Carrots are delicious. Ginger is delicious. Add a little sea salt and a week or two of fermentation and you have a delightful Carrot Ginger Kraut to add to your meals.
Carrots and ginger are both yellow-orange foods. Add more color to your diet increases your dietary diversity which in turn increases the diversity in your gut microbiome which improves gut health, followed by improved overall health and immunity. Not bad, right?
Not only are there tons of phytontutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the carrots and ginger in this kraut, the process of fermentation by lactic acid bacteria make it both delicious and great for your gut. Don’t just take my word for it on why eating more fermented foods is supportive, check out this randomized controlled trial published in Cell in 2021 on fermented foods, microbiome diversity, and immune health.
How to make Carrot Ginger Kraut
Recently, I taught a cooking class at our local food co-op on how to make kraut! It was super fun and the Carrot Ginger Kraut was a hit with participants. What I didn’t expect was when I got home from the class, my kids asked if they could have some of the fermented krauts I brought home and polished off the jar of Carrot Ginger Kraut.
Part of the reason they were so excited to taste (devour) it was because my 3 year old helped with the prep for the class. He processed all 6 pounds of carrots for the class ‘all by himself’. If you have kids in your life, get them involved in the kitchen!! Not only is is amazing for them, you will benefit too. But I digress. . .
To make the Carrot Ginger Kraut, start by collecting your ingredients. You’ll need some carrots (preferably organic), a knob of ginger (fresh or frozen), 1 lemon (preferably organic, you’ll use the outside peel), and some sea salt. For the salt, unrefined sea salt works great. Kosher salt (fine) also works well. Don’t use salt that has added iodine as it will negatively impact the taste of your ferment. My go-to sea salt for cooking and fermenting is Redmond Real Salt which is mined from ancient salt beds in Utah and contains loads of trace minerals.
Next, gather your equipment. You’ll need a large mixing bowl, a grater or food processor for the carrots, a fine grater or microplane for the ginger and lemon, a cutting board, a chef’s knife, and the tools of fermenting such as a crock or 1 quart mason jar, weight (like a pickle pebble or 1/2 pint jar filled with water and topped with a lid), and a fermentation airlock (like a pickle pipe) or clean towel to cover.
Follow the recipe carefully, especially the steps on packing the kraut. The kraut will ferment from a few days to 2 weeks or more, depending on how tart you like it.
Tips on fermenting Carrot Ginger Kraut
If it’s warm in your kitchen (like above 75 degrees F), you’re in danger of undesirable microbes like yeast predominating your kraut because of the heat and the sugar content of the carrots. The lemon juice and zest help acidify the kraut to prevent undesirable microbes from predominating in the ferment early on.
You have a couple of options to help ensure your kraut will ferment as planned. First, when it’s packed in the jar, put it in a cool place like on the floor in your basement if it’s summertime. Just don’t forget about it and check it regularly. Second, if you have some fermented cabbage kraut, add a tablespoon of the juice or brine to kick off lactic acid fermentation in your Carrot Ginger Kraut. That’s it.
Ferment your kraut, after a few days, taste it regularly and enjoy!
Carrot Ginger Kraut
- 1 Pickle Pebble work great with any wide mouth mason jars, optional: https://amzn.to/3SujE6F
- 1 Pickle Pipe work great with any wide mouth mason jars, optional: https://amzn.to/3BK8Yen
- 1 wide mouth canning funnel not essential but definitely limits the mess: https://amzn.to/3OYFEnm
- 1 Chef's knife not the one I used in the video but a great budget friendly knife I highly recommend: https://amzn.to/3vKjm1E
- 2 pounds carrots washed, ends trimmed, no need to peel if organic
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root grated with a fine grater or microplane
- 1 lemon zested with a fine grater or microplane
- 1/4 lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sea salt fine
- Grate or shred all carrots. A food processor will make this much faster.
- Add carrots to a large mixing bowl and add salt, ginger, and lemon. Mix then set aside for a few minutes.
- Firmly massage the carrot mixture with your hands until liquid squeezes out, about 2 to 10 minutes.
- Pack carrots tightly into a 1 quart (32 ounce) canning jar using a blunt object or kraut pounder. Press often when filling the jar to remove air bubbles and to allow the brine liquid to come above the mixture. Leave about 1 inch headspace in the jar since the carrot mixture will expand as it ferments. Cover the shredded carrot mixture with cabbage leaves if you have them to seal out air and keep the carrots below the brine.
- Put a lid or fermentation air-lock on the jar. Place in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
- Allow carrots to ferment for about 1 week for young crisp carrot kraut to about 2 weeks for more sour, softer kraut. Check on ferment and taste with a clean utensil every 2-3 days until you are happy with the flavor. If the top appears dry, pack down kraut until liquid rises above the cabbage leaves.
- Store carrot ginger kraut in the refrigerator until it’s eaten. The cold temperature will significantly slow the fermentation process.