Thyme and Jalapeño 
Pickled Carrots
Recipe type: ferment
Cuisine: american
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 quart
The thyme gives these pickles a unique smoky flavor and the jalapeño lends a spicy kick. For less spice, cut the jalapeño in half and remove the seeds. This will give you a milder pickle without losing the jalapeño flavor. If you really do not like spicy, you could omit the jalapeño entirely. This recipe comes from the gorgeous book, Recipes from the Herbalist's Kitchen.
For the Pickled Carrots
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 8–10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4–5 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch-long, 
¼-inch-thick sticks
For the Brine
  • 2 cups nonchlorinated water (we recommend this water filter)
  • 1 tablespoon noniodized salt, such as this sea salt
  1. Place the whole jalapeño, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns into a clean 1-quart mason jar. 
Put the carrot sticks in on top of the herbs 
and spices, packing them in tightly. Leave 
½ to ¾ inch of headroom at the top of the jar.
  2. Prepare the brine: Warm ¼ cup of the water, add the salt, and stir until dissolved. Stir that salty water into the rest of the water.
  3. Pour enough brine over the carrots to cover them by ¼ inch. (You should have enough brine, but make more if you need to.) Put the lid on the jar and set aside to ferment at room temperature. I leave my fermenting carrots 
on the kitchen counter by the sink to make the next step easier.
  4. As the fermentation progresses, gas will form inside the jar. Without actually taking the lid off, loosen the lid of the jar to release the 
pressure. I do this over the sink, as sometimes the jar contents will bubble up and some of the brine can leak out. Leave the lid loosened until the bubbles stop, then tighten the lid back down and let the jar ferment for another day. Do this daily for the first week.
  5. At the end of the week, remove the lid completely to make sure the brine still covers the carrots by ¼ inch; any carrots exposed to air may mold. Add more brine as needed and tighten the lid back on the jar.
  6. Now set the carrots aside in a cool, dark spot to ferment for 4 weeks. Check them every week to make sure there is still sufficient brine covering the carrots and to release any pressure. It is common for a powdery-looking film, called kahm yeast, to form on the surface of the brine. You may also see spots of mold, which will 
usually form in a thicker layer and may look hairy or textured. The brine itself may also grow cloudy, which is normal. As long as the mold growth is on the surface of the ferment and hasn’t penetrated the vegetables themselves, you can simply use a clean spoon to scrape off the mold and as much of the yeast as you can, and it’s perfectly safe to continue to ferment or to eat the vegetables.
  7. Begin to taste the carrots after 4 weeks. They should be sour, spicy, and a little smoky tasting (that comes from the thyme!). They should still be crunchy, but not as much as a raw carrot. If they still seem raw, or you want them softer, they have not fermented long enough; replace the lid and give them another 1 to 3 weeks. The speed of fermentation will vary depending on the ambient temperature. They will ferment faster in warmer temperatures and slower in cooler temperatures.
  8. When you like the taste, store the carrots in the refrigerator, where they will keep for 6 months. Once they are refrigerated, the carrots do not have to be submerged beneath the brine; the cold will keep them from spoiling.
Excerpted from Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen, © by Brittany Wood Nickerson, photography by © Keller+Keller Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
Recipe by Nourished Kitchen at