Mar
30

Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

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I wasn’t aware until recently that the use of a Pickl-It instead of a mason jar is controversial. I have to admit that I was surprised because the backlash against the Pickl-it seems to be based mostly on the cost of the equipment and not on the science behind why it is needed or how fermention and gut healing works. So let’s look at all three issues. Today we’re go over the health effects of lactic acid bacteria and in a future post we’ll go over more details on how to produce them.

The problem with this comparison is that, although many in the fermentation world are making it, it isn’t accurate.  The Pickl-It is not rivaled against the mason jar.  It is rivaled against the Harsch crock.  Both the Pickl-It and the Harsch are anaerobic.  The other methods, such as an open crock or a mason jar, produce a different type of product with a different bacterial profile.  So all of the buzz about the difference between the Pickl-It and the mason jar isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.  We’ll go into great detail on these differences throughout the series.

First, I want to state up front that I have no financial ties to Pickl-It or their producers and I receive no incentive, no kick-back or other perk for my endorsement of their products. I endorse them because they work.  I own both the Pickl-It and a Harsch Crock.

I believe this discussion is more critical for those who have gut issues, mold allergies or are trying to heal a health problem, but it’s still very important in the long-run for all fermenters to know the differences and the benefits and drawbacks to every available method. If you’re obviously healthy and have no need of gut healing, then there are likely pieces of kitchen equipment that need to take a higher priority on your spending list and you can put the Pickl-It on your list for after things like a crock-pot. However, if you are trying to heal your gut or having health problems, I consider a Pickl-It to be one of the first things for which you save. We’ll discuss that more later.

 

The Cost

Since the most of the outcry against the Pickl-It seems to be about the cost, we’ll start there.

I really don’t consider the Pickl-it expensive. I’m scratching my head over that one considering one of the 1-1/2 Ls including shipping ($40 to NC) is less than a quality crock-pot ($100), a grain mill ($179 on the low end), or most other equipment for a TF kitchen.  If you needed more, you could purchase three of the 5Ls for $135.15 including shipping to NC. That’s a comparable cost to other major items that are a small appliance. On the flip side, you save money from not having to throw out batches that go bad, get moldy or go soggy after a couple of months, so you’re saving additional money.

If you’re healing your gut, you likely wouldn’t blink about spending that much for supplements for one month. Isn’t a high-LAB food a major supplement to return you to health? It’s cheaper to ferment correctly than to have gut problems for longer periods of time and have to invest in more supplements and use the more expensive foods. Not to mention the suffering or possibly having to undo problems from the bad bacteria you introduced!

And as a blogger AND as a mother who doesn’t want to give my kids food poisoning, I would never hesitate to recommend the needed equipment. I don’t think any TF bloggers recommend unsafe canning methods to prevent having to purchase a pressure canner or inferior baking results from grinding grain in a normal blender. Fermentation really should not be any different.

 

The Issue of Probitics

Last I looked, Bio-Kult was expensive compared to comparable probiotics. $42 for one bottle on Amazon right now. In the beginning stages of GAPS or other gut-healing protocols, that $42 bottle wouldn’t even last you a month.

So if you can heal yourself one month faster by using high-LAB ferments from a Pickl-It (and I believe it would be faster), you save money in the long run while experiencing less misery. Having personally been through the gut healing process myself, I can say that less misery was worth a lot of money in my book.

 

The Science of Lactic Acid Bacteria

So let’s look at WHY these little probiotics, lactic acid bacteria (LABs) are the most important type to get into your food and into your gut.

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.” – Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89

You are undoubtedly familiar with LABs thanks to heavy marketing from yogurt makers about how their product is so healthy. However, LABs primarily occur on the outsides of fruits and vegetables. LABs are also used to make another product you know well- fermented cod liver oil!

So why do we want LABs instead of other species?  The short of it is that most all of the benefits you associate with fermented food are actually from LABs.  LABs are known to:

  • Improve lactose intolerance. [1]
  • Many studies have shown that LABs prevent, controls or stops viral diarrhea. [2-5]
  • Might possibly play a role in preventing and controlling bacterial diarrhea including form sources such as E. Coli. [6-7, 17-18]
  • Prevents or lessens diarrhea from antibiotics. [8]
  • Stimulates the immune system to resist invasion via increasing phagocytosis. [9]
  • Stabilizes [10] and reverses [11] intestinal permeability. This is why LABs are SO critical to those healing from leaky gut and food intolerances!
  • Improves immune response when orally exposed to an allergen. [12-13]
  • Is thought to possibly play an anti-inflammatory role in the body.  [14]
  • Enhances immunity to a variety of illnesses.  I have listed a few here but the Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods by Farnworth lists many, many more. [15-16, 19-23]
  • Is known to decrease constipation and improve gut motility.
  • May decrease the occurrence of kidney stones.
  • Breaks down carbohydrates for easier digestion.
  • Possibly increases the seretonin produced in the gut.

 

Why Airtight is So Important

Research shows that LAB thrives best in an anaerobic environment as that removes their competitors that require oxygen. Anaerobic means that oxygen is not present; aerobic means that oxygen is present. In order to get LABs to proliferate, you must have an anaerobic environment to encourage their growth while discouraging the growth of all non-beneficial species, especially the aerobic ones. We’ll go over this in detail in later posts, as it will require a good bit of writing to answer all the questions surrounding this issue.

In order to get an anaerobic environment for home fermentation you need two things- a seal that prevents oxygen from entering and a way for carbon dioxide to escape. Open air fermentation will not produce large concentrations of LABs as they will have to compete with oxygen-loving bacteria for space and food. As the bacteria produce carbon dioxide and use up the oxygen, it reduces the population of undesirable, aerobic bacteria and allows the LAB to flourish in the oxygenless environment. The  Pickl-It and a Harsch provides this type of environment, as it as an airtight seal and an airlock for the growing carbon dioxide to escape.

 

But I Thought Mason Jars Were Airtight?

They are once you have canned in them.  The airtight nature comes not from the threads holding the lid onto the lip of the jar but from the heat processing.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve an airtight lock in a mason jar without heat. In fact, once that heat processing is through, the common recommendation is to remove the rings from the jars to prevent rusting. I store all of my home-canned goods without rings.

When you purchase or make a homemade air-lock for a mason jar, you’ll notice the common advice is to place a plate underneath in case you have liquid seepage out of the mason jar threads. There is little difference between the size of a molecule of water and a molecule of oxygen.  It is impossible to get a seal tight enough in conditions outside of a lab to get your mason jar airtight. To know your set-up is airtight, you must see any seepage go into the airlock and not out the sides of the jar. Seepage, of course, can be prevented by not over-filling the jars, but where your seepage goes when it does happen is a very important indicator of where oxygen can get in.

As far as air goes, the threads on a mason jar might as well be The Grand Canyon. They will not prevent air from getting into your ferments. A wire bail and a thick rubber ring is required to provide enough pressure for an airtight seal. This is why the mason jar and the Pickl-It are not competitors.  They might both be made of glass, but they do not function the same way.

Obviously, traditional cultures didn’t use mason jars. They used crocks, animal skins and other means, such as pits, that were buried. When you bury something, it’s air-tight and doesn’t allow oxygen to enter. In the case of animal skins, the skin allows carbon dioxide to escape but it doesn’t allow oxygen in.

 

My Conclusions

In conclusion, if you want the benefits you associate with probiotic intake, you must be taking in lactic acid bacteria. LABs are best produced in an environment without oxygen. Currently, a Pickl-It or a Harsch is the only way I know to achieve that short of setting up a lab in your house.

Most of the people who frequent my blog who interact with me are wishing to heal their guts. And that is the bottom line of why I recommend airtight fermentation. You won’t get as much of the good stuff you associate with probiotic intake with air reaching your ferments.

All that being said, if you really can’t afford to purchase one right now, then continue using a mason jar while saving money for a Pickl-It. I say that with the caveat that I recommend you watch for mold and discard *anything* that goes moldy, even the ‘harmless’ white mold, if you’re trying to heal your gut. I encourage you to save as you can and purchase a Pickl-It as soon as you can to speed you on your way with your healing journey.

In my next post we’ll go over, in more detail, how airtight conditions produce LABs and my own experience with having no healing from mason jar ferments.

 

 

References
[1] Marteau P, Flourie B, Pochart P, Chastang C, Desjeux JF, Ram- baud JC: Effect of the microbial lactase (EC 3.2.1.23) activity in yoghurt on the intestinal absorption of lactose: an in vivo study in lactase-deficient humans. Br J Nutr 64:71–79, 1990.
[2] Pene P, Linhard J, Bernou JC: The colibacillus-lactobacillus com- bination in the treatment of diarrhea in adults, children and infants. Sem Hop 42:241–244, 1966.
[3] Camatte R: [Microbiologic compensation of oral antibiotherapy and treatment of acute infectious diarrhea with a new compound preparation based on lactic enzymes]. Gaz Med Fr 73:138–141, 1966.
[4] Pearce JL, Hamilton JR: Controlled trial of orally administered lactobacilli in acute infantile diarrhea. J Pediatr 84:261–262, 1974.
[5] Gregori G, de Angelis GL, Caprio P, Banchini G: Use of oral bacteria therapy in childhood during acute enteritis and functional chronic diarrhea. Clinical experience. Acta Biomed Ateneo Par-mense 56:23–26, 1985.
[6] Foster TL, Winans L, Jr., Carski TR: Evaluation of lactobacillus preparation on eterotoxigenic E. coli-induced rabbit ileal loop reactions. Am J Gastroenterol 73:238–243, 1980.
[7] Rani B, Khetarpaul N: Probiotic fermented food mixtures: possible applications in clinical anti-diarrhoea usage. Nutr Health 12:97– 105, 1998.
[8] Contardi I: Oral bacterial therapy in prevention of antibiotic- induced diarrhea in childhood. Clin Ter 136:409–413, 1991.
[9] Schiffrin EJ, Rochat F, Link-Amster H, Aeschlimann JM, Donnet- Hughes A: Immunomodulation of human blood cells following the ingestion of lactic acid bacteria. J Dairy Sci 78:491–497, 1995.
[10] Isolauri E, Kaila M, Arvola T, Majamaa H, Rantala I, Virtanen E, Arvilommi H: Diet during rotavirus enteritis affects jejunal per- meability to macromolecules in suckling rats. Pediatr Res 33:548– 553, 1993.
[11] Isolauri E, Majamaa H, Arvola T, Rantala I, Virtanen E, Ar- vilommi H: Lactobacillus casei strain GG reverses increased in- testinal permeability induced by cow milk in suckling rats. Gas- troenterology 105:1643–1650, 1993.
[12] Isolauri E, Joensuu J, Suomalainen H, Luomala M, Vesikari T: Improved immunogenicity of oral DRRV reassortant rotavirus vaccine by Lactobacillus casei GG. Vaccine 13:310–312, 1995.
[13] Takahashi T, Nakagawa E, Nara T, Yajima T, Kuwata T: Effects of orally ingested Bi fidobacterium longum on the mucosal IgA response of mice to dietary antigens. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 62:10–15, 1998.
[14] Antonopoulou S, Semidalas CE, Koussissis S, Demopoulos C: Platelet-activating factor (PAF) antagonists in foods: A study of lipids with PAF or anti-PAF like activity in cow’s milk and yogurt. J Agric Food Chem 44:3047–3051, 1996.
[15] Ouwehand, A. C., Salminen, S. & Isolauri, E. (2002) Antoin van Leeuwenhoek 82 , 279–289.
[16] Vitini, E., Alvarez, S., Medina, M. Medici, M., de Budeguer M. V. & Perdigón, G. (2000) Biocell 24 , 223–232.
[17] Ingrassia, I., Leplingard, A., Darfeuille-Michaud, A.: Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001 Inhibits the Ability of Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli Isolated from Crohn’s Disease Patients To Adhere to and To Invade Intestinal Epithelial Cells. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 June; 71(6): 2880–2887.
[18] Reid, G, Burton, J: Use of Lactobacillus to prevent infection by pathogenic bacteria. Microbes and Infection, Volume 4, Issue 3, March 2002, Pages 319-324.
[19] de Vrese M, Winkler P, Rautenberg P, Harder T, Noah C, Laue C, Ott S, Hampe J, Schreiber S, Heller K, Schrezenmeir J. Clin Nutr. 2005 Aug;24(4):481-91. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri PA 16/8, Bi fidobacterium longum SP 07/3, B. bifidum MF 20/5 on common cold episodes: a double blind, randomized, controlled trial.
[20] Weizman Z, Asli G, Alsheikh A. Effect of a probiotic infant formula on infections in child care centers: comparison of two probiotic agents. Pediatrics. 2005 Jan;115(1):5-9.
[21] Winkler P, de Vrese M, Laue Ch, Schrezenmeir J. Effect of a dietary supplement containing probiotic bacteria plus vitamins and minerals on common cold infections and cellular immune parameters. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Jul;43(7):318-26.
[22] Turchet P, Laurenzano M, Auboiron S, Antoine JM. Effect of fermented milk containing the probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN-114001 on winter infections in free-living elderly subjects: a randomised, controlled pilot study. J Nutr Health Aging. 2003;7(2):75-7.
[23] Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Ponka A, Meurman JH, Poussa T, Nase L, Saxelin M, Korpela R. Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. BMJ. 2001, 2;322(7298):1327.

 

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KerryAnn Foster runs Intentionally Domestic, formerly Cooking Traditional Foods.  Intentionally Domestic is the home of the longest running real food meal plan on the internet, now in its eighth volume.

KerryAnn has over eleven years of real food experience.  Read about KerryAnn’s journey to health through multiple miscarriages, celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies and intolerances, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals. She is also an It Works! Independent Distributor and she loves that crazy wrap thing!

Founded in 2005, we help you feed your family nourishing foods they will love.  With two choices of Menu Mailers, multiple eBooks, Print Books and video-based classes, KerryAnn makes real food easy, accessible, affordable and family friendly for everyone.

KerryAnn founded Nourished Living Network, a network for traditional food and natural living bloggers, in 2011. NLN provides support, publicity and networking opportunities for bloggers all across the traditional foods spectrum. Our Recipe Gallery features recipes from the fifty member blogs and growing.

 

 

Comments

  1. Bethany says:

    So here’s my dumb question. What about the method described in Wild Fermentation where you ferment in an open crock with a weighted plate keeping the fermenting food fully submerged under water to provide the anaerobic environment? This seems like a very traditional way to ferment . . .
    Bethany recently posted..Maple Pecan Slow-cooker Sweet Potatoes: Simple and Sweet

    • Bethany,

      The air coming into contact with the water keeps it from being anaerobic. It isn’t just what’s happening on the surface of the veggies, the brine matters, too.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

      • Chris says:

        It the air coming into contract with the brine kept it from being anaerobic then there would be no lacto fermentation but regular fermentation (alcohol production from yeast).

        Yogurt is a lacto fermentation and it does not need to be sealed off from the air and still has LABs.

        I will say that it does take variables out of the process that could cause a batch to go bad (no air movement, keeping yeast from being reintroduced, evaporation control) but that LABs are somehow so more highly concentrated compared to open air is false.

        Everything that I have read on this no one has actually did a test to count how much LABs were in one open air compared to sealed (fact the say it would cost them too much) so how do they truly know the answer is they do not.

        • KerryAnn says:

          Chris, when in a closed system, fermentation starts and the ‘air’ is actually pushed out of the vessel and only carbon dioxide remains floating on the surface of the brine. So, yes, it does give an anaerobic environment and minimizes the chances of alcohol formation. I address issues such as this in my post called ‘I thought it was anaerobic as long as it was under the brine?!?’ that you can find a link to in the ‘Related Posts’ section.

          There is a great body of knowledge about yogurt actually not having many LABS due to oxygen exposure. The dairy industry has a lot of great research on how their packaging and air exposure actually kills off the vast majority of those LABS and how they should fix that problem.

          As per LAB concentration, google can turn up some great info done by college classes that shows your supposition about LAB levels to be inaccurate.

  2. I love my Pickl-it! I usually use it to ferment my vegetables, then store them in a gallon glass jar in the fridge. Hmmmm….now I am wondering if I should be using it for my beet kvass. I have it out on the counter in a gallon glass jar with a lid, but perhaps it should be in my Pickl-It?
    FarmgirlCyn (Cindy) recently posted.."Gourmet" Finishing Salts…

  3. Alyssa says:

    I love my Pickl-Its!! No more slimy carrots, moldy kraut, or other unsavory wastes of produce and time. The health benefits are bigger, the results way more uniform, and both are guaranteed thanks to the truly anaerobic environment (as opposed to the guess work using mason jars and crocks, where you likely have bad bacteria growing). Definitely a must-have in every traditional foods kitchen.
    Alyssa recently posted..Pickl-It Lacto-Fermented Cherry Chutney

  4. Jean says:

    I have had good luck making kraut and other ferments using mason jars AND using my great grandmother’s ceramic crock with a weighted plate on top for large batches. You have to be more careful to keep air out but it totally works.

    Nothing against Pickle-it jars. Am sure they are easier to work with.

    • Jean, I do have a Harsch. However, the Pickl-It allows me to turn out smaller, faster batches and I don’t have to run stairs and work with heavy equipment. Plus, if you ever get mold into a crock, you can’t get it out.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

    • Lea Ann says:

      Hello Jean,

      When I first learned that the “fermented” foods I was making in my crock (with a plate) and in my mason jars was not truly “fermented” (an anaerobic process), my initial reaction was to feel as you did.

      But the definition of “totally works” is not just that you create a great tasting batch of veggies, but that the LAB content is as high as possible.

      I just got my first order of Pickl-it jars, and will be making my first batches of fermented veggies in them today.

      I’ve been doing the mason jar and the crock method for 3 months now, and a question I always had was, “why is it that I can’t even take 1/8 of a pro-biotic pill without a severe herxheimer reaction, but I can consume large bowls full of my veggie “ferments” with no major reaction?” Now I am suspecting that it is because there aren’t the large colonies of LABs in my “ferments”.

      I will be eager to see if my new Ferments give me a herxheimer reaction. Then, I will know for sure that the Pickl-it creates the LABs that we are all after, while my mason jars and crock-methods do not.

      Hope this is helpful!
      Lea Ann recently posted..Updated Vitamix Lady website launched!

  5. lydia says:

    Okay, so first off I’m gonna say, I am not against using the Pickl-It. I do not own one personally, so I cannot vouch for their results by experience. I do wanna throw my few cents into the discussion though, just to add a little more to consider. My instructor Caroline Barringer, owner of Immunitrition (they sell fermented veggies), told me that they had their veggies tested recently. The pH of the veggies tested were 3.47, 3.55, and 3.57 for each of their different blends. The FDA wants cultured foods to have a pH of 3.8 or under ideally, but under 4.0 for sure. Otherwise you have to add pure, food-grade lactic acid to the food for it to be considered shelf stable and/or self-preserved. With a pH as low as 3.47, the lactic acid content is VERY high. Again, this is from veggies that were done in mason jars. Also, to note, and I thought this was profound, they had their veggies tested and just 1 gram contained 54 billion live bacteria. That’s quite a lot, now they did use a culture starter, so it’s true that a wild ferment may not be quite as high. Yet still, I think those are profound results.
    I thought I’d share that for those who are concerned that they aren’t getting great results with their mason jars because of a post like this. I certainly think the Pickl-It jars have benefit and merit, but I am sure our ancestors did not do it this way, which is why I have not gone the route of the P.I. as well as the upfront cost. I agree that long term as you compare it to other kitchen expenses it may be a very sensible purchase, but for the amount of fermenting some of us do, like me who currently has at least a dozen to 3 dozen jars going at all times, it’s just not tangible. So, I thought I’d offer some encouraging news to the ‘wild fermenters’ out there.
    Also, I have not had many batches of ferments go bad at all in my mason jars, except for in the beginning when I didn’t know what I was doing. I have never had mold, or mushy, except for some bread and butter pickles that got frozen in the back of the fridge then ended up a bit mushy. I do think that if I were to get a Pickl-It for anything it would be those pickles, and I have considered it. But I had jars of them in my fridge still good 6 months later (and that is all they lasted because we ate them up).
    Besides, all the bacteria we get from ferments is transient in nature, it does not technically repopulate our guts, it goes in, does it’s job and then goes out in the feces. So, regardless of which method produces MORE we still have to eat it every day and regularly because it’s just passing through. Hope that helps – not trying to sabotage your post KA, just offering some further thoughts and perspective.
    lydia recently posted..These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

    • Lydia,

      Our ancestors DID do ferments anaerobically. If you look at all of the various fermenting methods used historically, they’re all anaerobic in nature. In fact, many of the traditional ferments were buried or put into clay. Clay is anaerobic- it lets CO2 out but it doesn’t let oxygen in! And, of course, buried can’t get oxygen.

      Total bacterial count and total lactic acid count are two different things. Any fermentation type allows bacteria to proliferate. The difference is WHAT is proliferating. So while 54 billion does sound impressive, there’s no break-down of what types and if they’re LABs or not. pH is not the only factor affecting the production of LABs. LABs will not proliferate in an environment with oxygen, study after study has shown that.

      Living in the South, I have had a lot of ferments go bad, spanning across three different houses in three different locations and even sterilizing the jars before starting didn’t help. I believe location does affect the results.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

      • lydia says:

        Kerry Ann,

        I am compelled by all of this and starting to dig deeper and research more. Are the study after studies that you are referring to the ones you have linked to in the end of your post? Also, lactic acid bacteria are there a variety of these strains of bacteria with a name other than LABS? Or is it just referring to the bacteria that proliferates FROM the lactic acid on the veggies alone? From what I understand these bacteria are transient in nature, like I mentioned before and do not technically repopulate our gut, only native bacteria strains do. There is some amount of native bacteria in Bio-Kult along with transient, though it mostly contains transient. So Bio-Kult is a superior ‘pricey’ product for a reason. The native bacteria actually do stay in the gut and repopulate it. So, I guess I am trying to get to the bottom of some things here – not saying Pickl-It isn’t a worthy investment, BUT what I am thinking is that it would behoove people to take a high grade probiotic in addition to ferments, such as BioKult or PreScript Assist (which actually is ONLY native bacteria, as opposed to both native and transient). We need both, but the native are the ones that actually colonize our gut. I would think that this would truly speed up healing even more.
        lydia recently posted..These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

        • Lydia, I haven’t yet done the post about how and why LABs proliferate. That’s coming up in part two, which I hope to have ready next week. The Functional Hanbook of Fermented Foods is available on Google Books and you can read a good bit of it for free between google and Amazon. I want to get a copy but it’s hard to find.

          LABs are about 60 species named lactobacilii. Lactobacilli refers to a genus grouping and they’re naturally occurring on the skins of fruits and veggies. Many other species can proliferate in ferments, including aerobic species, and they don’t have the same health benefits.

          I’m pretty sure I’ve read about LAB colonization somewhere within the last week. I need to dig it up.
          KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

        • I was finally able to get the time to look up studies. Some LABs do colonize- Lactobacillus plantarum and reuteri have multiple studies showing colonization. Plantarum appears to be effective against E. Coli. There were others but I didn’t have enough time to look at them right now. LAB colonization levels were connected to a reduced occurrence of some conditions and diseases.

          Another thing to consider is that even if a particular species of LAB doesn’t colonize, their metabolites, the enzymes they produce, the catalysts they produce, their IgA and IgM secretion stimulation in the gut and the like can still be beneficial. I’ve read but I haven’t yet confirmed, that high-LAB foods can take the place of digestive enzymes. I still have a lot more research to do. The more I read and learn, the more I find I need to learn!
          KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Pickl-It Q&A: Answering Your Questions

    • Jason says:

      Lydia – I too would love to know what strains of bacteria were in those 54 billion, that would be very telling.

      KerryAnn – Thank you for this open discussion and I’m looking forward to your next post. If you don’t cover this in the post, do you know if any bacteria other than LAB’s produce lactic acid? If no, then wouldn’t pH (assuming lactic acid is the main acid being produced) be some sort of test for amount of LAB’s in your ferments?

      For example:

      Kraut Batch #1 (produced aerobically open-crock style): Day 1 (pH 4.3) Day 14 (pH 3.8)
      Kraut Batch #2 (produced anaerobically airlock style) Day 1 (pH 4.3) Day 14 (pH 3.5)

      If both batches were made from the same crop of cabbage, same amount of salt at the same time, but the second batch produced a lower pH (more lactic acid) in the same amount of time, wouldn’t that tell you there are more LAB’s in that batch?

      • Jason, I’ve been asking around to see if anyone has any testing done so we can know what species are in ferments made differently and how many.

        I’ve got pH paper here. I’ll see if it goes low enough I can test what I have on hand. It would take 12 weeks to get answers, though.
        KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Pickl-It Q&A: Answering Your Questions

  6. Christina says:

    Wouldn’t a harsch crock provide an anaerobic environment as well? My beef with the pickle-it’s is that they are made of common jars with a $1.50 airlock installed. Seems like a DIY project with a hefty price tag.

    • Harsch does provide an anaerobic environment. I own one myself. I got tired of running up and down stairs and only being able to do huge batches and once you get mold in a Harsch, you CAN’T get it out no matter what you do.

      DIY won’t be airtight and provide LABs and this isn’t a quality product that you could make at home. The Pickl-It is not a common jar, it’s extremely thick, thicker than a mason jar and it isn’t a $1.50 airlock. They’re very high quality and meant to last a lifetime. None of the parts are cheap, made in China crap. Pickl-It initially went the airlock-added-to-a-jar route until testing showed it wasn’t airtight and didn’t produce high levels of LABs. It wasn’t until then that they switched to providing the jars as well as part of a whole system to ensure that it is airtight.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

    • Alyssa says:

      I own a photography business, and some people wonder why my prints are so much more than what they would pay if they got prints at Walmart or Target. But when people buy prints from me, they’re not just reimbursing me for the paper they’re printed on; my clients are paying me for everything from my time spent with them, the years I’ve spent educating myself, all of the equipment and licensing it takes to run a legal business, my time spent editing, etc. This is how businesses work, they have to build the cost of researching, producing, and marketing their product in order to stay in business.

      It’s the same thing with Pickl-It. You’re not simply paying for a jar and airlock, and it’s not just as simple as a DIY project you could do yourself. You’re paying for everything – the research they did to verify safety of all of the parts (a few years ago I bought wire bail jars from Walmart and later found they have lead in the glass AND metal latch. Waste of money and unnecessary health hazard in my home!) along with the trial and error of perfecting the system (have you ever tried drilling through glass? I wonder how many lids broke when they were starting out, and if they still break occasionally now during drilling? Would you know where to get bpa-free, food-grade grommets? Lead-free glass weights in the right size and shape for use with the jars?) You’re also supporting a small family-owned business, and a website that is a wealth of helpful information backed by scientific studies and other resources. Have you browsed http://www.pickl-it.com? I could spend all day reading the articles and recipes…

      Sure, technically you could DIY. But you’d spend WAY more time and money coming out with the same safe product. I’ve calculated that it’s more efficient to just buy the finished product from them and take advantage of their website – let them do all the work for me and save me time and aggravation – so that I can put my time and energy toward my own business, my family, and other things I love.
      Alyssa recently posted..Pickl-It Lacto-Fermented Cherry Chutney

    • Alyssa says:

      Oh, and the customer service cannot be beat; they are some of the most helpful, passionate, and kind-hearted people I’ve ever spoken to. Can you tell they’ve made a customer for life out of me? I owe much of my family’s health to their wonderful product and their generosity with time and information.
      Alyssa recently posted..Pickl-It Lacto-Fermented Cherry Chutney

      • Yes, Kathleen has always provided amazing customer service. I’ve been nothing but pleased with them and their product and I love knowing that it’s safe. Everything is lead-free and Kathleen has been meticulous in making sure it’s all high quality, safe items. If she wouldn’t expose her own kids to it, she wouldn’t expose your kids to it, either.

        A workman who turns out quality products is always worth the wage.
        KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

  7. lydia says:

    One more thought – you don’t have to use the metal 2 part lids with the mason jars, you can use the solid one piece plastic lids instead.
    lydia recently posted..These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

  8. Baffled says:

    I was in HomeGoods a few months ago and picked up two gorgeous locking jars for about $5 each. One is 1.5L and the other is one gallon. They are both from Italy and have fully functioning lids with rubber seals. I guess I was lucky. I didn’t know these types of jars were so expensive.
    Baffled recently posted..Holding Pattern

  9. lydia says:

    Okay – I’m back! I just couldn’t lay all of this to rest. It’s hard enough for newbies and others to feel that frustration and overwhelment that they need to invest in more stuff in order to ‘do it right’. So, after reading and researching and talking with Caroline (owner of Immunitrition), I have discovered it is possible to have an anaerobic ferment in a mason jar, if you do the following. (which I do for veggies)

    Place the veggies in the jar well packed with brine, in the case of sauerkraut it’s own brine, in other cases, added brine. Use a culture starter if desired for a more ‘controlled’ ferment. Make sure the veggies are completely under the brine. Use a cabbage leaf and push down over the veggies, top with a weight or rocks (I got mine from the dollar store, the decorative smooth kind) keep it all under the brine with an inch of head space remaining. If it all stays under the leaf, the weights and the brine it will be anaerobic and it WILL produce LABS.

    The idea, is to make sure it’s anaerobic. Mason jar fermenting can be successful at producing these good bacteria.

    I AM considering a Pickl-It for my beet kvass!
    lydia recently posted..These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

    • Unfortunately, keeping the food under the water does not define anaerobic. That is poor advice. I’m sorry. If that was the case, as long as the food stays under the water, you could leave it in a bowl so you wouldn’t need a mason jar.

      The fact is, oxygen exchange continues into the brine as long as oxygen continues to be let in. I’ll be posting more about this later in the series, I’m working on the posts now.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..What’s in Season- April

  10. Jane says:

    I didn’t know there was controversy over Pickl-It. I bought a Pickle, Sauerkraut and Kimchi maker a few years ago that has a similar valve in the lid, but I am guessing the Pickl-It may be easier to make airtight.

    • Jane, the valve is only one piece of the puzzle. The airtight seal which prevents air exchange is the critical piece. If your ferment is not completely sealed and airtight, the airlock is just for looks and giggles.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..What’s in Season- April

      • Jason says:

        I use a similar system as the Pickle, Kimchi and Sauerkraut maker that uses a 3-piece airlock. It comprises of a glass jar, plastic lid, rubber grommet and 3-piece airlock. there is no special rubber seal between the plastic lid and glass jar. According to my experiments, it is airtight.

        In my fermenting process, I can see the inner sleeve in the airlock rise…this will only happen in an airtight container, such as the Pickl-It. As CO2 is released, it exits via any means possible…in an airtight system with an airlock, the only way of exit is through the airlock. While the inner sleeve is elevated, if I slightly unscrew the plastic lid, the sleeve will immediately descend because the CO2 has found an easier exit (through the opening created on the top of the jar and the now loosened lid). I have also done this with mason jars, using the plastic storage lids with an airlock in a rubber grommet on top. I get the same result in the mason jars, where I can see the CO2 escaping by pushing up the inner sleeve of the airlock. After the active fermentation is done (4-7 days), the sleeve descends as less CO2 is being released.

        I have also used the S-type airlocks, which allow for easier, more accurate viewing of the gas pressure inside the chamber as compared to the atmospheric pressure. I get very similar results.

        My question here is to Pickl-It users:

        Once active fermentation is complete (3-7 days, more or less), do you notice if the inner sleeve of the airlock stays elevated or does it drop down? If you can’t tell, if you crack open the jar, does the inner sleeve change position? What I am curious about is the small amounts of CO2 being released post the most active fermentation stage. If Pickl-It users are finding that, on average, the inner sleeve stays elevated during week 2, 3, 4+ (elevated at least above its resting position where there no gas pushing it up), then the Pickle-It system is more airtight than some of the other methods using an airlock.

        • There is no such thing as ‘more airtight.’ Either something is completely hermetic (air-tight) or it is not. If it’s a little leaky, then it isn’t airtight. Even small amounts of oxygen do affect the fermentation process and encourage the aerobic bacteria to stay, and that’s what you don’t want in your food.

          The Pickl-It needs the airlock to remain on past the active fermentation stage. Yes, the airlock does stay elevated after you transfer it to the fridge. After it’s been in the fridge for 2 or more weeks and the airlock drops completely, then you can switch to the Plug’r to handle the small amounts of off-gassing that occur.
          KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Pickl-It Q&A: Answering Your Questions

          • Jason says:

            Hi KerryAnn –

            Thanks for your reply. I guess I will have to figure out how to test my set up for airtightness. It seems airtight to me, but there must be some way to verify this as I’m sure the Pickl-It folks did.

            At what point do you plastic your Pickl-It jar (with airlock still in place) in the fridge? I mean, how many days at what temperature do you ferment it before putting it in the fridge?

            Come to think about it, I usually taste test my ferments after 2 weeks (and thus the airlock descends because I’ve broken the seal) before fermenting another 2-3 weeks. This has been this winter, temps averaging 66F. I will have to leave the next jar alone and see what happens after 4 weeks…if the airlock is still suspended.

          • Jason, we’re working on some ideas to test airtightness of different set-ups. I know other folks have test results showing it, but I’d like to try to get it on camera if I can.

            I put the Pickl-It in the fridge once we know active CO2 release is done. Once I see the bubbling has stopped, I transfer it to the fridge then give it a couple of weeks in the fridge before I dig in. With sauerkraut, I give it 7-10 on the counter then about 11 weeks in the fridge. I try to ferment between 68-72 as that gives the best results.
            KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Pickl-It Q&A: Answering Your Questions

  11. PattyLA says:

    This is very intriguing. Last fall I made a bunch of sauerkraut. I used 2 qt jars. I put a 1/2 cup jelly jar in the mouth of the jar. This held the cabbage under the brine. Then I put the lid on and put a small hole in the lid. I covered the hole with a tab that was held tight to the lid but didn’t stick to the hole part (it is difficult to describe, it is used in my vacuum sealer.) So theoretically this tab will only let stuff out and nothing in although it certainly isn’t perfect.
    I also haven’t ever had liquid seep out of a ferment although I have had some burst out when I opened it and the gas fizzed up.
    I haven’t ever had mold in my ferments except the one time that I made beet kvass using whey instead of just salt.
    I’m wondering if this is something I need to invest in or not.
    PattyLA recently posted..Adrenal Fatigue: What can you do about it?

    • Patty, the bottom line is that if you are trying to heal your gut, you don’t need to be playing roulette with a mason jar. Whey isn’t a good idea in ferments, either since it doesn’t produce a true LAB ferment, whey is a stop-gap to try to improve the use of a mason jar but it doesn’t produce a true product, especially if you’re avoiding starches on GAPS or are trying to heal your gut. I’ll be posting more about both issues as we go deeper into the series. At this point, it looks like instead of being two or three parts, the series is going to stretch farther because the more I read and dig, the more I find.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Controversy: Pickl-It vs Mason Jars

  12. Angela says:

    Hello Kerry,
    Thanks for a great informative blog post. I love my Pickl-It. I have two and will soon be getting some more. I’d love to find a nice cover to keep my ferments out of the light, any suggestions.

    • Currently I cover the body of mine with kitchen towels. I’m going to sew something simple when I get a chance. I’ll share what I come up with if it works- I’m a beginner at sewing.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Traditional Tuesdays

      • Angela says:

        Okay, yes, that’s what I have been doing now. Thanks!

      • Dara says:

        Home Depot sells inexpensive blackout curtain liners (Martha Stewart Living Solaris liners). You can cut those up and layover the bottles, tucking them in under so no light gets in. I have them on my bedroom windows and they completely block the light. Joann Fabrics also sells blackout material but it’s more expensive.

  13. [...] in my e-mail inbox this week and some of the comments I’ve had to delete off the blog from Part One of this series and my fermented french fry recipe, I would like to clear something [...]

  14. Katherine says:

    Okay, I’m totally convinced after reading both of your posts on the Pickl-its. What Pickl-it purchases would you recommend for a family of 6, all voracious eaters who have loved any ferment they can get their hands on? Do you like certain sizes of jars for certain things? Do you get the small locks for storing in the fridge?

    I would also love to know what you recommend for kombucha brewing and how you make yours? I’ve just started making it and don’t know what to invest in…Do you recommend a continuous brew system, or something different?

    Thanks for all you do! I appreciate the scientific and logical viewpoint, it really helps when making decisions!

    • Kombucha needs oxygen otherwise it will die. I do mine in a large bowl where the mouth is as wide if not wider than the bottom. Make sure your hand can fit into it and it doesn’t have a shoulder or you might have trouble getting the scoby out without having to cut it in pieces. Speaking from experience. The first time I did Kombucha, I had to attempt to cut the 3-inch thick scoby out of a wide mouth mason jar! It was hilarious.

      I use the 1.5L for everything because that’s all I have but I’m about to order some 3L to do larger batches of Sauerkraut (my favorite) and the 5L for dill pickles. That will free up my 1.5Ls for doing more water kefirs and small batches of speciality ferments. My two 1.5Ls aren’t enough to keep up with everything we like, especially since I’m now seeing that they need to go longer than I thought before storage. Twelve weeks appears to be ideal for sauerkraut, but I’ve got to do more research on it before I’m convinced.

      If your family loves ferments, I’d recommend you get the 3L or 5L for your main ferments like sauerkraut and let them ferment on the counter for twelve weeks.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Lactic Acid Bacteria and the Lowly Mason Jar

  15. Genet Harris says:

    This is all REALLY interesting to me. I consider myself very much a Ozark “traditionalist” in every since of the word. I’ve had some problem with sites that say you should add why to your sauerkraut ? (Perhaps you have another post on that somewhere). I’m pretty sure my granny didn’t do that. Also she used the crock/plate/weight/grape leaf method.
    She did this because that was the BEST THING she had to do the job. Also. . . .this was the ONLY THING she used these crocks for. They had a dedicated purpose — and that was really saying something back then. Not many items in her kitchen/cellar had a single dedicated purpose.
    Since not many people have stone-ware crocks these days, passed down from generations, I don’t think I have any problem with a newer vessel, one used only for ferments. That seems to make sense to me ? Perhaps not traditional in construction, but the philosophy seems the same.
    I’m glad you posted this, so that I can look into this. My only question would be the safety of the plastic, which is likely okay. I may not run out today and buy one, but I am REALLY GLAD to know that they are out there and that they do what is suppose to be done.
    :)
    Blessings Kerry Ann !
    (hugs)
    That goes a long way with me.
    Still thinking a lot of this over . . . .

  16. Shana says:

    Maybe a stupid question, but what happens to the LABS once the ferment is “done” and u start eating it? Are they lost each time u open the jar to get some out??

  17. Chery Salisbury says:

    You mentioned that sauerkraut takes 12 weeks to be ready. Do you have information on other ferments? I make ginger carrots and shredded beets. Would these need to be left for 12 weeks? What about pickles? I make dill pickles and leave them for two weeks before putting in the frig.

  18. cj says:

    Any suggestions on ordering from them? I have called and left messages and I have emailed repeatedly trying to place an order and asking for information regarding the conversion lids. I get no reply in either manner.

  19. Erin D. says:

    Hello again – I’m not trying to be combative, but you say “First, I want to state up front that I have no financial ties to Pickl-It or its producers and I receive no incentive, no kick-back or other perk for my endorsement of their products. I endorse them because they work.”

    I surely do recognize the value of writing reviews for affiliate products, and of being an affiliate in general; however, it does seem a bit disingenuous to say you’re not financially tied to Pickl-It.

    Don’t feel obligated to approve this comment for public display if you don’t want to – I just wanted to leave it for you to hear my thoughts.

    Good luck weathering the onslaught of hostility from people on the internet who have no manners – I know that’s no fun at all. While I disagree with this particular series’ conclusions, I do find your site helpful and informative.
    Erin D. recently posted..Winner!

    • Erin, the FTC requires that I disclose financial ties with any review or what could appear as an endorsement. That applies to ALL bloggers. Any time I do a review, a giveaway or discuss a product, I clearly state my connections to the company, if any.

      Pickl-It doesn’t have an affiliate program. Because so many people have asked how much I am receiving per jar sold, I stated it up front so it would be clear I’m not doing a paid endorsement. I don’t see why you claim it is disingenuous. Disingenuous means “lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity.” What I said was completely frank.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Where Is Your Food Faith?

      • Erin D. says:

        My apologies, then. You’re tracking your outbound links to Pickl-It (http://www.intentionallydomestic.com/link/picklit/,) they’re tracking inbound links from you to them (http://www.pickl-it.com/#cookingtf,) and setting cookies on users’ computers which include your URL and an “affiliate” subdomain (.affiliate.pickl-it.com and 66021679.1336497260.1.1.utmcsr=intentionallydomestic.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/controversy-pickl-it-vs-mason-jars/) — it looked very much like an affiliate or other incentive program, especially given the “affiliate.picklit.com” subdomain.

        In controversial posts, even the appearance of impropriety can leave a bad taste in readers’ mouths. Again, I apologize if no affiliate status is in place.
        Erin D. recently posted..Winner!

        • Erin, I write all of my posts in HTML. I use a link manager for numerous keywords to save myself work and time because typing out links is pretty tedious. If you look around you’ll find that I use that link manager to point to other posts on my site and non-affiliate links, too. Why? It saves me time and aggravation for things I post about often. The more time I can save, the more I can spend with my family.

          Here’s a shot of what is entered on my end in the tracker plug-in that I use- As you can see, it doesn’t have any affiliate coding in it.
          http://www.cookingTF.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/screenshot.png

          Pickl-It is building an affiliate program but it is not yet live and it doesn’t appear that it will be for a while. They’ve already instituted tracking and they testing it to work out bugs but something has come up for them that has put work at a stand-still. However, that doesn’t mean I’m getting paid. I am not. As I understood it, they’re tracking all links that come in from all sites, not just mine. But I don’t claim to be tech savvy in that department or understand how it works. I’m not a computer tech person

          If they ever do get the affiliate program off the ground, I will be very clear in stating whether or not I’m involved.
          KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Where Is Your Food Faith?

  20. Erin D. says:

    Thanks, that absolutely explains everything I saw. I also use a link cloaking plugin to track a bunch of different things, but it was the stuff on the picklit.com side which caused the confusion.
    Erin D. recently posted..Winner!

    • I need to learn more about cookies and how they work because I’m not seeing what you’ve listed. I’ll try to find out more about how it works. I don’t want any confusion on the part of my readers as to exactly where I stand or what I am or am not paid to endorse.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Where Is Your Food Faith?

      • Erin D. says:

        I’ll email you screenshots, and explain how I found them in Chrome. Handy stuff to know! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have (although I don’t do code, I understand the basics of cookie components.)
        Erin D. recently posted..Winner!

  21. Teri says:

    Hi KerryAnn,

    Your entire argument in this piece, and in others you have posted here, hinges on this statement, “Why Airtight is So Important…Research shows that LAB thrives best in an anaerobic environment.” Unfortunately you do not provide a citation for the research. Assuming it was an oversight, I asked (on The Liberated Kitchen’s Facebook page) for a link or reference. Instead you pointed me to your blog for further reading. I have skimmed over a couple of other entries, and I have not found any scientific evidence for your claim. Furthermore, I do not have time to read through your entire blog looking for the answer, and I do not feel I should have too. Since you are questioning the status quo, I believe the onus is on you to provide evidence for your claims.

    I am always open to new data, but I require proof that previous assumptions, evidence and conclusions were erroneous before I am willing to reject a method that has been tried and true. I look forward to reading the original studies.

    • Because someone else in that Facebook thread had already accused me of posting links to my blog, I chose not to link to the specific post.

      You picked the first post in the series to post on, and at the bottom of this post I specifically state which posts will contain the information. There’s links to studies and evidence on just about every other post in this series. In fact, the information is contained within the studies posted at the end of this post.

  22. Liz J says:

    I realize no one has posted here in a few months, but I have been absolutely convinced by you that this is the very important piece of the puzzle of fermentation that is missing. So first I want to say thank you for all your hard work and thorough explanations.

    What do you think about using something like this?

    http://www.cookinggodsway.com/eshop/lacto-fermentation-air-lock-kit/

    Seems that the rubber seal that goes under the plastic lid would solve the problem of mason jars not being airtight.

    • KerryAnn says:

      I haven’t used them personally, but I have a blogger friend who did try them and had problems with mold and oxidation, signs that it wasn’t keeping the oxygen out. So I don’t recommend them.

  23. Kathy says:

    ARGH. “It’s hard enough for newbies and others to feel that frustration and overwhelment that they need to invest in more stuff in order to ‘do it right’.” NO KIDDING.
    And I do want to thank you for posting this information HERE. I finally gave up on the GAPS yahoo group because of the constant “I’m right” NO “I’m right!” about the types of fermenting.

    I just wanted to learn how to make sauerkraut. Honestly. I got so fed up I gave up on the group. I tried to post a reply that explained that. And got ignored. Isn’t that why you people are running blogs and posting in the group. To help people figure out GAPS? I was quite frustrated with the whole thing.

    Thought I’d share. Hope that nonsense is over soon so I can go back to the group. Thanks.

    • KerryAnn says:

      Kathy, I’m sorry but I’m not on that particular group and not familiar with who is in the discussion or what it involved, so I can’t comment. I’m not on the GAPS diet. I healed my gut back before GAPS came out, so I don’t follow it. If you have questions, you’re welcome to post or e-mail me and I’ll do my best to answer them.

  24. JoAnne says:

    Hi Kerry Ann,
    Thanks for the very informative post on the Pickl-It. I love fermented vegetables, and I am really eager to get containers to start fermenting my own vegetables at home, but I think my situation may not be suitable for this because I cannot control the climate very well where I would be fermenting. What would you (or any of your blog readers) do?

    I live in India currently with my husband, and it gets up to 114F and very humid here in the summers, and down to 44F in the winters. We have AC in some rooms that we run at times, but we wouldn’t set the AC to go lower than probably 78F due to the cost of electricity. There is no basement or cellar.

    I’ve read that between 68-72 degrees is ideal for fermenting. Would you invest in the Pickl-It and try fermenting here, or would you not bother to attempt it because the year round temperatures fluctuate too much?

    Another quandary is that refrigerators are really small here, so Pickl-It would take up a lot of room for storage. We’d probably have to spend a few hundred dollars to get a second fridge. Power cuts happen, but they are probably not long enough to be a real problem.

    Thanks in advance for advice.

    • KerryAnn says:

      JoAnne, there’s ideal, then there’s workable. Our house consistently stays at 78 or above during the summer. That means ferments do go faster and have to be watched a little closer at the end so they don’t over-shoot. As it goes cooler, you can still ferment, it will just take a little longer time-wise.

      When you don’t have fridge space, I’d recommend doing ferments that can be consumed quickly, which means doing smaller batches. But it sounds like in winter, you could store them on the porch without a problem.

  25. AmieR says:

    Thanks for this great post & discussion. I haven’t yet had a chance to read through the whole lot, so this question might have been answered already. I’m trying to get in touch with the Pickl-It crew (email & phone), and have had no response. I’ll keep trying, but does anyone know if they’re still in business? I’m in Canada, I don’t know if that would have made any difference…? Thanks!
    AmieR recently posted..Tart-zza Anyone?

    • KerryAnn says:

      They’re currently a few weeks behind in orders, they’ve recently been featured in two magazines, one with a huge nation-wide circulation, and they’re swamped. They’ll respond in the order it was received, they’re just buried under right now.

  26. Melissa says:

    Just wanted to say THANKS!!! I really appreciate all your hard work!

  27. A Moore says:

    This is pretty cool. Simple experiment. Would be nice to know how much pressure was inside though – the whole realism thing.

    http://eatingoffthefoodgrid.blogspot.com/2012/06/do-fido-jars-leak.html

  28. Dara says:

    I just found your blog tonight and will definitely be back.

    Thank you so much for this post. It confirmed the months of research on the safest way to ferment, which led me to Pickl-it. I have lots of immune system issues, a leaky gut, and big problems with mold – so the casual “just skim the mold off the top and eat what’s under it” approach felt risky for my situation. I also didn’t like the thought of throwing out batches of vegetables since I’m on a very tight budget, or not knowing what really grew inside the jar and what it might do to my finicky digestive track.

    I’m happy to say that my Pickl-it jars shipped today and next week I’ll be fermenting away!

  29. Missis N says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for such an informative post. And I really enjoyed the frankness of your responses. I went to the Pickl it site to order and Just wanted to draw attention to a testimonial featured on the Pickl it

    I have used the Pickle-It jars for a while now and they are wonderful! The fermentation is very predictable and clean, no batches go bad or wrong. Anybody who ferments food at home knows that sometimes a batch can go bad without any particular reason. The Pickle-It jars seem to eliminate that eventuality completely. Thank you for developing this wonderful product!

    —Dr. Natasha Campbell, GAPS DIET

    In this context am surprised that Immunutrition have not moved to using them too
    AM

  30. Dom says:

    Hi,

    All very interesting stuff but I can see why people think pickle-it jars are a rip off.

    Its because they are just JARS! (sorry wanted italics not caps :-) )

    For a glass jar that someone has drilled a hole in the top and then stuck in some easily available home brew beer equipment I too feel that they are very overpriced.

    Just my 2c X

    • KerryAnn says:

      Dom, many of us are not comfortable drilling glass, especially since we’ll be feeding the ferments to our children. Considering how much faster my healing progressed once I went to an anaerobic fermentation method, I consider them worth their weight in gold, personally.

    • PattyLA says:

      I’ll have to echo KerryAnn here. There aren’t any other jars out there made like this. No other jars that are truly airtight. My families healing took a huge leap forward when we switched our fermenting to all Pickl-It jars. (Not to mention that it simply tastes so much better!)
      I don’t have the equipment or know how to safely drill holes in glass lids and know I’m not going to get shards of glass in my food (or lungs).
      Since this is such a simple thing it seems like there would be loads of copy cat businesses but for some reason there aren’t. (jars with screw on lids so not work the same way and they are even more over priced!) Perhaps that is because it isn’t as simple as it looks.
      PattyLA recently posted..Bottled Roses Kombucha

  31. Joe Childers says:

    Hello, I’m new to fermenting and am trying to figure out what kind of container to use. Not surprisingly given the controversy on this topic, there is conflicting information out there. So a couple questions:

    First, can you comment please on the pressure and vacuum testing Lea Harris did before her Sauerkraut Survivor, which led her to conclude that a mason jar with a metal lid was in fact airtight?

    Second, I wonder about using an additional rubber gasket, such as the ones made to go with Tattler lids, under the metal lid of a mason jar. Would the pressure from the ring on the more compressible rubber gasket (as opposed to the thin seal on the metal lid) be comparable to the pressure a Fido lid in a Pickl-It exerts on its gasket?

    • KerryAnn says:

      Joe, pressure testing should be done under real-world conditions to be able to judge what will really happen over the long-term. A couple of seconds shows that the seals hold under a consistent momentary pressure, as it should as most jars are manufactured to do that. However, when pressure that changes, as it does through the fermentation process, and lasts for days will cause different failure rates and problems than a quick blast, as it were.

      Additional rubber gaskets do not fix the problem. If you check out my post on oxidation, you’ll see pictures of a ferment that was done under such conditions that still had oxidation on the top layer, a sign that oxygen is leaking in despite the additional rubber gasket.

      • Joe Childers says:

        Thank you, KerryAnn. I found and read those posts you suggested. I’m persuaded about the need for anaerobic conditions, but I simply cannot afford a collection of Pickl-its–and yes I did read your article advocating it as an investment. One clue, though, at the end of your oxidation article: if the brine is forced out the airlock, instead of out the lid, then the container is airtight. That is a measurable benchmark to shoot for as I try the various DIY ideas out there. Thanks again for your time and for your many articles that delineate well the differences between aerobic and anaerobic conditions in fermenting containers.

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