Monday, September 18, 2023

Fermented carrots to preserve summer!

 I found the most stunning multicolored orange-purple carrots at the farmers market and felt inspired to make my grandmother's carrot pickle. It's tangy and complex, rich in probiotics and flavor of course, and goes atop most things but especially daal and other stews and salads. 

I learned to make a lot of things from my grandmother who learned from her relatives in Sind, before the Partition divided India and Pakistan. I was always in the kitchen with her after school and really missed her cooking when we moved away to America. Her food created a new meaning for me when I left so whenever I would go visit, I always had my recipe book in hand to try to capture her magic. Of course she had magic in her hands that I can't quite re-create but this sure is close. 

Having moved so far away from my family in USA and India all the way to Sweden, I feel the need to cling on to my roots a little more, and making my family's recipes are a way for me to do that. Moreover, from November to April, most of our vegetables in Sweden are imported and often lose their flavor during the transport, so it feels extra important to preserve the bounty of summer. 

Fermentation in a nutshell:

- Helps preserve the bounty of summer.

- Helps aid in digestion with its probiotics.

- Aids in nutrient absorption from other foods you eat it with. For instance, the fermented food boots the absorption of iron from daal if eaten together.

- Intensifies and deepens flavors, creating umami notes as well as acidic notes.

More information can be found in my article from a few years ago, and I continue to read about new health benefits of fermentation all the time! 15 reasons why you should eat fermented foods.

I've published a version of this recipe on The Feed Feed's website using baby onions, so if you have some, definitely make them! 

So here's my grandmother's recipe:

Nani's Carrot Pickle

500g organic carrots, unpeeled but clean

1 tbs salt

2 tbs whole black mustard seeds

1/2 tbs chili powder (can reduce if you like, but what's the fun in that)

1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbs mustard oil 

2 tbs grated jaggery

Filtered water to fill the jar.

1. Evenly slice your carrots, batongs work well as well. 

2. Crush mustard seeds until coarse in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Mix with the salt, chili powder, turmeric, black pepper, oil and jaggery. 

3. In an ultra-clean sterilized glass jar, alternate the carrots and the spice mix. Fill the top with filtered/recently boiled and cooled water. Make sure to leave 2 inches of room from the top so that it does not overflow while fermenting. Leave in a warm place for 2-3 days until it feels sour enough. Store in the fridge for months! 

Always use sterilized spoons so that the pickle does not pick up unwanted bacteria. 

Please let me know if you make this, I'd love to know what you think. 

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