Fermented carrot & ginger salad packs a punch, in terms of both flavor and digestive health! Whether you’re looking for an alternative to sauerkraut or just starting out with home fermentation, this fermented carrot salad is a delicious, tangy addition to your probiotic food repertoire.
Why I Love This Recipe
Lacto-fermentation, the process by which this salad is fermented, comes with loads of health benefits. It increases the bio-availability of nutrients in your food, meaning that all the various vitamins and nutrients in your carrots and ginger will be easier for your body to absorb and use. Consuming fermented foods is huge for the health of your gut microbiome, which in turn has a major impact on your overall health, including your immune system (cold and flu season approaches!)
Ginger is also known for being particularly good for digestive health, as are raw carrots! Between the ginger, the carrots, and all the beneficial bacteria, this fermented carrot & ginger salad is a true digestive powerhouse.
Lacto-fermentation is a method of fermenting and preserving foods, like fruits and vegetables, which contain sugars and starches. These sugars and starches are turned into lactic acid by the presence of lactobacilli (lactic acid producing bacteria), hence lacto-fermentation.
There are a few methods that fall under the heading of lacto-fermentation. Two common ones are brining, where a salty brine is poured over the vegetables, and dry salting, where salt is applied directly to the vegetables, which then release the brine. This recipe uses dry salting, because shredded carrots are able to release a lot of natural juices, which then form a brine! For more on fermenting vegetables by brining them, check out this post.
In both cases, food is placed in a salty environment. Basically, this is because the salty environment allows good bacteria to thrive, but bad bacteria do not like it!
Tools & Equipment for Fermented Carrot & Ginger Salad
- Kitchen scale
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Large mixing bowl
- Jars (you can use whatever sizes you prefer, but this recipe as written should fit in a quart)
- Fermenting weights-optional but helpful
- Sauerkraut pounder-also optional but helpful. Alternatively, use the bottom end of a wooden spoon or spatula
- valved jar lids-optional
- Some sort of mechanism for boiling water-my preference is my electric kettle.
Ingredients for Fermented Carrot & Ginger Salad
- Carrots: organic or not is up to you, but I must insist that you buy whole carrots. Don’t attempt this with the pre-shredded kind, it won’t work all that well.
- Ginger: Again, for best results and flavor, buy ginger root that you have to peel and shred.
- Salt: Kosher salt or fine sea salt will both work. Table salt is not preferred
- Optional: any additional seasonings. For example, turmeric goes well with carrots and ginger! I typically keep this salad very simple, but you’re welcome to experiment with spices.
I begin my sterilizing my jars, so that by the time the salad is ready, they’ve cooled down. To sterilize, I place my jars in a clean sink, get my electric kettle full of boiling water, and pour the boiling water over the jars. Next, remove the jars to a clean kitchen towel on the counter with tongs. Alternatively, fill the sink with boiling water first, then submerge the jars. Leave them on the clean towel to cool.
Prep your salad ingredients: wash, peel and grate your carrots. Technically, this recipe can be made with absolutely any amount of carrots you want! I’ve called for four cups mostly just to point out my suggested carrots to ginger ratio, 4 cups to 1 tablespoon. Ginger is potent!
Peel and shred your ginger as well. You can increase or decrease the amount of ginger to taste, but don’t say I didn’t warn you: It’s SUPER flavorful in this salad.
Place a large mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and zero the scale. Add all your carrots and ginger to the bowl to get the weight of your ingredients in grams.
Calculate how much salt to use: I use 2.5% salt. You could use a little more or less, but if your salad is way too salty or not nearly salty enough, it will affect the fermentation environment. To calculate, take the weight of your carrots and ginger in grams x .025=weight of salt in grams.
Add your calculated weight of salt to your mixing bowl. Using clean hands, start massaging your salad! You will need to massage it for probably 10 minutes. At first, it might feel like nothing is happening, but then the carrots will begin to release juices. Keep going-you want a good amount of brine.
Transfer your salad to your jar. Use a sauerkraut pounder or another tool, like the bottom of a wooden spoon, to pack it in: you want to try to eliminate any air bubbles. Pour all the brine on top of the salad, leaving some empty room at the top of the jar. If you have a fermentation weight, add it to the jar: it will help make sure all the salad stays underneath the brine.
Cover your jar. If you have a lid meant for fermentation, like an air-lock lid, use that. Otherwise, lightly cover the jar with the regular lid, and plan to remove it to release excess gasses once a day.
Leave the jar on the counter at room temperature to ferment! The total length of fermentation will vary depending on your flavor preference and the temperature of your kitchen, typically 3-6 days. You should begin seeing signs of fermentation within 2-3 days. Signs of fermentation include a mild sour scent and little bubbles appearing around the edges.
You can start sampling for taste after 3 days- if you want it to continue to get more sour, leave it for longer!
When fermentation is complete, cap your jar firmly and transfer it to the fridge. Enjoy! This salad will pack in a ton of beneficial bacteria, even in very small doses. If you haven’t already been including fermented foods in your diet, start small- a tablespoon or two a day.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I store this?
Fermentation is also a method of preservation, and fermented vegetables should be good for several months in your fridge.
I see mold! Is it bad?
Probably. If you’re seeing mold on the salad itself, definitely throw it out. If the mold is ONLY on the jar and you can wipe it off, it MIGHT be okay… but really, this should not mold.
- 4 cups shredded carrots
- 1 Tbsp shredded ginger
- Kosher salt
1. Sterilize your jars: I do this by pouring boiling water over jars in a clean sink. Alternatively, pour boiling water directly into the sink and use tongs to submerge your jars. Remove jars to a clean kitchen surface and allow to cool.
2. Peel and shred your carrots and ginger. You can use more ginger to taste, but use caution: it's super potent in this salad!
3. Take the weight of your carrots and ginger in grams. Calculate how much salt to add: I like to use 2.5% salt by weight. Weight of carrots in ginger in grams x .025= weight of salt in grams.
4. Add your calculated amount of salt in grams.
5. Use clean hands to massage the carrots until they start to release their juices. Continue until they release a good amount of brine.
6. Pack the carrot/ginger mixture into your jars and add brine so that all the carrots are covered in a layer of brine. Pack down carrots, making sure air bubbles are released.
7. Cover with a valved lid if you have one; otherwise, lightly screw on your regular jar lid. Set jar on counter to ferment!
8. How long fermentation takes will depend on your kitchen temperature. You should start seeing some signs of fermentation (bubbles forming around the edge and slight sour scent) after 48 hours or so.
9. If using a regular lid, take it off once a day to release extra gas.
10. Typically total fermentation time will be 3-6 days. Start tasting after 2-3 days, once you are seeing signs of fermentation, and leave for longer if you want a more tangy, vinegar-y taste.
11. When fermentation is complete, fit on the lid firmly and store in the fridge.
1. You can add additional seasonings if you wish!
2. Do not use pre-shredded carrots. They will be too dry to release juices for the brine.
Pin for later:
How did it go? What is your favorite thing to ferment in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments!
For more creative fermentation recipes, click here!