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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.