Fermented ginger carrots will knock your socks off!
It’s no secret that I love fermented foods (sauerkraut and kombucha being my favorites) because of their probiotic content, and lately I’ve started to expand my horizons. I went to a farmer’s market recently and saw a jar of fermented ginger carrots selling for something like $8! Off I went to the store to get a pound of carrots and some ginger to make my own.
This fermented ginger carrots recipe uses lacto-fermentation, a different method than is used to make kombucha. Essentially, the brine (salt water solution) that forms around the veggies is enough to discourage the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus while at the same time providing just the right conditions for Lactobacillus—the bacteria that cause the tart flavor of lactic acid as a byproduct—to grow.
Lacto-fermentation of ginger carrots—and any veggie really—requires that the veggies be completely submerged under the salty brine to give just the right anaerobic conditions. It’s possible to go whole-hog and buy fancy fermentation jars or huge crocks. (Can you say $$$?) If you’re just getting started, you may want to KISS and stick to this method for fermented ginger carrot which uses mason jars. They’re cheap and relatively easy to find.
This recipe easily doubles, triples, etc. If you don’t like ginger, you can leave it out. You can always thinly slice the carrots, but I prefer to shred them. The generally accepted ratio for vegetables to salt is 5 pounds veggies : 3 Tablespoons sea salt. I’ve adjusted that ratio down for this recipe.
Equipment Needed to Make Fermented Ginger Carrots
- 2 pint (16 oz) wide-mouth mason jars
- 2 small (4 oz) mason “jelly” jars
- Kitchen towel
Fermented Ginger Carrots
Fermented ginger carrots will knock your socks off! This recipe easily doubles or triples into larger batches.
- 1 pound carrots shredded
- 1-2 inch piece of ginger peeled and shredded or grated
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
Ingredients for extra brine
- 1 cup water
- 1 rounded teaspoon sea salt
- Ferment time: 7–14 days
- Shred the carrots and ginger in a food processor and dump into a large bowl.
- Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Mix thoroughly with your hands, squeezing the carrots as you go. You’re trying to extract a bit of the natural liquid by creating a concentrated salt solution around the carrots (it’s hypertonic…SCIENCE!). Let the carrots sit for 15 min before moving to the next step.
- Divide the carrots evenly between two pint-sized (16 oz) mason jars. Press the carrots down firmly until you’ve removed as much empty space as possible. There may be some natural carrot liquid at this point but not enough to cover the veggies.
- Place the small 4 oz jar on top of the carrots. Fill the remainder of the space with a little bit of the brine solution. The carrots should be completely submerged. Repeat with the other jar. Save extra brine in the fridge because you might need it during the fermentation process…you can always make more but this saves a step later.
- Cover the jars with cheesecloth, a piece of old t-shirt or a kitchen towel and place them in a bowl (I use paper bowl) or on a rimmed plate to catch any bubbling over.
- Place in a dark spot (like a pantry or cupboard) and check daily to make sure the water level has not dropped down to the carrots. If it has, pour a bit more brine on top.
- My carrots were to my sour liking after about a week, but I live in sunny Southern California. Check yours by removing a small sample after 5 days or so and eating it up! If it tastes tangy enough for you, it’s ready. It generally takes 7-14 days but varies with temperature.
- Store tightly covered in the fridge…it will last for a few months!
- My carrots are slimy. Bad bacteria have probably started to grow in your jar. Best to toss it out to be safe.
- My carrots have run out of liquid. If this was recent, within a day or two, top off with more brine solution. If it’s been several days, you may want to throw it out and start again.
- Help! My carrots are foaming! This is normal especially after the first couple days of fermentation because gases are being released by the bacteria and can cause bubbles or foam. You can skim the foam and keep on rockin’.
- I see white stuff at the bottom of the jar. Is this okay? Yes. These are the bacteria. It’s totally normal.
- Um, my carrots have greenish black mold on top. If you’re adventurous, you can skim it and keep going. This is how moldy ferment has been dealt with for ages (and I can tell you lots of stories about what they do with moldy cheese in the grocery store…haha). If you’re totally grossed out, just start over.
- It’s been a couple weeks and the carrots still aren’t sour or tangy. You may have them in too cold of a spot. Try putting them in a warmer location to speed up the process a bit.
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Awesome! I am sooo doing this, I love pickly type things. Question though, Step 4 says “Place the small 4 oz jar on top of the carrots.” You’re placing a jar in a jar? What does this mean?
Hi Ashley 🙂 In the photos in steps 4 and 5, you are using the little jar as a weight to hold the carrots down and make sure they stay submerged.
It is used to keep the veggies weighted down under the brine. It is an anaerobic process so you want to prevent any air to veggie contact.
I just got back from the farmers market down the road and the lady looked at me funny when I told her what I was going to do with the fresh carrots I bought. Can’t wait to try them out in a week!!
Hey Melissa…haha! I love those looks from folks. I can’t think of a better way to use the abundance of fresh veggies that we get at this time of the year.
That lady always does that to me too. But she’s really nice. I took her a sample of my sourkraut and she loved it.
I make fermented cucumber pickles (the only real kind, not those nasty bright-green vinegar things) and I always get that floating mold on top of the brine. I also carefully measure the concentration of the salt. For the cucumbers, skimming the mold is super-easy, but I’m afraid that it’d be hard for the carrots.
Maybe putting a 4-oz mason jar lid under the small jar to hold the carrots down while skimming the scum would work.
Next time the CSA box delivers too many carrots, I’ll give this a shot. I’ll probably add a Chile de Arbol to the brine for some zing.
Hi Larry…are you getting whitish, foamy scum or fuzzy mold? If you cover with enough brine and pack them down well, they should pretty much stay put.
Oooooh…chile de arbol…now we’re talking 🙂
Thanks for the video and the recipe! I can’t wait to try these!
Let me know how it turns out, Laura!
Thank you! for your recipe!! I can eat “non-heated and fresh” carrot everyday. I added ” orieantal lemon peel: Citrus junos ” and added Japanese flavor.
Hey, just wanted to know if I can add whey to the jar? if so, when is the best time to do that?
I’ve never added whey for fermentation, so I’d be purely speculating.
Yes you can add whey, try about a quarter cup per pint jar. Whey is the biproduct of yogurt and cheese making however there is hardley any dairy in it if strained tgrough a coffee filter.
I really should make these. I’m that person that just spent $7.99 buying a jar of ginger fermented carrots. They’re from a local company, and SO good. I’ve already gone through almost half of the jar, so this needs to be a must for me. 🙂
I had the same experience…bought them from the farmer’s market and then ate it so quickly I knew I had to make it myself! 🙂 Happy fermenting!
I have a suggestion for people who live in colder areas on fermentation times. I live on the Canadian prairies, (-40 is like normal… ugh!) so I have taken to fermenting my foods in the oven with the light left on. It isn’t like direct sunlight, so I have found it doesn’t harm your friendly little fermentation creatures, but instead it acts like a cozy incubator. If you worry about air flow, opening the door everyday will help to push in some air. I know for kefir this method works awesome for those cold winter months (literally cuts the time in half, maybe even more) so I don’t see why fermenting your veggies this way wouldn’t work, AND it keeps them semi protected. Give it a shot.
Great suggestion! Thank you so much for this!
Quick question….my carrots have been fermenting for about a week and a half now. Yesterday I checked on them and there were 3 small bugs in one of my jars. This didn’t happen when I made a batch of sauerkraut. Any suggestions???
Bugs? Are you keeping it covered?
Do you think this would be good if I add a few cloves of garlic too?
My carrots have been fermenting for 4 days. I tasted them today & they’re really slimy. Is this normal?
Thanks in advance.
I’d have to see a picture. Slimy isn’t normally how they should look / taste, even when fermented. They should be soft, not slimy. When in doubt, toss it out.
I’m guessing i shouldn’t put these in the same dark pantry as my water-kefir, right? :/
I don’t think it will make a difference! Why do you think it won’t work?
I’d be afraid it’d end up with kefir-bacterias instead of the ones that belong there…wouldn’t you think?
Ah, gotcha. I have to confess…I know nothing about kefir.
I have the same question as above, my carrots have been fermenting for about a week and they are really slimy and smell… medicinal, not tangy like sauerkraut ( Thx for your great & simple kraut recipe btw! 🙂 I am going to toss them out and try again. Any thoughts as to why the slimy happens? Thanks for your wonderful website!
The only thing I can think of is contamination! You can try rinsing your glassware with white vinegar before use and of course, always wash your hands. The other common issue is not using enough salt for the amount of water, resulting in a less saline environment that’s more hospitable to contaminants.
Question – is it possible to reduce the amount of salt going into the shredded carrots, (not the brine)? I just made this for the first time, and found them incredibly salty for my liking. I normally don’t like real salty foods to begin with, and am contemplating throwing this batch out and just starting over. Could you cut the salt to 1tsp and get the same, tangy results? Thanks!
No, it’s not. The salt creates an environment that’s inhospitable for bacteria and fungus to grow. Reducing the salt makes it more likely the carrots will get contaminated.
Hi there, I just made your recipe for your ginger carrots about 6 days ago. Tasting them today, I am wondering why the juice is SO syrupy. It’s really gooey and I’ve never experienced that with any other ferment. I am sort of new to fermenting. Wondering if that is a good/ok thing, or what?
I’ve never experienced that with carrots either. I’d probably ditch the batch just to be safe.
I made this for the first time and let them sit in a dark cupboard for 14 days and tasted them. They just taste like really salty shredded carrots. I have never fermented before so I’m not too sure what they are supposed to taste like. I assume I’m NOT supposed to rinse the carrots off before eating them, correct? Is this typically used as a garnish with a salad or something or do you usually eat it by itself?
You’d typically add a forkful to the meal you’re eating.
I’d bet $5 that you used iodized salt, which is a no-no because it kills off the good microorganisms that you’re trying to establish. Only use non-iodized salt.
Bob, if they taste like salty carrots, the bacteria did not do their thing. They should be nice and sour.
I love these carrots. I’m currently making more, as I devoured my first jar. Thank you for posting this recipe.
Awesome, Marilyn! Stoked you love em’.
I’m about 4 days in, and I (lazily), didn’t weight the carrots down with anything. They had enough liquid the first few days, and we’re smelling nice and fermenty, but I just checked them and something seems off. It looks kinda dry and frothy on top, and it now smells kinda boozy. Not totally unpleasant, but not like a normal veggie ferment. I put them in the fridge until I figure out what to do! Any advice?
I think the issue is in the submersion from what it sounds like. The carrots weren’t in the liquid long enough to adequately ferment. You can try adding more liquid but I’d keep an eye and nose on it to see if the odor and or color changes. If it still seems off then you may want to restart your batch.
Finally remembered to check mine after 8 days (whoops), and they tasted awesome!!! Very tangy like the store bought ones I’ve had before.
Yay! Sounds like they are just right 🙂 I saw you post them with your breakfast today 🙂
Hi there, do you think you could do this with radishes? Or do you have an idea for them? We have soooo many. Thanks!
Yes, you certainly can ferment radishes 🙂
It’s been 10 days and my carrots are only the slightest bit sour. Fermentation has been occurring but very slowly. The room temp has been averaging 75 degrees. Anyone thoughts?
Sometimes it takes longer and it’s okay to let them keep going.
Stick your carrot jars in a plastic container and place inside your oven with only the light on. This will help with the fermentation.
new to veggie / lacto fermentation but am a homebrewer of beer so not new to fermentation. I made a batch of the ginger carrots and was pleased with the results. .. not overly tangy or salty. was concerned since I have a hard time finding organic and used a bag of store bought pre-rinsed carrots… but they came out fine. I’m on my second jar. I also made a jar of cabbage/carrot/broccoli slaw that came out with a really neat sour in just under 2 wks. ive been adding around a 1/4 inch of olive oil to the top of the brine to act as a vapor barrier.. seems to work nicely. thanks for sharing this.
question: can you use frozen store bought bags of veggies or do you think they’ve been irradiated or full of pesticides?
Hi Steve…good to hear you’ve got some experience with fermentation 🙂
Frozen veggies, when thawed, can have textural changes that may not be suitable for fermentation. Read: you might end up with mush. When veggies are frozen, ice crystals puncture the plant cell walls and when thawed, they can get mushy. Given the length of time that you’ll need to let them ferment, I’m guessing the result won’t be great but if you’re game for an experiment, I don’t see why it would hurt to give it a shot.
Look for organic veggies. Not sure about irradiation though!
For all the people throwing away a lot of their attempts, it might be worth it to spend some money on a fermentation jar. All that produce would add up over time especially if it’s organic. Plus, how frustrating! Splurge on a jar and get perfect ferments every time. Also, if you do it correctly (truly anaerobic), it will be WAY healthier for you! Isn’t that why we do it?
I grated my carrots super fine (pretty much used a microplane) and they got syrupy, but taste fine… Kinda like a chutney. I was surprised they came out like that after only a few days, but I think it’s because they are so small and the natural sugars broke down quickly… Would that make sense? Do you think they are ok?
It’s likely that’s what happened!
Thank you!!! I feel better about feeding them to other people now 🙂
As long as they aren’t moldy or smell rotten you should be good to go!
Hello! I am about to try this recipe today, but I just noticed “ingredients for extra brine” is listed on the ingredients list. What are the “ingredients for extra brine”?? Your video mentions it is below but I don’t see it. Pls let me know! Thank you!!
Whitney, there was a : missing. The extra brine ingredients are right under that: 1 cup water, 1 rounded teaspoon sea salt.
Just made these and can’t wait to try it! Do you have a any idea of the potency of say 1/4 cup?
I’d say 1/4 cup would probably be a generous serving.
Do you drain the carrots after they are done? Do you keep all the water?
No, you need to keep all the salt water brine. If you don’t the carrots will go moldy and spoil. Keep the carrots submerged at all times even after fermentation is done and you’re keeping them in the fridge.
Awesome! Thanks for the info.
I made my first batch of these and the carrots are certainly tangy, but it is way too salty for my taste. I used coarse sea salt. Can they be rinsed to remove some saltiness?
You can rinse them, yes.
Do you think this would still turn out OK if i put the whole batch in one quart jar (instead of two pint jars)? Or is it better to make small batches?
Should be okay!
I made the carrots and fermented for a week then but teh jar in the fridge for 2 days when I opened it from the fridge it was fizzy like carbonated soda. Is this supposed to happen? Its my first time trying to ferment anything.
There will usually be some bubbling, yes 🙂
I’m assuming you meant 1- 2″ piece of ginger?
Yes thanks for catching that. It didn’t transfer over properly when we launched the new site. I’ve fixed it. 🙂
Question! I’ve been fermenting my carrots for about a week and was wondering about the salt. They are really salty (due to the brine and initial step) do you rinse the salt off? What is your preference? Thanks for your thoughts!
Hi Kristina…what kind of salt did you use?
Thanks for the recipe. I am excited to try it. I made this recipe and have two questions. My jar has been fermenting for about a week.
1. The carrots do not feel slimy, but the liquid does. Is this normal?
2. I tightly packed the carrots and used a glass weight but carrot shreds kept floating to the top. I removed them with a spoon and kept fermenting. Is this normal?
sometimes bits may float to the surface…that’s fine…you can remove and keep fermenting
Hi Steph, the recipe sounds great — just what I was looking for! Thank you for publishing it.
I’ve chosen to thinly slice my carrots into “coins” and I’ve shredded the ginger. Currently, I have a batch of sauerkraut going — one week ferment so far.
Question 1: Can I add a tablespoon of the juice from my kraut to inoculate the carrot brine? I have also placed a fresh & washed cabbage leaf over the top of the slices to hold them under the brine in addition to a sterilized jelly jar full of brine to weigh down the carrots. I then covered the jar with a coffee filter + rubberband to keep it in place. Q.: Should I switch to some other material that is more porous?
Also, you recommend the mason jar(s) sit in a dark spot. Q.: Is this recommendation to keep it from clouding or is there a concern about UV light and loss of nutrients?
Thank you for any help you can offer. I can hardly wait to try them!
Yes, you can add the juice to inoculate!
Potentially there could be some effect from UV.