Giving a child, or yourself, a fermented carrot stick to snack on is so many levels up on a regular carrot in flavour, and of course in nutritional value. Just like I promised, this is fast slow food ready to grab and eat at any time. All the preparation is done before. Just peel and cut the carrots into rounds or sticks, depending on how you’d like to snack on them. I like rounds because they are bite-sized and perfect for munching on while I’m at the computer or watching TV. Sticks are great for dipping and also to give the kids to take with them as an on-the-run snack – often in the car. The brine ratio should be roughly 3%.
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Fermentation time: 1 week
Equipment: 1 L (34 fl oz) jar, follower, weight
- your favourite flavour combination (optional; see note)
- 300g (10 ½ oz) carrots (or enough to fill your jar), peeled and chopped
- about 2-3 tablespoons fine salt
- 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) water (or enough to cover your carrots)
- Add your favourite flavour combination to the jar if you wish. Fill the jar with the carrots.
- Make a brine with the salt and water and pour over the carrots, using as much as you need to cover them completely.
- Follow and weigh them down and seal the jar.
- They are ready to eat when you think they are delicious (about a week). When you’ve decided they are sour enough, pop them into the fridge for safekeeping. They’ll last for months like that.
- My favourite flavour combination with carrots is 1-2 garlic cloves; 1 dill stalk or some fennel; and 5 black and red peppercorns.
- Flavours: adding spice is easy and completely up to you, but try to stick to three flavours that generally go together. Don't crush your spices – keep them whole to limit mould. If you want to use herbs like coriander or parsley, use the root or stem part that holds all the flavour – the leaves can get soggy or slimy. The amounts depend of the jar size, but it's better to be subtle than overbearing. A think slice of lemon zest is always lovely. Here are some of my favourite combinations:
- garlic, chilli and black pepper
- dill, mustard seeds and garlic
- lemon zest, garlic and chilli
- lemongrass, coriander seeds and chilli
- mustard seeds, chopped shallot and a sprig of thyme or tarragon
- dill and parsley root, fennel seeds and orange zest
- turmeric, pepper and chilli
- ginger, coriander seed or root and garlic
- celery seeds, caraway seeds, juniper berries and garlic
- star anise, bay leaf and pepper
This is an edited extract from Ferment For Good by Sharon Flynn, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $39.99. Now available to purchase in-store at Harris Farm Markets.
Photography: ©Tara Pearce