Apr
13

Pickl-It Q&A: Answering Your Questions

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I’ve received a number of questions about the Pickl-It in the comments and over e-mail.  I appreciate all of the questions and e-mails I’m getting because they’re making me dig deeper and learn more. Please keep the questions coming. I’ll answer those I can here and I’m still working on finding answers for the rest.

 

I have quite an assortment of French canning jars whose lids look like the pickl-it lids without the hole and rubber stopper. Do you suppose I could buy pickl-it lids and use these jars?

Pickl-It sells conversion kits for Fido jars if you live overseas.  Contact them here for more information. Otherwise, I recommend you pick up a couple of Pickl-Its and use the plain lids for storage once the off-gassing has died down and the Pickl-It lids during the active fermentation while off-gassing is occuring.  Also, those jars are very handy to have to store your finished ferments in when you need to decant into something smaller because the Pickl-It is more than half empty.

 

My question is about water kefir. I just bought the Grolsch bottles you suggested. Some say to do the first ferment with a cloth covering it, then to seal it in the bottles. Do you do that or do you use the Pick-it, then transfer to the Grolsch bottles? I ferment kombucha and dairy kefir with a cloth covering them. Should I be looking into using the Pickl-it for these too?

I use the Pickl-It for the first ferment for water kefir and then transfer to the Grolsch bottles.

Kombucha needs oxygen so it shouldn’t be fermented in a Pickl-It. It would also be extremely difficult to get the SCOBY out of the jar because of the way it grows to the edges of the container. So kombucha needs to be made using a cloth covering so it can get air and your kefirs, sourdoughs, baking batters, veggies and fruit ferments should be in an anaerobic environment. Source

 

…after having fermented in a Pickl-It, does the finished product need to be stored in the refrigerator in a Pickl-It with an air lock?

Or can it be transferred to a regular mason jar or other Pyrex type container with a screw on or snap on lid?

Yes, it is best stored in a Pickl-It with an airlock.  Once the ferment stops giving off large amounts of carbon dioxide, you can change from the airlock to the plug’r.  You do want to keep the ferment airtight when you aren’t getting some out to eat, so a mason jar isn’t a good idea.  If you do have to transfer to a mason jar in order to be able to free up the Pickl-It to be able to use it again, I recommend you consume the rest just as quickly as you can. If you must transfer it, a plain Fido without the airlock that you burp periodically is, by far, the best option, since it is airtight as a mason jar is not.

 

So what happens after fermenting, in storage? Every time you open a jar, air will be introduced. Does that affect the LAB numbers?

If you left the latch closed during fermentation and fermented it the correct amount of time, it will be teeming with LABs and the oxygen-loving bacteria will be dead.  So you don’t have to worry about them growing anymore.

 

…do I need to have my ferments up close to the top of the jar? Unless I invest in a smaller Pickl-It, I would have to make fairly large batches of ferments to get the veggies up close to the top, IF that is what is necessary. Now that there are just the two of us, I am finding we do not go through as much as we did when there were several of us living at home.

When you begin a ferment, you need the jar at least 75% full as the oxygen is used up and lacto-fermentation begins.  If you’re fermenting something where you add a brine, then just add the brine up to the shoulder and keep it there.  If you’re doing something that creates it’s own brine, such as sauerkraut, then use a smaller Pickl-It.  It’s a good idea to have some of the smaller Pickl-Its on hand, as when you use up the veggies, you want to transfer the veggies to a smaller jar once it’s less than 50% full with any item that is already fully fermented. Source

 

Do you like certain sizes of jars for certain things? Do you get the small locks for storing in the fridge?

I currently have 1.5Ls as I got my jars before they started making the larger sizes. I’ll be ordering multiple sizes in a couple of weeks. I want to make larger batches of sauerkraut as the 1.5Ls don’t make enough to keep us fed all the time. So I’m getting larger sizes for big batches as well as making things like pickles this summer. I’m also going to get some smaller sizes for decanting my sauerkraut as it is used up, as it’s best to keep the jar at least 50% full, if not more, after the ferment is complete. I also want to be able to make small batches of things like salsa and condiments.  I’ll be trying the small airlocks.

 

This doesn’t answer all of the questions I have recieved.  I’m still working on those I haven’t answered yet and I’ll post as soon as I have the answers.

 

Want to read more about fermentation, including articles with references and more information on vessel types? See our Related Posts for all of the articles in this series. 

 

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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.

 

 

 

Categories : Lactofermentation

Comments

  1. Patricia Prenosil says:

    So I am a little confused on one point. In response to the question about whether you can transfer your ferment to mason jars, etc. after it is done fermenting you say it is better left in the pickl-it because a jar lets oxygen in. But in the next question asking about opening the jar and letting oxygen in you say the oxygen loving bacteria will be dead (if you have fermented properly/completely). So if the oxygen bacteria are dead and you transfer it to a mason jar, etc. then it seems that it would not matter. What am I missing?

  2. Debra E says:

    I know you’ve probably had them for awhile and added to your collection, but I am curious how many of the Pickl-it jars you have?

    • I currently have two 1.5Ls as that’s the largest size they made when I got mine a couple of years ago. I’m stalking the FedEx man. He should be showing up any day with 8 more so I have one of every size and multiple smalls to do condiments. As soon as I can afford it, I’m going to get several of the 3/4L and one extra 5L for pickles.
      KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Mason Jar Love

      • Debra E says:

        So how did you do it all with only 2 jars between kefir, sourdough, kraut and other things! Wouldn’t you have to have a Pickl-it jar in the fridge to hold the finished product? I am very curious because I want to do more fermenting but couldn’t afford more than two of the jars.

        • I know I discussed it in the most recent video but I don’t think I talked about what I personally did.

          When the jar gets almost empty, I transfer it to a wire bail jar. I’ve kept the one jar in the fridge for sauerkraut but that’s almost empty now that I’ve got back on the bandwagon. The second one rotates between sourdough, water kefir and anything else I want to do. I don’t keep sourdough going all of the time, I make it fresh with water or apple juice kefir each time I need it and let it go a couple of days before using it.

          You could do it all with two jars if you rotate through and make extra to keep your covered. For example, make extra water kefir and do the second ferment in grolsch bottles so you have some on hand to cover you when you want to make sourdough. If you avoid making cabbage-based ferments so you don’t have to let them perk for 12 weeks before you eat them, I think it would be very doable to only have two jars.

          Please don’t be discouraged. Having two jars or even one jar is far better than continuing to not have the full benefits of LABs or be putting ferments into your gut that aren’t all lactic acid. I think you’ll be far better off in the long-run by consuming the LABs!
          KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Mason Jar Love

  3. Justin says:

    I started using Pickl-it jars for my water kefir a while ago and my grains don’t seem to be growing anymore. I thought this was just because it had been colder in the house as it was winter and our heater was broken, but it has since warmed up and the heater has been fixed. When I first started with just the paper-towel and rubber-band on a mason jar method, my grains would double about every 48 hours even though I was just giving them a combination of white sugar, molasses or muscovado sugar and spring water. I have started adding dried fruit, lemon, ginger and a pinch of sea salt and baking soda with no change in grain production. Carbonation is definitely produced, as I can see it forming/releasing from the air lock, but the final product doesn’t end up super fizzy. There has been some more fizz with the additions.

    Do the grains themselves usually grow more slowly under anaerobic conditions or is there something else that I’m doing wrong?

    • KerryAnn says:

      Justin, some people have found their grains go through a long period of adjustment and stop growing for a while. Fizz is a good sign that they’re still alive, they just probably need time to adjust. My grains took a few months to adjust, but once they were settled in again, they went back to reproducing like gangbusters.

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