Learn how to make fermented carrots through a simple lacto-fermentation process. These zesty carrots make a delicious snack or accompaniment to many dishes.
Lacto-fermentation is a wonderful way to preserve foods like carrots, jalapenos and onions. They won’t store as long as canned foods, but they do store long enough to save the produce from your garden thanks to the good bacteria produced in the lacto-fermentation process.
If you’re new to fermented foods, you can ferment many foods by simply putting them in a brine of 3 tablespoons of unrefined sea salt and 1 quart of filtered chlorine-free water. Then you just let them sit on the counter for several days.
They come out with a delicious pickled flavor and are loaded with healthy bacteria. One of my favorite things to ferment is carrots with onions, garlic and jalapeños for a zesty flavor. I love serving these spicy fermented carrots with our favorite Mexican food meals or just snacking on them.
- By the Numbers: How to Make Fermented Carrots
- Tips for Making Fermented Carrots
- Tip: use only fresh vegetables
- Do the quantities have to be exact?
- Do you have to add jalapenos?
- Is it okay to use carrot sticks?
- Best jars for fermenting
- Is table salt okay?
- Can I use less salt?
- Use a starter culture for consistent results
- Is lactobacillus bacteria dairy free?
- Shelf life
- More info about fermented foods
- More fermentation recipes
- Fermented Carrots with Jalapenos, Onions and Garlic
- More Recipes for You
- 6 carrots
- 6 jalapenos
- 1 onion
- 12 garlic cloves
- 2 quarts of filtered water
- 6 tablespoons of sea salt
- Mixing bowls
- Cutting Board
- Quart-sized mason jars
By the Numbers: How to Make Fermented Carrots
Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to learn how to make the best lacto-fermented carrots flavored with onions, garlic and jalapenos.
Step 1: Slice Carrots, Onion and Jalapenos
To start, slice up 6 carrots (at an angle is best), 6 jalapeños and 1 onion and place them in a bowl. I recommend wearing gloves to slice jalapeños. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed.
Step 2: Place Carrots, Jalapenos, Onions and Garlic in Jars
Distribute the chopped carrots, onions, jalapeños and garlic cloves evenly in pint or quart jars (you can also use a fermenting crock).
Step 3: Pour Salted Water Into Jars
Then you mix a ratio of 1 quart of filtered water (it needs to be chlorine-free for fermentation to work – I use my Berkey water filter to remove the chlorine from tap water) with 3 tablespoons of salt. Pour the salty brine over the vegetables until they are covered. Be sure to leave some headspace in the top of the jar.
It’s best to weight down the veggies in the jar so they stay below the water line. You can use plastic, ceramic or glass weights, but do not use metal as it will interrupt the fermentation process. I like to use onion skins to hold everything under the liquid.
Step 4: Seal Jars
Make sure there are no air pockets in the jars, then put a lid and ring on the jars, but not too tight. I save my used lids from canning and reuse them for fermenting since the seal doesn’t need to be tight. Once closed, place the jars somewhere they won’t be disturbed – it should be somewhere at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. It’s best to put them on a towel as fermentation can get a little bubbly if the jar is too full.
Step 5: Ferment Carrots
How long it takes for them to ferment is going to depend on your climate, altitude, the time of year and a variety of other factors. They could be done in 3 days or it could take 2 weeks. Everything will start to change color slightly and the water will look bubbly when the fermentation process is working.
You can open the jar and taste one of the carrots to test it out. If it tastes salty, it’s not done. The finished product should taste slightly sour, and not salty. When you’re satisfied with their fermentation level, you can move them to a dark, cool cabinet, a root cellar or a refrigerator.
Step 6: Eat Fermented Carrots
You can now enjoy eating your homemade fermented carrots as a tasty, nutritious snack.
Tips for Making Fermented Carrots
Answers to all of your questions about making fermented carrots, including tips and substitution ideas.
Tip: use only fresh vegetables
It’s really important when making fermented veggies that you use the freshest ingredients. They should be firm and free of any bad spots. You’ll get inconsistent results with old or soft veggies.
Do the quantities have to be exact?
While I provide quantities in this recipe, the ratio isn’t important, as long as it looks like the right ratio for your taste buds. If you don’t like things really spicy, you can de-seed the jalapenos or leave them out altogether.
Do you have to add jalapenos?
Absolutely not. You can ferment the carrots all on their own if you want. I like adding the jalapenos, onions and garlic because they give the carrots a delicious, spicy flavor that my family loves.
Is it okay to use carrot sticks?
Yes, you can also ferment carrot sticks instead of slices, if that’s your preference. My family prefers slices, but you can cut your carrots any way you like.
Best jars for fermenting
I typically use quart-size mason jars, and I prefer wide-mouth jars. You can use any glass jars you like though, including a FIDO jar or even a smaller pint jar if you won’t go through the fermented carrots quickly.
Is table salt okay?
I don’t recommend using table salt when making lacto-fermented vegetables because it often contains additives like anti-caking agents and iodine that can disrupt the process.
Can I use less salt?
Do not use less than 3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Salt is a critical ingredient as it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria while allowing beneficial bacteria to flourish. These good bacteria eat up all of the oxygen in the jar to create a safe, anaerobic environment for your ferment.
Use a starter culture for consistent results
I’ve never had an issue fermenting carrots with salt brine. However, if you find you get inconsistent results, consider using a vegetable starter culture. It adds the beneficial bacteria you’re looking for upfront, which helps keep the bad bacteria from growing.
Once you find you’re getting consistent results with the starter culture, you can just use a little bit of your brine from the previous batch as the starter for your next batch.
Is lactobacillus bacteria dairy free?
This is a common question I see. Yes, the gut-friendly lactobacillus bacteria is dairy free. Lactobacilli are members of the family of lactic acid bacteria, which means lactic acid is the primary end product of carbohydrate metabolism. So these bacteria basically eat up the sugar/carbs in the veggies you’re fermenting, and they’re good for your gut.
Most fermented foods should be eaten within 6 months (I have some that lasted over a year). If they smell or look bad, discard them.
More info about fermented foods
If you want to learn more about the power of fermented foods, these are 2 of my favorite resources.
More fermentation recipes
If you like this recipe for fermented carrots, try these other recipes:
Fermented Carrots with Jalapenos, Onions and Garlic
- 6 carrots
- 6 jalapenos
- 1 onion
- 12 garlic cloves
- 2 quarts filtered water
- 6 tablespoons sea salt
- Mixing bowls
- Cutting Board
- Quart sized mason jars
- Slice carrots, jalapeños and onion and place them in a bowl and mix until they’re evenly distributed.
- Transfer the carrots, onions, jalapeños and garlic cloves to glass jars. Mix a ratio of 1 quart of filtered water with 3 tablespoons of sea salt. Pour it over the vegetables until they’re covered. Leave some headspace in the jar and weight down the veggies so they stay below the water line.
- Put a lid and ring on the jars, but not too tight. Set the on a towel out of direct sunlight where they won’t be disturbed for a few days.
- The fermentation time will vary from 5 days to 2 weeks, depending on your climate, altitude and other factors. The water will look bubbly and the veggies will start to change color during the fermentation process. To see if they’re done, taste one of the carrots; if it’s salty, it’s not done. When they’re slightly sour and fermented properly, move them to a dark, cool cabinet or root cellar, or put them in the refrigerator.
- Enjoy snacking on your fermented carrots.