Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Why I am Using a Pickl-it for Fermenting

Today, instead of posting another recipe, I wanted to discuss some of the changes to my fermenting practices with my readers, as I have had a number of questions recently.

I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few months, considering some research done by both KerryAnn Foster at Cooking Traditional Foods (read more about oxygen and bifidus HERE), and Kathleen, the maker of the pickl-it (read the steps of fermentation HERE).  I have come to the conclusion that fermenting in an anaerobic environment is a safer option and especially helpful for those who need to heal their gut (which would be most of us!).  Pickl-its provide an increase in the probiotic bacteria that are needed to heal the gut.

I did not want to deal with the possibility of molds growing in my ferments (which has happened in mason jars) or limp and soggy ferments (which has also happened in the mason jar).  I did not know what I was missing until I tried the pickl-it and have had ferment after ferment come out tasting delicious, crisp, and less salty.  It has been very eye opening comparing the two methods.  If you would like to read a similar experience by another Nourished Living Network Blogger, read this post by Lydia at Divine Health where she shares her reasons and experience switching from mason jars to Pickl-its.

I want to be clear to my readers that at this time, I am not an affiliate of pickl-it.  I simply appreciate the quality product that pickl-it is and want to encourage my readers to use a pickl-it (or a Harsch crock, which also provides an oxygen free ferment) so that you all can ferment safely and effectively.

I have also learned that whey is not needed with the pickl-it and can actually contribute to less of the healing forms of probiotic bacteria.  Here is an excellent post written by Melanie at PickleMeToo, discussing in further depth the reasons why whey is not needed or often helpful when fermenting and using a pickl-it.

I recently bought a number of Fido jars to use to store my ferments in once they are done fermenting.  Fidos provide an air-tight environment, which is excellent for store ferments.  These SHOULD NOT be used for the fermenting process (except yogurt) as they do not allow the air to escape (Pickl-its are made from Fido jars, but have airlocks, which keeps oxygen out, but allows carbon dioxide, which builds during the fermenting process, out).  I have found that you can get Fido jars on sale for excellent prices at both Crate and Barrel or Sur La Table (both are still having a sale last time I checked and the shipping at Crate and Barrel is just a flat $5 fee).  Amazon does carry them, but the prices are often not as good, so check those other stores first.

When you ferment, you are going to end up with a lot of extra brine.  Here are some creative ideas from Lisa, at Lisa's Counter Culture, about how you can use that extra brine.

There are a lot of traditional foodists who still use the mason jar and have chosen that method of fermenting, but I have come to realize that that is not the method I want to use or teach to others.  Thank you all for your patience as I have been making these changes over the past few months.

(Featured on Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Revival, Real Food Forager, The Nourishing Gourmet)


  1. This is a fabulous post! And one that makes me sigh with the anticipation of being more educated and how that makes my work harder. Darn you! ;o)
    I never had a problem with fermenting anything until I got a bad batch of kombucha (what!), so I've been mulling over the whole "I don't want to kill myself or my kids with a food I've made" thought. It's been sitting in the back of my head poking at me. Now it's gone.

    I want/need to ferment more foods, and you gave me the right amount of knowledge to jump in and help me just do it. As always, you awe and inspire me. Thanks woman! xo

    1. Dawn, You just made my day! =) I'm so excited for you and your fermenting journey. Please let me know if I can be of any further help.