Friday, December 12, 2014
Fermentation Friday: Spicy Red Pepper Carrot Sticks Will Change Your Life!
Sadly, in the last 100 years, fermented foods have all but disappeared from our diets in this county. Even the pickles you pick up in the store are not really fermented. *gasp* Really! Commercial pickles are made using vinegar (instead of just salt and water) and then they are pasteurized, which kills all the lactic acid bacteria. In fact most "fermented" food you can buy in the store have been pasteurized!
Why do we care about lactic acid bacteria? Because it is the "good guy" when it comes to a good balance of bacteria in your digestive tract.....it's good for your gut!
Did you know in the United States, 35 million people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome!?!? Millions more suffer from gut issues like ulcers, indigestion, chronic constipation or diarrhea. By eating fermented food, you can balance out your gut and improve your health. So a carrot stick will change your life! And not just fermented carrot sticks, but any fermented veggie! We have already talked about how to make basic fermented foods, like sauerkraut and pickles on our Fermentation Friday series, so this week we are gonna kick it up a notch with some flavor!
How to make spicy red pepper carrot sticks
On my last round of fermenting, I got a little nuts. I was grabbing anything I could get my hands on and pulling things from my spice shelf. When I called my hubby and said "Do you think carrots and red pepper flakes would be good together?" his response was "Oh, ummm, I don't think so." Well boy was he wrong and I am so glad I didn't listen to him! And the great part about this recipe is if you love heat, you can add as much red pepper flack as you like. If your more of a wuss, like my mom, well you can cut back on the amount *wink* Sorry, mom!
1.) In a pint jar, combine water and salt. The amount of salt you use, depends on how strong you want your brine. I used 1 TBS and 1 tsp of pink ancient Himalayan sea salt I got from Fermentools to get a 3.5% brine.
2.) Peel your carrots and cut them up into the desired stick size. Place them in an empty pint jar. Make sure you pack them in nice and tight.
3.) Drop in a couple peeled cloves of raw garlic. I added in just 1/4 tsp of dried red pepper flakes. A little goes a long way.
4.) Pour you brine solution in over your carrot stick, leave about an inch to the rim of your jar.
5.) I have a Fermentool kit, so I next placed my glass weight on top, put on the lid and airlock and set it on the counter to "do it's thing." If you don't have a kit with an airlock (you should!) you will need to "burp" your jar ever few days.
6.) Let the carrots sit on the counter for around 5 days before transferring to the fridge.
I tasted my carrots on day 5 and they were good. By day 10, they totally rocked! The carrot sticks are firm, with a lovely taste. The red pepper flakes give it a nice low heat. And the after taste? Sometimes I eat a stick just so I can have that taste linger in my mouth! And as you can see by the almost empty jar below, the country kids like them too!
Not only are we preserving food, and learning a little science, we are as a family improving our lives..... one stick at a time.
"Pickling" food uses vinegar as the preserving agent, where as fermenting uses SALT. The salt is the kick in the butt, so to speak, to start the chemical process of breaking down the sugars in the food. Fermenting and Pickling are two different food preservation methods.