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