I would like to take a moment to address the controversy that I unwittingly created. I must say upfront I have been rather confounded and surprised at the response that has taken place and how my words have been twisted by some and condemned by others who admit they haven’t even read what I wrote.
First off, some have asked about my background. I have a background in science, having a bachelors of science in geology and I’m only one class away from two more bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry. I have taken courses in microbiology and cell biology. My dad did fermentation professionally, taught classes and more. I have called on his knowledge more than once.
As far as I am aware, no one being held up as an expert in this situation has a science background. I realize that it will not appeal to everyone, but it is the mindset from which I approached my search for answers- trying to meet tradition and science to explain what happened with my health. When I discuss science in my writings, I have tried to put it in terms that any of my readers could understand. This resulted in me being accused of attempting to insult people’s intelligence. In this post I simply wrote about science in terms that were easy to understand so any reader who was interested could follow along. It is not my intention to only write to those who are interested in science, but to anyone interested in fermentation.
I have posted about the science behind fermentation and why keeping vegetables under a brine does not make them anaerobic. Yet in all of this controversy, hardly anyone is addressing or attempting to refute the science in my posts. Those that have haven’t offered proof, just their statements that the studies or information I posted was incorrect but with nothing else to back up their assertion. The science is being ignored and I really hate to see that because I believe science can offer many clues as to why some people heal and some do not, do well and some do not, and some people can get ferments to turn out and some do not. Science won’t hold all of the answers, of course, but it can explain some things and it’s a good place to start when you’re looking for clues.
My motives have been questioned. My motive, simply put, was to figure out why some people, such as myself, don’t heal using mason jar fermentation but do heal once they switch to using a truly anaerobic method.
My intention was to reach those in the community who have not seen health improvements or probiotic responses from mason jar fermenting to let them know this could possibly be the reason why. I’m not trying to dog mason jar fermenting but to let people know that if it isn’t working for them, they might want to consider another option.
Personally, I used mason jar fermenting all through the time I was desperately ill. I saw no strong probiotic response and I had to take both probiotics and digestive enzymes anyway. I didn’t see a change in that situation until I changed to using an anaerobic Harsch crock. That’s when I was able to get off of the enzymes, I saw a probiotic response and I was able to quit taking the extra probiotic pills. I do believe there is a difference in the bacterial types and amounts in the foods fermented in different containers and I’m trying to get to the bottom of what that difference is and why.
Since starting the series, I have had a lot of people contact me to let me know they had the same experience. I’ve also had a number of people come forward who had unknown allergies to mold who were made very ill by open crock and mason jar fermenting. This information needs to be out there so that people who are having problems or aren’t getting good results won’t give up on fermenting but will instead try a different method.
It was NEVER my intention to discourage people from fermenting. My intention was to give a voice to those who haven’t had good results until they changed methods and to reach those who might be in the same situation. Some people who live in more humid climates or in warmer temperatures consistently have batches fail from mold or slime. They deserve to know that those problems can largely be solved using an anaerobic fermentation method. I’ve met many people from the Southeast and the humid portions of the Southwest who had given up on fermenting until they found out why they couldn’t get it to turn out right- they just assumed it was their fault.
If you are convinced mason jar fermentation is for you, go for it; your health is your business. However, if you are concerned about the issues surrounding mold, aerobic bacteria encouraging yeast and candida, you have gut healing to do or you aren’t getting the results you wish from a mason jar, I encourage you to consider other options so that you can receive the wonderful benefits of fermented foods, too.
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.