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.

Putting Food By: Garlic Scapes

This month marks the two year point from when I was able to start staying home with my little ones and really begin to start honing my homemaking skills.  The past two years have been magical, challenging, and as all new adventures are….educational.

One of my greatest feats I have been able to tackle has been putting food by for my family for those cooler months when food is not as abundant, or doesn’t come up at all.  Now, I word this as a feat because I was always so intimidated by the entire idea of food preservation.  I felt like there was so much research to be done, classes to be taken, and all of this was daunting because that meant time, time, time.

However, now that I have done the research, I have come to realize that putting food by does not have to be alarming at all.  And in all honesty, it doesn’t have to take up much time either.

My biggest source of information when it comes to food preservation has been talking with farmers and other shoppers at the local farmer’s markets.  You can learn a lot talking to the nona who has been canning tomato sauce for 50 years, or the farmer who has been freezing their strawberries for as long as they have been growing them.  And the great part about these conversations is that they don’t take any more than a few minutes, and then you can be on your way, ready to begin your preservation journey.

Yesterday I had one of these fabulous conversations with a local farmer who was selling garlic scapes.  Garlic scapes are the green off shoots that emerge from the soil when growing hardneck Rocombole garlic.  It looks much like a green onion, but a bit thinner and curly.  The farmer told me that you can prepare garlic scapes as you would green onions, but it obviously adds a lovely garlic taste to the dish instead of an oniony one.

The farmer then proceeded to tell me they freeze beautifully.  This made my ears perk up because I’m always in the market for food I can put by for another day.  She told me to simply rise off the scopes and cut them into one to two inch sections.

Then you simply place the pieces in a small zip lock freezer bag and freeze.  She told me she will pull a few chunks out if she is making chilli or soup in the winter time and she just throws them in the pot frozen and they cook up nicely and give the dish delicious spicy flavor.

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Some of our favorite home preservation books are:

Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (There are some great canning recipes scattered throughout the piece.)

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader