Lacto-Fermented Dilly Carrot Sticks

Today we have another guest post as part of our lacto-fermented week. If you’ve missed any of it be sure to check out my intro, Lacto-Fermented Roasted Tomato Salsa and Lacto-Fermented Escabeche. Today Cara from Health, Home, & Happiness shares with us a lovely recipe for fermented carrot sticks. For those of us who have had a hard time fermenting shredded carrots, this might be the recipe for us! I am excited to try this one.  I am sharing it today to be part of Pennywise Platter Thursday as it’s also a much more frugal than many other fermented vegetables. I asked Cara why she only used 1 tablespoon of whey instead of the 4 tablespoons that Sally Fallon calls for in Nourishing Traditions. She explained that she experimented a bit to see if she could cut down on the whey as it could be pricey to use so much of it when making a lot of fermented vegetables. She found that it worked just as well! Another frugal tip. Thanks Cara!

We love carrot sticks, and we also love the health benefits of lacrofermented foods; they are rich in probiotics that help keep the gut flora in balance which in turn allows us to digest our food and absorb nutrients better. Lactofermented Carrot Sticks are an easy ‘side dish’ to add probiotics to any meal or snack! If you have children who like to help in the kitchen, this is an easy and fun project they can help with. My toddler likes to put the carrot sticks in the jar, and pretend to peel carrots with a butter knife.

Fermented carrot sticks are also easier for little mouths to chew- perfect for young eaters.

Recipe for Lacto-Fermented Dilly Carrot Sticks

  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whey
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3 cloves of garlic, quartered (optional)
  • Filtered water

Place the carrot sticks into a quart mason jar (or other quart sized container with a lid that fits snugly) and add the rest of the ingredients, shaking gently to settle the carrots if needed.

Fill to within one inch of the top with filtered water.

Cover tightly and allow to sit at room temperature for 4-7 days; you can try them at 4 days and see if you want them to be more sour or not, to get them more sour/soft leave them out at room temperature longer. Because the carrots are more dense, they take longer to ferment than other lactoferments like sauerkraut or pickles. They also stay crunchier, which we like!

After fermenting at room temperature, keep in your fridge- they last for months!

A note about whey and dairy: We have made lactofermented veggies without using whey when my daughter was doing a strict dairy free trial. Now that she can tolerate some dairy again, we use it. I make my own whey out of yogurt. If you are dairy free, you can omit the whey and use two tablespoons of sea salt rather than one.

Are carrot sticks a frequent snack at your house like they are at mine?

Cara writes at Health, Home, & Happiness about traditional foods and healthy living. She lives in Montana with her family where they enjoy family activities outdoors during the summer months, and experimenting with cooking more during the winter.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. Jeannette says

    Hi! I have been learning how to do fermented foods for about a year now and have a question about the whey and salt used in the process. First I amd very salt sensitive and have found that even the amount of salt used in these foods are way to high for me. I have had several days in a row where my body has been very swollen and my heart pounds way to fast. Plus the water retention in my legs and hands is extremely bad. I love eating fermented foods and enjoy the health benefits. Nevertheless, the problems associated with this is not a pretty picture. How mucho sodium can I get a way with to still get a quality result in the fermented food. Secondly, I am extremely allergic to whey and dary products. What can I use instead of this to make sure my veggies and other fermented foods turn out good. Any suggestions would be helpful. I really do enjoy these types of foods and want to continue my healthy life style with fermented foods. Thanks for a awesome website and and all the good receipes.

    • Charla says

      Jeannette, are you using commercial salt? It is very toxic as all the minerals other than sodium and chlorine have been removed. Sea salt, by legal definition, has had all but 2% of the natural 16% mineral content removed. Use either Celtic salt, Himalayan salt or SEA-90 (which is only approved as an agricultural salt, but I just love it.) I grind small amounts at a time and store in glass in a dark place as some of the gasses and minerals in truly natural salt are very fragile. If all the salt grains are the same size that salt is very refined and/or processed, as it has been dissolved (and loses the delicate gasses) and re-formed usually by heating and drying to form those perfect crystals.

    • Rochie says

      Jeannette, we do dairy free lacto ferments too! Sandor Katz has a page in his book “The Art of Fermentation” about doing salt free vegetable ferments. Basically, you need a starter of some sort and increase your aromatic spices to inhibit mould etc. You can use celery stick juice diluted 50% with water instead of brine. He also suggests using seaweed and their soaking water in the jar, but that may still be too salty for you. The texture of your vegetables will not be crisp, so you may prefer to stick with chunky, hard vegies like this recipe. If you have a place to ferment the vegies that’s not too warm, that will help a bit with the texture. You want a slow fermentation.
      Perhaps it would be worth contacting Cultures for Health to see if they have a dairy-free starter. I used dripped almond yogurt (recipes on the net) for a dairy free whey. My local heath food shop had a low dairy yogurt starter from Natren I used for making it. You could possibly do the same with coconut yogurt. Dom on his site about Kefir, , describes how to use water kefir grains to make sauerkraut. You may be able to adapt his method to a range of vegie ferments. Using a scrunched up organic kale or cabbage leaf as a ‘lid’ to submerge your vegies may also introduce more lacto bacilli. Good luck, your health is worth it, and your taste buds deserve it!

  2. s hall says

    this recipe does not say anything about keeping the carrot sticks under the brine or weighing them down,i thought that was necessary to avoid mold.also do you have to open the lid to let gasses escape?
    thank you

    • Heidi says

      I too am wondering that. I made the grated carrots the way Sally Fallon said to and I didn’t have a weight, although it looked like the carrots mostly were submerged. When I went to eat them today…there was slime. Am throwing the whole jar away.

  3. Jan biemeck says

    I read somewhere to burp the brine everyday durning the fermentation process is this true? I’m hoping it is because I did after my first 24 hours

    • Mary says

      The benefit to whey is in the taste I think. It will result in a less salty result. I also have tried the fermented shredded carrots like sallyvfallon suggests, but they turned out so salty I couldn’t eat them!

  4. jennifer says

    Hey there, I was wondering if anyone else’s carrot sticks had a thin layer of white-ish stuff on the top at the end of the 7 days… this looked like mold, but I’m not sure… thanks for the great recipes and encouraging tips 🙂 I really like visiting this blog 🙂

  5. Dustbunnyland Queen says

    These are incredible. Four quarts gone a week after put into the frig. Next time more garlic. It tasted better than I thought it would. I think I can use the left over brine to incubate the next batch right? Like a couple of tablespoons and maybe a T of salt. I am thinking about doing a jar of just garlic and dilly…that would work right? What about cauliflower? The possiblilties are endless! I make kimchi/sauerkraut already, but honestly, we are still at the eat it because it is good for us stage. Everybody scarfed down these carrots without being coerced. Thanks for the recipe and the encouragement. May the Lord bless you and yours with long life and good health.

  6. Dustbunnyland Queen says

    I also wanted to ask you anout drinking the liquid that remains after the carrots are gone. I just learned they sell kimchi liquid to drink. This should work too right?

  7. Sarah says

    These are the best carrots ever!! My 2 year old son really likes them too! They will become a staple! Can this same recipe be used with other vegetables such as red peppers? Thank you so mush for posting!! 🙂

  8. Joanne says

    Question on the jars, do they need to be prepared the same as canning such as boiling in water or sterilized in an oven? Thank you

  9. Sara says

    I shredded the carrots instead and the water turned into a gel consistency… not sure if this means it’s bad? It tastes fine but the gel liquid is a little off-putting. Any wisdom on this to share with me? Thanks!

    • says

      I have the same thing happen whenever I try to make fermented shredded carrots. I’m not sure why that happens, but it does! If you don’t like that texture, try the carrot sticks, or perhaps carrot slices.

    • Carrie says

      I think they fermented too quickly. When you shred them, there is more surface area exposed, so they ferment too quickly. I know in other ferments, they turn alcoholic. Try cutting them into stick as instructed.

  10. Allyson says

    I want to try some of these dishes, but we are dairy free. I see miso used in a lot of vegan nut based cheese recipes for fermentation. Do you think a it could replace the whey?

  11. Robert says

    Did mine dairy-free by using leftover sauerkraut juice. Used 1/4 cup and just one Tbsp of sea salt–everything else the same as recipe. They were so fizzy after four days, I had to open the jar in a ziplock bag. …going to see what else I can ferment!

  12. says

    I have done several batches of ferments (cabbage + onions, carrot sticks+ ginger & jalapeño etc.) and have had excellent results with the water kefir as a sub for the whey. This may be a great answer to the no-dairy dilemma. I follow recipes the same, just sub in the water kefir that I make for the whey. I love this page – such great info for beginners as well as seasoned folks. Thanks!

  13. Leigh says

    I made these with the whey. Everytime I eat them though I get a massive headache. I am just getting into fermented foods and thought I would start my journey with these. Do you know what’s happening and what I should do about the headaches?

  14. Kathleen says

    Made these last week. They are delicious! The salt is perfect, and the brine gets so fizzy…like pop. My mom won’t touch them, but I think they’re great! And hopefully they’ll help my guts which have been bombarded with antibiotics lately.

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