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Monday, January 21, 2013

Fabulous Fermentaion Week - Jalapeños & Carrots

I have a vivid memory of sitting in a leather teepee in my elementary school soccer field learning about the Native Americans of Massachusetts. The man visiting was beautifully dressed in animal hides, bird feathers, and beads. He explained that the teepee was made of deer skin and I, very embarrassingly, jumped a bit. He then firmly but kindly pointed out my white Ked sneakers were also made of animal skin. Right...

I thought of this story today because I'm going to suggest you all make and eat some bacteria. Sounds odd I know but guess what, you already are. Yogurt, sourdough bread, olives, soy sauce, and wine are all funky with fungus and bacteria. The good news is that eating bacteria is great for your body. So good in fact that Sarah of My New Roots and Elenore of Earthsprout have created a team of food bloggers to share our fermented treats for Fabulous Fermentation Week. Get your party shoes on.

If you want to learn about fermentation, what it means, and why "bacteria is your buddy" head over to My New Roots and check out Sarah's thoughtful insights (and killer kimchi recipe). My biggest question was the difference between pickling and fermenting and it turns out the answer is acid, most commonly vinegar in pickles. The acid in pickles kills bacteria while fermented foods encourage bacteria growth.

I chose to make very simple fermented jalapeños and carrots. It's a salty and sour combination I love and always look for a little kick to spice up winter meals. This is a great beginners recipe if it's your first time growing bacteria in your kitchen.

Fermented Jalapeños & Carrots
makes 3 small jars

12 jalapeño peppers
2 large carrots
4 cups water
3 tablespoons salt
3 small mason jars

1. Wash the peppers, slice in half and clean out the seeds and membranes (unless you like things extra spicy).

2. Peel the carrots, slice into 1/2" pieces on the bias.

3. Mix salt into water to dissolve fully.

4. Rinse jars and pack tightly with pepper and carrot slices. Really squish them in there as you don't want air pockets or pieces floating up the the surface. Part of the trick is to have all the vegetables completely submerged under water-the enemy is air.

5. Using a measuring scoop, gently pour brine over the vegetables to fill the jars. If pieces of pepper or carrot comes lose, simply push back down with your fingers, jam more pieces in there, rearrange the best you can so it is tight and everything is fully covered in brine.

6. Place lids on jars and let sit on your counter for about 2 weeks. They will look dull and cloudy. Taste your vegetables and when they taste just as you want them (often this is 2-3 weeks), place container in the fridge.  This will slow down the fermentation process and your peppers will be flavored nicely.

Check out all the goodness around the blogs.

Fabulous Fermentation Week Recipes:

Kimchi from My New Roots
Kimchi Wraps from Green Kitchen Stories
Sprouted Sourdough Bread from Golubka
Purple Cabbage from Earthsprout 
Fermented Beets with Orange & Thyme from Whole Promise
Kimchi Nori Rolls from Coconut & Quinoa
The Wooden Spoon
Tempeh with Goat Cheese, Greens & Strawberries from Eat it.


  1. Thank you and your sourdough looks TO DIE FOR! I'm so jealous that the loaf is in your house. Yum!

  2. If your fermented foods look cloudy, it may be the salt, or the water. Chlorinated water can do that, or minerals in the water can cause that. Usually it is using table salt. It does not cause a problem with the ferment, just clouds the water some. Using pickling salt, sea salt, or other salts that do NOT have anti-caking agents or iodine in them clears up the water nicely. :)


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