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Monday, November 12, 2012

Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots

Fermenting has so many benefits! Incredible probiotic. Enhances digestibility. Promotes healthy gut flora. Increases vitamin content. Great method of preservation. And if you've never tried any, you might be surprised how tasty fermented foods can be!

From Nourishing Traditions (p. 95), this recipe is prefaced: These are the best introduction to lacto-fermented vegetables we know; the taste is delicious; and the sweetness of the carrots neutralizes the acidity that some people find disagreeable when they are first introduced to lacto-fermented vegetables. Ginger carrots go well with rich foods and spicy meats.  So here's to aid in the digestion of Melissa's delicious Spicy Meatloaf from last week.



Ginger Carrots
Makes 1 quart

4 cups grated carrots, tightly packed
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)

In a bowl, mix all ingredients and pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices cover the carrots. The top of the carrots should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.



They were a hit at our place tonight!


11 comments:

  1. I love that book, and yet still haven't tried this recipe yet. I got hooked on the kimchi, and some lacto-fermented drink recipes, and haven't made it past. ha ha :) These do sound delicious!

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  2. Okay. You've convinced me finally to ferment something. This seems like a good enough place to start. I sound really serious with all of these periods. But my browser won't let me do an exclamation point.

    Would you please detail how the results will differ if why is or is not used?

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  3. Okay. You've convinced me finally to ferment something. This seems like a good enough place to start. I sound really serious with all of these periods. But my browser won't let me do an exclamation point.

    Would you please detail how the results will differ if why is or is not used?

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    1. I guess posting your comment twice makes up for your lack of exclamation points. ;)

      In the intro section to Fermented Fruits and Vegetables, Sally Fallon writes: "Salt inhibits putrefying bacteria for several days until enough lactic acid is produced to preserve the vegetables for many months. The amount of salt can be reduced or even eliminated if whey is added to the pickling solution. Rich in lactic acid and lactic acid-producing bacteria, whey [supplies lactobacilli and] acts as an inoculant, reducing the time needed for sufficient lactic acid to be produced to ensure preservation. Use of whey will result in consistently successful pickling; it is essential for pickling fruits."

      Another super resource for fermenting, by the way, is Sandor Katz's "Wild Fermentation." It's great.

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  4. Nonie, I recently had a friend tell me she read online somewhere that it's actually detrimental to use whey when fermenting. The author states that it introduces microbes that shouldn't appear until the end of the process, thus skipping important nutritional steps on the way to fermentation. It's been troubling the back of my mind ever since. I believe the use of whey is historical, is it not? I don't have Wild Fermentation (I think that is what the book is called), and you have been fermenting much longer than I -- I was wondering what you think about this? And also what your studies have taught you.

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    1. Hmmmm. "Wild Fermentation" doesn't call for whey in most recipes. He does say you can use it, however, and recommends the recipes in Nourishing Traditions to try it out. I can't say whether it was SF's idea to put it in her recipes or if she pulled it from some traditional use out there. I don't know enough about the "steps on the way to fermentation" to understand why adding whey would be detrimental. Guess I'll have to read more about that!

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  5. Based on what I've read in the last hour or two, when it comes to fermenting vegetables, the "real thing" seems to be without the use of whey. That being said, I wouldn't call it's addition either detrimental or untraditional. The jury's out. Bottom line: try it lots of ways, and trust your taste!

    This might be the post your friend read, Melissa: http://www.picklemetoo.com/2012/07/26/no-whey-no-way/

    She makes some good points. I was fascinated by her post on the steps of lacto-fermentation (http://www.pickl-it.com/faq/148/process-microbial-lacto-fermentation/). In that first post, however, she links to a post by another blogger speculating that whey provides an unnatural type of bacteria to the ferment. I found this post flawed on several levels. She said using whey didn't work for her, but she used whey skimmed off the top of a pasteurized commercial yogurt (remember that the probiotics in these yogurts are artificially added post-pasteurization). That stuff's not gonna touch the biodiversity of raw milk whey from grass-few animals! I'm not convinced by several points in her reasoning. You'll have to read it for yourself. Also, she discredits herself (in my opinion) when she says that the recipes in NT never turn out for her. Has she tried the same ones I have? I have occasionally run across one that leaves a question mark, but the vast majority that I've tried are not only wholesome but seriously delicious!

    Apparently, the use of whey in vegetable ferments was traditional in some of northern Europe (who were high "dairying" cultures anyway). Most others seem to ferment without it.

    Some people state that they prefer not to use whey because the outcome is better without it. I used raw milk whey in these carrots, and I thought they were good: more complex flavor than regular carrots, very crisp, and with a hint of zing. I should try them without whey and see how it differs.

    Wardeh from Gnowfglins does a lot of fermenting and has an eCourse on lacto-fermentation. My bet is that she does use whey, but she might have something interesting to say about all this.

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    1. Thanks for all your research, Nonie!!

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  6. served cold? like pickles out of the jar? or warmed? Or did they taste more like carrot sticks? What was the taste and texture like?

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    1. I just went to the fridge to taste them again, and the boys scrambled over for some bites with cries of "Mmmm, ginger carrots!" and "Mmmm, these are good!" (I was so pleased.) When I asked them what they tasted like, Sammy said "lemons" and Daniel said "ginger carrots." Then they both decided on guavas. Does that help? ;)

      I'd say: complex, a little bubbly, somewhere between sour and sweet. Of course, you have the ginger in there, too. The texture is crunchy like carrots. We serve them cold. I guess you could warm them, but not too hot, as the life in the ferment is temperature sensitive.

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  7. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many peppers did Peter Piper pick? How many peppers did Peter Piper pickle? Ummm pickled peppers.

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