to cover the veggies, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until all the veggies are submerged in brine.
  • Cover with a fermentation weight. Let sit in a cool, dry space, out of direct sun for 5-7 days, or until the pH is less than 4.6 and the taste is desirable.

Notes

  • No need to peel the carrots, see blog post for more details. 
  • If you choose to shred/ribbon the carrots 2 cups will turn into less than one cup after being massaged and pressed down. A pint size jar will work. 
  • If you choose to chop your carrots, start with 1/2 cup water then increase by 1 tbsp at a time to ensure the veggies are completely submerged in brine. 

Nutrition

Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 801mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 6.014IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating