Adrienne Gajownik


Fabulous Fermentation Week: ginger carrots

Fermented foods, such as kimchi or sauerkraut, are superfoods. Why you ask? Well, fermentation preserves nutrients, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria (a.k.a lactobacilli) and stimulates enzymes which aid digestion. When the talented ladies, Elenore of Earthsprout and Sarah of My New Roots, asked me to participate in Fabulous Fermentation week, I said absolutely.
There are a few methods to making fermented foods: pressed, brine, and paste.  I use the pressed method, which means I squeezed the ingredients until they released a lot of liquid. I put the ingredients into a clean mason jar and pressed down with a weight.

Whey is commonly used to supply an extra dose of good bacteria to ensure a successful fermentation. To make your own whey, simply strain plain whole fat yogurt and save the liquid. I didn't have any yogurt on the day I prepared this, so I increased the amount of sea salt instead. Salt helps draw the liquid out of the food. It's also used to preserve the food until lactic acid has formed. Lactic acid is a natural preservative. The starches and sugars in fruits and vegetables are converted into lactic acid by healthy bacteria. Lactic acid is what gives fermented foods their tangy flavor.
Read more detail here about the benefits of eating fermented food. Eat the ginger carrots plain, stuff inside dumplings or enjoy with your favorite noodle bowl.

Fermented ginger carrots
Makes about a pint
3 c grated carrots
1 c grated turnip
2 tbsp red onion or spring onion, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, whole
1.75 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 sandwich sized ziplock bag

Put all ingredients into a large bowl. Massage the ingredients so that they release liquid. You want them to release a lot of liquid, so massage for at least 10-15 minutes. Put ingredients into a sterilized mason jar and press down so the liquid covers the ingredients.

Fill the ziplock bag with water and seal. Put the ziplock bag filled with water into the mason jar (which acts as a weight) to keep the ingredients submerged. Screw on the lid, and leave on your countertop for 3 days. Then move to the refrigerator to store for up to a month.

Don't fret if you see some little white spots, you can skim that off the top. If you spy pink scum or sliminess, discard.

And if you'd like to know what that noodle salad is, come by later this week to get the recipe.