Fermented Carrots? Of course! They are a sweet and sour pickle that’s super crunchy and are a fantastic way to learn how to ferment. This recipe takes minutes (or less to prepare) and will last in your fridge for a year or more (but we can eat a quart/ liter in a week!)
This is our first month participating in the Canadian Food Experience Project which began June 7 2013. As more than 80 participants share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. This months theme is Preserving. You can see all of our posts in this series here.
It is ironic that I had difficulty choosing a post for this month’s theme of the Canadian Food Experience. The theme is Preserving : Our Canadian Food Tradition. Given that we write a lot about preserving, this would look like a topic that should be an easy post for us!
I normally wait for an experiment to finish before sharing it but have decided to share this one early for two reasons:
- By the time it completes it will be too late for others to try it and people may want to try it first.
- There is very little written online about it (that I have found) so I thought it would be a good chance to bounce it off the community and see if others have tried it.
Pineapple salsa is amazing; fermenting it is even better! If you haven’t fermented before, don’t fret – this is as easy as it comes!
It’s very rare that we feature a recipe with a main ingredient that isn’t locally sourced. I’m not opposed to buying imported food (we cook with lemons, limes, olive oil and I drink coffee); we’re just very selective in choosing items from far away.
We often get asked how to make pickles. Especially the kind of pickles you can buy in a deli or like your Granny used to make. The fermented(often thought of as ‘kosher’) kind. To make matters worse, people often want to know how to make pickles when cucumbers are in season and their houses are incredibly warm. If that’s the case with you, look no further!
It’s 4,000,000 (million) degrees celsius in our apartment. For our friends who measure temperature in the Imperial system, that’s approximately 3,756,432 degrees farenheit. Approximately.
It’s too hot to make salad. It’s almost too hot to make ice. I may curl up into the oven to cool down. But I’m not cooking.
This is why it’s an ideal time to make pickles. Fermented pickles to be exact. And, if you have a jar that’s big enough, you can make 2 liters (i.e. quarts) in less than 2 minutes of work. And you don’t even have to turn the stove.
I’ve meant to do this experiment for a few years and I’m glad I finally got around to making this hot sauce with fermented dried peppers. Any dried peppers would do but I specifically chose Morita peppers because they are smoke-dried. Known as the poor-mans chipotle, Morita’s are simply smoke-dried red jalapeno. If you don’t have access to them, don’t fret – any dried pepper will work in the fantastically easy recipe.
We’ve been fermenting a lot over the last month or so. It’s something that happens a lot in winter – fermenting is an ideal preservation method for hardy vegetables (like carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, turnip, rutabaga and other root vegetables) and it adds a lot of variety to our meals. Our fermenting has included a lot of fermentation and we’ve played with the ratio of salt to cabbage when making sauerkraut.
Fermented carrots? We’ve made a vinegar-based carrot pickle for years (it’s extremely spicy) that remains one of the more popular items in our pantry. This fermented version has no spice and contrasts the natural sweetness of the carrot with the sour of fermentation. The carrots also have great texture (much the same as a deli pickle retains it’s crunch). We will eat these as a snack, garnish, salad dressing or as part of a side dish for dinner.
People sometimes ask us when we have time to preserve; my answer sometimes surprises them. Making Sauerkraut can take less than 5 minutes (and some patience as it ferments) and is one of the easiest things you can possibly preserve. Sometimes I preserve because we don’t have a lot of time! Preserving does not need to be a lot of work or take a lot of effort.
When I scanned the fridge last night I realized that we had a third of a cabbage that was turning the corner from peak freshness to something less than usable. I considered making a soup or a stir fry but didn’t want to embark on a significant project. Transforming cabbage into kraut takes very little effort (although it takes time to ferment).
One of the most enjoyable aspects of fermenting food (as compared to other techniques, such as waterbath or pressure canning), is the freedom to be ultimately creative and to experiment in the kitchen.
My early experiments in fermenting were almost always either overly salty or under-fermented. I’ve learned that using 15-30 grams (approximately 0.5-1 ounce) of salt per 1 liter (1 quart) mason jar, is the right amount of salt for me and that regular tasting ensures success in fermenting. A ferment can quickly migrate from under-fermented to perfect and then to over-fermented in less than a day (depending on the temperature and what you’re fermenting).
I also love to cook with mirepoix – the classic French combination of onion, carrot and celery. It’s fantastic as a base for stir fry, sauces, soups and more. We found ourselves with an awesome bunch of onions, heirloom carrots and soup celery (its late harvest celery that’s very tough to eat but has an abundance of leaves that can be used like celery hearts). I couldn’t resist fermenting them together: