Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ginger Carrots

The tools and supplies needed for ginger carrots are pictured above. From left to right, the finished jar of carrots, jar of whey, sea salt, bowl, and blender.

I want to continue to make lacto-fermented foods that can be stored and used over long periods of time, such as sauerkraut, pickles, and chutneys. Though I mastered sauerkraut and pickles, my success ended there, as my other experiments resulted in some foul smelling kimchi and moldy carrots. However, the more I learn about the science and processes around fermenting and preserving foods, I feel more confident about trying again. The health benefits are plentiful!

What happened before we had modern preservation techniques? Our ancestors used the natural process of lacto-fermentation. (A great resource to learn more about fermentation is Sandor Katz's book Wild Fermentation, or his website.) Today, industrialized processes kill all the beneficial bacteria and much of the other nutrients naturally found in some of our foods. Interestingly, the juices of lacto-fermented foods have been used medicinally, and as remedies for illnesses from the common cold to digestive disorders. According to Doug DiPasquale, chef and holistic nutritionist, "Recent research has found that lactic acid, the by-product of lacto-fermentation, is useful in preventing cholera bacterium from establishing itself in the intestine."

I feel like Mark is being helped by keeping his gut bacteria in check, and I'm impressed with the bioavailibility of nutrients, such as vitamin C. So, on Friday night, I made ginger carrots. They look beautiful, and I can't wait to try them! I won't say it was a clean, easy process, but if I had a food processor, I think I could have done the whole thing much more efficiently, limiting the time and dishes necessary.

four cups of grated carrots (tightly packed--I grated them in batches in my ghetto blender)
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon of unrefined sea salt
four tablespoons of whey

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and pound them with a pounder to release the juices. Place them in a wide-mouthed mason jar and press it down firmly until the juice comes up to the top of the carrots. Make sure the top of the mixture is at least an inch bellow the top of the jar, seal tightly and let it sit at room temperature for 3 days. Transfer it to the fridge and enjoy any time after that.

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