Fermented carrot sticks are delicious, easy to make, an inexpensive way to get probiotics into your diet, and are loved by children and grownups alike.
I regularly enjoy my naturally fermented sauerkraut, but when am 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 fermenting them.
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.
- Hormone Balancing Impact of Carrots
- Health Benefits of Fermented Carrots
- How to Make Fermented Carrot Sticks
- Recipe Flavor Suggestions
- Tips to Successfully Ferment Carrot Sticks
- Fermented Carrot Sticks Recipe
- Ways to Eat Fermented Carrot Sticks
Plus, fermented carrot sticks are great ferment for first-time fermenters.
Rarely does something go wrong during fermentation,
They’re ready in a short time.
Before I get to the recipe, let me share two benefits:
The hormonal balancing from eating carrots daily, and
The added benefits of fermenting carrots.
Carrots contain higher levels of beta-carotene than any other vegetable or fruit. Beta-carotene, an essential nutrient for good vision, is converted into Vitamin A in your liver.
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 a 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.
- Balance your hormones.
Endotoxins are a particular type of toxins that are bound to the insoluble fiber in carrots. Endotoxins can 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.
- Can help your liver remove excess estrogen.
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.
It is true that eating massive amounts of carrots can sometimes cause a person’s skin to turn yellowish-orange. This is most noticeable on the palms or soles of feet and is called carotenemia. But don’t worry, it is completely fixable just by reducing carrot intake.
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, and better brain function to name a few.
- Have increased nutritional value.
Lactic-acid fermentation produces and enhances the levels of enzymes, 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 kills off the E.coli bacteria. They can’t survive in the acidic environment of fermentation.
How to Make Fermented Carrot Sticks
Don’t Use a Brine Chart
My recipe for naturally fermented vegetables is different than most of the other recipes on the internet that rely upon numbers off a brine chart.
Most recipes have you pack your jar with vegetables (including some of mine that I have not yet updated), mix a salty brine, and then pour that into the jar.
Results will vary greatly because the weight of the vegetables you packed into the jar varies greatly.
As I researched and developed recipes for my In A Pickle! online course, I realized that you can’t have consistent, safe, mold-free results by just pouring a salty brine into a jar of packed vegetables.
The bacteria responsible for fermentation, need a set salt concentration to create the lactic acid necessary for a safe ferment.
You have to know the weight of both the vegetables and the water in your jar and calculate your salt based on that.
Once you know this weight, you multiply it by the recommended salt concentration for the vegetables being fermented and then add the correct number of grams of salt to the jar.
Don’t worry, it’s simple to do and I’ll take you through it step by step.
Salt Concentration Chart FREE Download
Use the button below to get your own printable Salt Concentration Chart.
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.
Step-by-Step Recipe Photo Instructions
Purchase Fresh Carrots
Fresh carrots are your best choice. A bag of carrots from the grocery store works just fine, but if too old, they may not ferment as well.
Choose a Way to Flavor Your Carrots
Garlic, ginger, onions, jalapenos, and various spices can all be used to flavor your fermented carrot sticks. In the recipe below, I give you several suggestions.
Prepare Flavoring Item
For example, for Sweet Garlic Carrot Sticks, slice garlic cloves into slivers. Place in the bottom of your jar.
Use a digital scale to obtain the weight—tare—of your jar (471 grams, for example). Write this number down.
Pack flavoring Ingredients into the jar. Cut carrots to size to fit into your jar leaving 1 to 2 inches of headspace.
Pour Water Over Carrots
Pour water into the jar, stopping 1-2 inches below the threads of the jar.
Obtain Weight of Veggies + Water
Weigh your packed jar. The number on the scale is the weight of the jar from step 4, plus the weight of the vegetables and the water (1322 grams, for example).
Subtract the jar weight from the total weight (1322 – 471 = 851, for example).
Calculate & Add Correct Grams of Salt
Carrots require a 2.5% total salt concentration.
Multiply the weight of the contents in your jar by 0.025 (851 x. 0.025 = 21, for example).
Tare a small dish and weigh the correct grams of salt (21 grams, for example).
Add this salt to your jar of carrots. Screw on the canning lid and rim that came with your jar and shake for one minute to dissolve the salt.
Carrot Sticks Ready for Fermentation
Screw a fermentation lid on snugly, or a plastic lid left a tad loose, and place your jar in a shallow dish on your counter out of direct sunlight to ferment for 7-14 days.
Recipe Flavor Suggestions
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 Fermentation Made Easy: Mouthwatering Sauerkraut book.
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.
Get ready to be surprised by the wide variety of pickles you can safely & easily preserve at home.
Learn the Perfect Pickle Process in my online program and “grow” your own probiotic-rich superfoods. YUM!
Tips to Successfully Ferment Carrot Sticks
- 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 bath—which inhibits fermentation—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 might be 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. In short, use non-iodized salt.
- Use a 2.5% total salt concentration.
Use 2.5% salt by weight for the weight of both the vegetables and the water in your jar.
- 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.
- Looking for some kimchi flavor?
Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Korean red pepper powder to a batch.
- Adjust fermentation time based on ambient room temperature and desired product.
Ideal fermentation temperature is 65-70°F (18-21°C) is ideal.
Adjust the length of fermentation based on the temperature of your kitchen. 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.
- Calculate and use 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.
My Five Favorite Fermentation Tools
Fermented Carrot Sticks Recipe
- 1 quart jar
- fermentation weight
- canning lid and rim
- 2-3 bunches radishes, 400-500g prepared
- 1 tsp sugar, (Balances the bite from the radishes.)
- Iodine-free salt (fine-grain)
- Non-chlorinated water
FLAVORING OPTIONS [Choose from one of the following]
- 1 tsp fennel seeds + 1 tsp anise seeds
- 1-3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into slivers
- 1 teaspoon dried dill, (1 tablespoon fresh)
- 1 sliced green onion, plus a bit of sliced red onion
- PREP FLAVORING ITEM.Prep what you'll be using to flavor your radishes.
- PREP RADISHES.Remove tops and tails. Rinse clean. Then, quarter radishes into wedges or slice no thinner than 1/4 inch. You want chunks, not thin slices which.
- WEIGH JAR.Use a digital scale to obtain the weight—tare—of your jar (471 grams, for example). Write this number down.
- PACK JAR.Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the jar (cuts the bite from the radishes, optional.)Place what you'll be using to flavor your radishes sticks in the bottom of your jar then snugly pack radishes into the jar leaving one inch of head space.
- TOP WITH WATER. Pour water over radishes letting it percolate down.
- CALCULATE & ADD 2.5% SALT.Weigh your packed jar. The number on the scale is the weight of the jar, plus the weight of the vegetables and the water (1286 grams, for example).Subtract the jar weight from the total weight (1286 – 471 = 815, for example).Multiply the weight of the contents in your jar by 0.025 (851 x. 0.025 = 20.3, for example).Tare a small dish and weigh the correct grams of salt (20 grams, for example).Add this salt to your jar of radishes.
- DISSOLVE SALT.Screw on a standard canning jar lid and rim and tightly secure. Shake the jar for a couple of minutes to dissolve the salt.Remove lid.
- SUBMERGE & SEAL.Add a fermentation weight to keep the vegetables submerged under the brine. Close the jar either with an airlock or with a lid left loose enough to allow CO2 to escape.
- FERMENT.Label with recipe name, date, and salt concentration. Place in a shallow bowl on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight to ferment until active bubbling stops, usually, 7-14 days depending upon the temperature of your room. The color from the radishes will turn the brine a beautiful pink, which sadly fades over time. Feel free to taste them along the way. The radishes are ready when bubbles have stopped rising to the surface, there is a slightly sour aroma and they taste tangy.
- STORE.Add the fermentation length to your label and put in the refrigerator. Your fermented radishes 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.
Notes and Tips
- My favorite salt for fermentation is Himalayan Pink. I talk about the best salt for fermentation here, here. In short, use non-iodized salt.
- Flavoring your radishes. Experiment with different flavorings to find your favorite combination.
- Below the brine. For worry-free fermentation, it is best to use some sort of weight to hold the radishes below the brine.
- No airlock? Airlocks allow excess gases to escape. If you don’t have an airlock, burp the jar once daily during the first 3 days.
- Adjust fermentation time based on ambient room temperature and desired product. The ideal fermentation temperature is 65-70°F (18-21°C) is ideal. If it is super hot, shorten; cold, lengthen.
- Do drink leftover fermented brine, or use it to make salad dressings.
Ways to Eat Fermented Carrot Sticks
Either eat your fermented carrots sticks straight out of the jar or try plunging them into one of these dips:
Herbed Yogurt Cheese from Circle B Kitchen
Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing from I’d Rather Be A Chef
15 Health Benefits of Hummus, According to Science (+ 9 Delicious Hummus Recipes) from Jen Reviews
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.
Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API