Fermentation is a key facet of Nordic food. From pickled herring to filmjölk to pickled beets, fermented foods feature frequently in the daily cuisine of Scandinavian countries.
We first got turned on to fermentation and its many virtues from Holly Davis’ book Ferment which is published by Chronicle Books. In this book, Holly offers an approachable introduction to a wide variety of fermentation processes and clearly explains the science behind them. You can find more inspiration and info on fermentation at Holly’s instagram account @hollydaviswholefood.
We love that Holly has a section on filmjölk and several ideas on what to do with it, including a tantalizing recipe entitled “Filmjölk Ice Cream with Persimmon and Honey.” We can’t wait to try that one out!
For now, we’ve been impressed with her recipe for “Carrot and Cardamom Pickle” which is pictured above. These carrots pickled in cardamom make excellent additions to salads and soups, but even stand alone just as a side or snack. We’re eager to try them out in a carrot cake! Here’s Holly’s recipe for “Carrot and Cardamom Pickle.” Enjoy!
Carrot and Cardamom Pickle
Recipe by Holly Davis. Originally published in her book Ferment by Chronicle Books. Original description: Once pickled, these little carrots retain a touch of their sweetness and deliver a very gratifying crunch. The cardamom and pepper flavors mean they partner well with any Indian-style dish, and they also make the best afternoon pick-me-up snack, a far better choice than a cookie - at least sometimes!
- 2 cups (500mL) filtered water
- 1 oz. (25g) sea salt
- 20 small, colorful carrots, well washed, tops removed
- 20 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed using a mortar and pestle
- 1/2 tsp. mixed peppercorns, cracked
- Bring 1 cup (250mL) of the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water, then take the pan off the heat and allow the brine to cool to room temperature.
- Put the carrots in a jar with the lightly crushed cardamom pods and the peppercorns. Fill the jar completely, wedging the carrots in as snugly as possible. The most important thing is that the jar is stuffed full. If you don’t use all the carrots, that’s fine; it will depend on how large or small they are.
- Steep. Pour in just enough of the cooled brine to completely cover all of the ingredients, leaving 1/2-3/4 in. (1-2cm) of space from the rim of the jar. Tap the jar gently on a folded dish cloth to dislodge any air pockets. Close the lid tightly and place the jar on a tray to catch any liquid that may leak out during fermentation.
- Leave in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight, with temperatures around 59-72°F (15-22°C) for 7-21 days, or until bubbling furiously. When the bubbles subside, the brined vegetables are ready to eat, but if you prefer them more sour, leave the jar out for another 1-2 weeks.
- Once the taste is to your liking, slow the fermentation process by storing the jar in the fridge. This pickle will keep for 12 months.
Note: If you use purple carrots in the mix, their color will bleed during fermentation and turn all of your carrots pinky-purple.