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« Giveaway: Gloria Nicol's preserving book & Ball's vintage edition jars | Main | Free webinar: starting a seed library »

Lacto-fermented carrot ginger slaw

I made this a few years ago as I was just setting out on my lacto-fermentation path [read: obsession]. I was inspired by Indianapolis-based fermenters, Fermenti Artisan, with whom I shared a demo at City Market. Well, my first batch, on a micro scale compared with the Indy boys’ batch, turned out a little too salty and didn’t actually ferment until I cut it with water. I wasn’t impressed, but I’ve kept at this recipe because it had potential; what’s better than carrot and ginger?

I’m pleased to report that my tweaks paid off and the slaw is a sour deliciousness that you might add to salads or slide in as a digestive garnish on your dinner or lunch plate. Hell, I ate some for breakfast yesterday. I’d love to hear how you end up using it!

Fermented Carrot Ginger Slaw

yields 1 pint


1. Use a food processor and shred 1 lb of cleaned, but not peeled organic carrots, top ends removed. Peel outer skin from 1 oz ginger root (about 1.5”-sized piece) and add it to the shredder, or mince it by hand.

2. Add mixture to a clean, widemouth pint jar interspersing 2 tsp fine sea salt as you pack the jar.

3. Place a clean, 4-oz jelly jar on top of the shredded mixture to weight carrots down in the brine that forms from packing it down. It’s also an excellent precaution to place the jar in a low dish or on a plate since the fermentation action causes bubbling and off-gassing which could cause the liquid to seep over the edge of the jar.

4. Check on your jar every day at first. In the first three days you might notice bubbling and frothing around the rim. Do your best to skim excess foam off. This keeps yeasts, molds and less desirable bacteria from taking over in your jar. Rinse and clean the jelly jar weight when you skim, too. In the last week or so of fermenting, you can check in on it every few days.

5. Your slaw will be done within 10-14 days or maybe longer, depending on how sour you like your ferment. You may try it at any time (it’s not unsafe to eat at any point), just don’t double dip with a spoon or fork; generally speaking, it’s soured properly when it no longer tastes like a too-salty veg and has a bit of sourness it.) The carrots will darken slightly at the top and you may lose some liquid. (If you push on the jar weight and it doesn’t bring up a little gush of carrot juice to cover again, then you can add some liquid to continue fermenting if you wish. Make a solution of 1/2 Tbs pickling or fine sea salt dissolved into 1/2 cup filtered water and pour it over the slaw.) When my jar ran low on liquid it turned out to be exactly the sourness I like, so I just capped it and stuck it in the fridge without adding liquid.

When it’s finished fermenting to your liking, cap the jar loosely and place in the fridge.

my finished jar, tipped to show the white lactobacillus build-up at the bottom of the jar

Reader Comments (5)

This looks seriously awesome!! We are going to try it for sure this weekend. We just started making kombucha again, so this is right on track with that ;-)

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Garnett

Very tasty! But if you're not freaked out by it, you're actually better off leaving your ginger skins on, too! Ginger skin is a fantastic source of the good bacteria that make fermentation happen.

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I tried making fermented carrots with ginger for the first time this past weekend, and I'm wondering if you could answer a few questions: When skimming off foam, should I be skimming off carrots as well? I my jar of carrots have just started to look like things are happening, and I see some white spots and bubbles from the lacto-bacillus, but when I took the lid off, it smelled a bit yeasty. Should I be worried about that? Thank you for any help!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPiper

Hi Piper, you want to get rid of the top layer of foam and if a carrot shred or two goes with it that's okay. By the sound of your question though, are you weighting down the carrots in the brine or did you just cap the jar? If doing it this way you'll need to pack down the carrots every day to make sure nothing grows up top where the carrots/ginger aren't in brine.

Instead of capping the jar, try weighting down carrots with a smaller jar as I described above and allowing it to breathe with cheesecloth. Hope this helps.

May 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterKate

Thanks for the tip! I did pitch some carrots from the top that weren't in brine and started to look a bit funky. I had trouble finding a jar small enough to fit inside and weight down the carrots, so I'll pack down daily. The jar is topped with a ring fitted with paper towel to allow the carrots to breathe.

Thanks again!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPiper

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