I realised something the other day: I’ve fermented so many different beverages, and fermented lots of different vegetables, but I’ve never fermented any vegetables in brine. This is the method where you chop vegetables up into large chunks or leave whole, then add brine to cover. I am very surprised I have never used this method before , as it’s a lot easier to do than sauerkraut.
Today I am going to show you how I made my first batch. I decided to try a recipe from Shockey and Shockey’s excellent book, Fermented Vegetables. So, today I’ll be outlining how I made their recipe, Fermented Carrot Sticks.
5 medium carrots, around 1 kg, though the recipe called for around 2 pounds, which is about 900 g.
The recipe called for brine made with 1 gallon, non-chlorinated water and 1/2 cup of salt. I made 1/4 of that amount, as I didn’t feel I’d need that much given the size of the jar I used.
I used a 2 quart jar with an airlock system. It isn’t necessary to use an airlock system. Instead, use something as a follower, perhaps a vine leaf, then loosely place a lid on your jar, and cover with a cloth.
Before you start cutting your carrots, make your brine by dissolving the salt in water. This recipe calls for non-chlorinated water, as chlorine is inimical to the lactic acid producing good bacteria that ferments the carrots. I use a water filter, but if you don’t have one, then it is necessary to use still, natural mineral water, as just boiling the water will not remove the chlorine.
First, wash your carrots, and cut off ends. Then cut your carrots into sticks. I cut mine into around 15 cm long, and less than one cm wide sticks. Then, place your cut carrots into your jar.
Next, pour the brine into your jar, making sure that your brine covers the carrots. Store any leftover brine in the fridge for a week, in case you need to top up the brine. When I made mine, I didn’t need to, so I threw it out after a week, as that’s how long it keeps. The master brine fermenting section of Fermented Vegetables said to place a vine leaf on the top, loosely place the lid, then cover with a cloth. But, as I used an airlock system, I placed glass weights on top of my carrots to ensure that they stayed securely under the brine.
The recipe said to leave to ferment for between 7 and 14 days. It said the brine would go cloudy, and the carrots would taste pleasantly sour. I started tasting the carrots on day 7, though they weren’t ready to stop fermenting until the 14 day mark.
As you can see, after 14 days the brine has gone cloudy. So, consequently, as the carrots also tasted sour enough to my palate, I transferred them to another glass jar for storage in the fridge. Please remember, always keep your completed fermented vegetables in glass jars, as the lactic acid in the brine could eat away plastic, and remember the fermentista’s mantra: submerge in brine, and all will be fine.
Well, I hope I have demonstrated how simple and easy it is to ferment vegetables in brine. As I said before, I’m really surprised I haven’t fermented lots of different veggies this way, as this is probably the easiest way to ferment them, especially if you’re a beginner.
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