I love my naturally fermented sauerkraut, but when I looking for vegetables to plunge into a creamy dip – blue cheese, hummus or ranch all work for me – nothing beats a nice crunchy carrot stick. And, when I came across an article touting the hormone balancing effects of raw carrots, I decided to double those benefits by making fermented carrot sticks. Not only are they
Easy to make,
Kids love them.
They are an inexpensive way to get lots of beneficial bacteria.
Rarely does something go wrong during fermentation,
They’re ready in a few short days.
Plus, they can add a rainbow of color to your day. Just check out what I found during a recent trip to my local farmer’s market.
Fermented carrot sticks. Another great ferment for those with still a bit of trepidation when it comes to embracing our wonderful microbial world.
First off, two sets of benefits to share: hormonal balancing from eating carrots daily and the added benefits of fermenting carrots.
Hormone Balancing Impact of Carrots
“There are interesting associations between vegetable “fiber” and estrogens. Because of my own experience in finding that eating a raw carrot daily prevented my migraines, I began to suspect that the carrot fiber was having both a bowel-protective and an antiestrogen effect. Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms.” – Ray Peat, Natural Estrogens
Eating one raw – unpeeled – carrot a day can help to:
- Remove toxins from your body.
Raw carrot skins – the peel – contain insoluble fiber that binds to toxins in our intestines and is eliminated in our stools. NOTE: If you peel your carrots, you are tossing away the health benefits of insoluble fiber. Darn, I like to peel my carrots.
- Balance your hormones.
Endotoxins are a particular type of toxins that are bound to the insoluble fiber in carrots. Endotoxins are found in unhealthy bacteria and cause an imbalance in your hormones. By consuming carrots, endotoxins – particularly excess estrogen – get safely carried out of your body.
- Improve peristaltic movement.
Insoluble fiber relieves constipation and increases regularity. However, drastically increasing your fiber intake can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation so don’t suddenly go overboard on your carrot consumption.
- Can help your liver remove excess estrogen.
An overabundance of bad bacteria in your gut can cause bloating, gas and constipation and lead to a sluggish liver.
One of the jobs of your liver is to remove excess estrogen, but when it is burdened with toxins from the foods we eat and the stress in our daily lives, it can’t keep up. Excess estrogen then becomes a huge problem causing all sorts of health issues – in both men and women – such as mood swings, acne, allergies, thyroid issues and lack of muscle tone. Consuming insoluble soluble fiber lightens the load on your liver.
Health Benefits of Fermented Carrots
If you ferment your carrots, they are packed with the same goodness as sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. They:
- Are an excellent source of probiotics.
Similar to those found in yogurt, probiotics produced during fermentation are known to have many health benefits: improved digestion, enhanced immune system, better brain function to name a few.
- Have increases nutritional value.
Lactic-acid fermentation produces and enhances the levels of enzyme, vitamins and minerals.
- Are easier to digest than raw or cooked vegetables.
Fermentation breaks down hard-to-digest cellulose.
- Are safer to eat than raw vegetables.
Raw vegetables can have E.coli on them, but lactic acid produced during fermentation kill off the E.coli bacteria. They can’t survive in the acidic environment of fermentation.
5 Recipes for Fermented Carrot Sticks
You can effortlessly infuse the bright orange crunch of a carrot with the addition a few simple seasonings: Garlic, dill, ginger, jalapeno peppers or onions all work nicely.
First, here’s the recipe in pictures followed by tips for success, 5 suggestions for flavoring your carrot sticks and then the step-by-step recipe.
I like to keep these simple, though you might not believe that is possible for me with the wide range of creative recipes in my SureFire Sauerkraut Recipe Collection eBook.
Here are five ways to infuse your fermenting carrot sticks with just a bit of extra zing.1
Sweet Garlic Fermented Carrot Sticks
For Fermented Sweet Garlic Carrot Sticks, slice 1-2 peeled garlic cloves into slivers. Place in the bottom of your jar.2
Fermented Ginger Carrot Sticks
For Fermented Ginger Carrots, slice a 1-inch piece of ginger root into slivers. No need to peel the ginger. Place in the bottom of your jar.3
Fermented Firecracker Carrot Sticks
For Fermented Firecracker Carrot Sticks, slice one or two jalapenos into quarters. To reduce heat, remove seeds and membrane. Place in the bottom of your jar. Feel free to add a pinch of oregano, cumin seeds and red pepper flakes for a greater depth of flavor.4
Fermented Dilly Delight Carrot Sticks
For Fermented Dilly Delight Carrot Sticks, use 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh dill. Place in the bottom of your jar.5
Fermented Three-Onion Carrot Sticks
For Fermented Three-Onion Carrot Sticks, roughly chop one green onion and finely slice a bit of red and yellow onion. Place in the bottom of your jar.
Tips to Successfully Ferment Carrot Sticks
Fermenting carrot sticks is truly easy-peasy.
Cut carrots into sticks,
pack into a jar,
pour brine over,
screw on lid and
leave on your counter top for 5-10 days. That’s it.
However, there are always questions as one ventures down the road of leaving food to “rot” in your kitchen. The step-by-step recipes follows these tips:
- Recipe directions are for a one-pint (500 ml) batch.
Feel free to double the recipe and use a larger jar. Some like to use a narrow-mouth jar finding that the smaller opening helps to keep the carrot sticks submerged. With larger jars, there is no need to be careful about the length you cut your carrots.
- Packaged baby carrots?
I would not use these – though very handy – due to the fact that they are typically given a chlorine – which inhibits fermentation – bath during processing.
- To peel or not to peel?
I’m a peeler though I probably shouldn’t be. Guess why?
The greatest concentration of microbes – that make fermentation happen – reside in the peels of root vegetables (The part that comes in contact with the dirt where those little buggers live.). By peeling the carrot, one is hindering the process of fermentation.
And… as we learned above, the peel contains insoluble fiber that binds to toxins and removes them from your body.
Time for me to eliminate one of my hangups: The bright and clean carrot look!
- My favorite salt for fermentation is Himalayan Pink.
I talk about the best salt for fermentation here, here. In short, use a non-iodized salt.
- Use a 2% brine strength.
This is for the geeks out there; the rest of you, just follow the recipe. Use 2% salt by weight for the weight of water you’re dissolving your salt in.
- Leftover brine (not fermented)?
If you do not need all of the brine you mixed up, just keep the leftovers in a jar in your refrigerator for future fermentation projects. It will keep for a few weeks.
- Below the brine.
For worry-free fermentation, it is best to use some sort of weight to hold the carrot sticks below the brine. However, if packed tightly they seem to stay below the brine on their own.
- No airlock?
Airlocks allow excess gases to escape. If you don’t have an airlock and you want to be super safe, though I don’t feel carrots create enough CO2 to warrant it, burp the jar once daily during the first 3 days.
- Simple flavors.
I’ve kept the recipes simple with the addition of just one flavoring item, usually. You can also ferment them on their own with no extras. A hard one for me.
- Adjust fermentation time based upon ambient room temperature and desired product.
Ideal fermentation temperature is 65-70°F (18-21°C) is ideal.
If it is super hot, shorten; cold, lengthen.
- Eat the fermented flavoring items.
When using garlic, ginger, hot peppers, etc. to add flavor to your ferment, you are also fermenting those items and they can be eaten as well.
- Make fresh brine for each batch of fermented carrots.
See my recent post on why I say: Don’t reuse the brine – or feel you need to use a starter.
- Do drink leftover fermented brine, or use it to make salad dressings.
- Keep your fermented carrot sticks handy.
My fermented carrot sticks greet me front and center when I open the refrigerator and are just begging to be snacked on. You might need to do likewise so they are not forgotten somewhere in the back of your refrigerator.
- 2-3 large carrots
- Flavoring, Choose from ONE of the following:
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced and cut into slivers (No need to peel.)
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers sliced lengthwise into quarters (Remove seeds to white membrane to reduce heat.)
- 1 teaspoon dried dill (1 tablespoon fresh)
- 1-2 sliced green onions, a bit each of sliced red onion and sliced yellow onion
- Brine (2%)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups non-chlorinated water
- PREP FLAVORING ITEM. Place what you'll be using to flavor your carrot sticks in the bottom of a wide mouth pint (500 ml) jar, or jar size of your choosing.
- PREP CARROTS. Gently scrub clean. Then, slice carrots lengthwise to just the right length (one inch shorter than the height of your jar) and snugly pack into the jar on top of your flavoring item leaving one inch of head space. If you prefer, you could also cut the carrots crosswise into disks.
- MAKE BRINE. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 cups of water. Stir with a fork until somewhat dissolved. If there's some undissolved salt, don't worry, it will dissolve during fermentation.
- POUR BRINE over carrots letting it percolate down. Stop when brine is 1 inch from the top of the jar. Jostle the jar to get the brine between all the packed carrots and add more brine, if necessary. Screw on lid, snugly. Label with the date.
- FERMENT. Place in a shallow bowl on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight to ferment until active bubbling stops, usually 7-10 days depending upon the temperature of your room Feel free to taste them. The carrots are ready when bubbles have stopped rising to the surface, there is a slightly sour aroma and the carrots taste tangy.
- STORE. Add the fermentation length to your label and put in the refrigerator. Your fermented carrots may be eaten immediately, but will increase in flavor with time and will keep for up to a year, though they lose color as the months go on.
Ways to Eat Fermented Carrot Sticks
Either eat your fermented carrots sticks straight out of the jar or try one of plunging them into one of these dips:
Herbed Yogurt Cheese from EatingWell
Herbed Yogurt Cheese from Circle B Kitchen
Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing from I’d Rather Be A Chef
How to Make Hummus from Scratch from The Kitchn
Yogurt Ranch Dip by Nourishing Days
Can You Balance Your Hormones with Carrots? + A Recipe! by Holistic Health Herbalist
How Eating One Raw Carrot a Day Can Balance Hormones + Detox the Body by Organic Olivia
Natural Estrogens by Ray Peat
What is your favorite dip for carrots? Let us know in the Comments.
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