This time of year always promises the tastiest root vegetables. After the first couple frosts, starchy vegetables like carrots and parsnips convert their starches into sugars, resulting in the sweetest roots you’ve eaten all year. At least this gives us something to look forward to as the days get longer and the nights get colder!
If you’re going to preserve any carrots this year, now’s the time to capture their heightened flavour. We fermented carrots last year, sliced into rounds along with chopped onion, garlic, hot pepper, and ginger. It was delicious, and a recipe I will definitely share at some point, but I wanted to try something a bit different this time.
I chose the smallest rainbow carrots I could find at the farmers market and decided to try fermenting them whole. I came up with a blend of curry spice for an Indian twist, which I combined with minced garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Then I prepared my jars and let the mixture ferment for 4 weeks. The resulting carrots are tasty and sure to please throughout the coming winter months.
If you can only find larger carrots, feel free to cut them into smaller matchstick pieces. And as always, if you can’t find rainbow carrots, orange carrots will work just as well. You can also use pre-blended curry powder in place of the homemade spice blend, about 1 tablespoon per jar should do. But I encourage you to throw the blend together yourself if you can. It takes only a minute, and the whole spices will give the curried carrots a fresher, more vibrant flavour.
If you’ve ever contemplated fermenting vegetables but thought the task seemed too daunting, know that it’s actually a very simple process. Now is the time to preserve the last of the year’s harvest, so you can enjoy it during the winter when fresh local produce is harder to come by. Start with these curried carrots, or check out some of my other fermented recipes for more ideas. I hope you enjoy it!
- 2lb very small rainbow carrots (or regular carrots, cut into matchsticks)
- 2 ½ tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon ceylon cinnamon chips
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced turmeric root
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons mineral salt
- 1L filtered water
- Scrub the carrots well to remove any dirt. They don't need to be peeled, but the ends should be trimmed. Set aside.
- Mince ginger, turmeric, and garlic, then divide each into two 1L wide-mouth mason jars. Mix together your dried spices in a small bowl until combined, then add 1 tablespoon into the bottom of each jar.
- Pack each jar tightly with carrots, keeping them all vertical so they fit snugly. In order to maximize your space, place some carrots right-side up, and some upside-down. Once both jars are packed full, top each with another tablespoon of curry spices. You will probably have some leftover spice mix that you can grind into curry powder and add to other dishes, like my Indonesian Spiced Eggplant & Tempeh Curry.
- Dissolve 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt in 1L filtered water, I do this by shaking them in a flip-top bottle until dissolved. Pour the brine over your carrots until they are submerged, leaving a few inches of headspace. Place a clean weight over your carrots to keep them submerged. I prefer to slide in a 4-ounce mason jar to keep things in place, but you can also use a clean stone or non-leaded ceramic weight. Don't use anything plastic or containing reactive metal.
- Fit the mason jar with your preferred fermenting system. For this recipe, I used a mason jar reCAP, fitted with a #6.5 rubber bung and an airlock. You can just use the regular mason jar lid, but you will need to unscrew the lid a few times a day, especially for the first 5 days or so, to release pent-up gasses that accumulate. If you are lucky enough to own a fermenting crock, feel free to use that instead.
- Let the jars sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks. If you are new to fermented foods, taste after 5 days, and again every few days until you are happy with the flavour. I let my carrots ferment for 4 weeks. When your carrots are ready, screw the regular mason jar lid back on and store in the refrigerator.
can't find turmeric root? // check a health food store, or substitute 1 teaspoon dried turmeric root
don't have ceylon cinnamon? // regular cinnamon may be used, but is more difficult to break into pieces