Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fermented Carrots

The carrots in my garden take a long time to mature.  Some of them are long and slender while others are short and stubby; however, they have fabulous green tops.  Now that I do have the carrots, what do I do?  They have been grated into slaws and salads along with the cabbage, they've been boiled with potatoes and green beans, and they have been served on fancy glass plates at an occasional cocktail hour.

I am so blessed to have my granddaughter help in the garden.  While she visited some time ago, we made early morning rounds to see what was happening on the Back Forty.  We both had to get our hands into the soil to touch and pull some weeds.  Of course, we couldn't go back empty handed.  With a little help, my granddaughter came up with a handsome bunch of carrots.  They certainly made a colorful and nutritious snack.

I recently read in the Florida Times-Union that some chefs at a few local restaurants around town are placing vacuum-sealed plastic bags filled with carrots into hot water to cook!  They call it "sous vide."  The carrots are supposed to better retain their flavor and color when cooked this way.

I had about 2 lbs of fresh carrots that we could not possibly eat at this time when another family member came to the rescue and suggested that I ferment the carrots.  Why not?  That's one way of preserving the garden harvest.  He said that after cleaning them up, I should cut them up into thin strips or rounds and then pack them tightly into a one gallon container (bought at a big box store).  For brine, he said to heat 4 cups of water with 4 tbs of table salt.  Let the brine cool and then pour it over the carrots in the container to cover them.

To seal the container, pour water into a plastic bag to put on top of the carrots to hold them down.  This works very well because the water bag is formfitting.  If you don't have a lid for your container, cover it with a tea towel and tie it down with a pretty ribbon, string, or rubber band.  Let the container with the carrots stand at room temperature for about two weeks, then spoon the carrots with the liquid into clean jars and store in the fridge.

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