Lacto-Fermented Carrots

This lacto-fermented carrot recipe is a yearly go-to in our kitchen. It can be whipped up in very little time and is a family favorite with the adults and kids in the Fagan house. The carrots stay crispy, can be as tangy as you wish, all while giving your body the fermented bacterial goodness that we all need during this crazy health crisis. And the best part: It’s incredibly cheap to make!

This year I planted Dragon and Scarlet Nantes carrots in the garden and both varieties seem to work great in this particular ferment. But in all honesty, I have never had a carrot that did not work great in this recipe, so any fresh carrots will do!

Making of a Home Lacto-Fermented Carrots

1 pound fresh carrots

4 garlic cloves

2 cups of warm water

2 tablespoons sea salt (be sure your salt contains no added fillers or anti-caking agents)

1 cabbage or collard green leaf

1 glass quart-sized canning jar

Peel your garlic cloves and place them in the bottom of your jar. Next, place your trimmed carrots vertically in the glass jar, nestling them in there nice and snug. Continue to pack your jar until you have an inch of headspace remaining.

Mix together your warm water and salt until the salt is dissolved. Then pour this mixture over the top of your carrots and garlic.

Finally, take your cabbage or collard leaf and tuck it into the jar, helping to keep all of those cute little carrot tops submerged under the brine mixture. Tightly cap your jar.

Allow your jar to sit on your counter at room temperature to ferment for 6 – 10 days, depending upon how tangy you would like your ferment to taste. ***In the beginning stages of fermentation (the first 2-3 days), you will have to “burp” your jars to allow some of the carbon dioxide to escape. If you don’t “burp” your jars, there is a chance your jars could explode.

Once your ferment reaches your desired “funk” level, place it in the refrigerator. Your fermented carrots can remain in your fridge, unopened for up to 6 months.

Fall Planting and Harvest

Upon our return from Disney, it was to the garden we went for some fall harvesting and some more planting.  We came home to our second round of beans, ready and waiting for us on the vine.  They were a very welcomed surprise after eating a bit too much non-homegrown food on our trip.

There were also about 80 tomatoes begging to be picked, and a whole lot of raspberries ripe and ready for a little princess to pick for her afternoon snack.

We then set to planting our new beds with some cold-hardy greens.  We are hoping to add a hoop house or some type of low tunnel over these beds once the frost sets in. (Even though that seems very far off at the moment, as I listen to my air conditioner humming at this precise moment, when it is a whopping 90 degrees again today.)

Grandma Dit’s Carrot Cake

There is something about old recipe cards that I just adore.  Maybe it’s the handwriting of those who have gone before us. Or maybe it’s the tiny notations scribbled in the corners of the cards, making note of adaptations to the recipe that worked or did not work for the previous maker of this recipe.  No matter what the reason though, I adore making recipes from these small pieces of paper dotted with vanilla stains and creased corners.

Last night for our family’s weekly Tuesday Night Dinner, I rifled through my mom’s recipe box for the coveted carrot cake recipe that my Grandma Dietmeier was famous for.  I made a few adjustments of my own to this fabulous recipe and came out with a yummy little cake that was a big hit at the gathering last night.

(This is the secret to Grandma’s carrot cake recipe:  2 jars of carrot baby food!  It makes the cake extra moist, and adds even more great carrot flavor.)

Grandma Dit’s Carrot Cake

Mix together in a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 cups shredded fresh carrots

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 small jars of carrot baby food

In a separate bowl, mix together:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix well.  Pour batter into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cream Cheese Frosting:  Cream together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 cups powdered sugar.  Frost the cake once it is cooled.