Years ago, I coveted the Harsch crock which reminded me of the huge, perpetually-fermenting crocks my grandmother kept filled and stored in her dirt-floored root cellar.
Compared to my modern basement, hers was a tiny room, only 10×15 feet, but within its walls, my grandfather masterfully engineered bins, shelves and counters which held an amazing amount of food. They had no need of grocery stores, but instead, were fed quite well during the long Minnesota winters.
I loved taking deep breaths of her root cellar’s air, as calming to me as ocean air. Years and a few science-journals later, I realized that her root cellar environment was like a cheese cave, its wall, floor and ceiling teaming with beneficial bacteria accumulated from decades of lacto-fermentation.
Even if I’d had the proper cellar, instead of my basement with its wildly-fluctuating temperatures, the cost of accumulating multiple Harsh crocks was formidable.
In an article published in January, 2000, Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig stressed the importance of an “air-tight”, “anaerobic” container:
- “Be sure to close the jars very tightly. Lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process and the presence of oxygen, once fermentation has begun, will ruin the final product.”
- “Fruits and vegetables are first washed and cut up, mixed with salt and herbs or spices and then pounded briefly to release juices. They are then pressed into an air tight container”.
Following their guidance, we searched unsuccessfully for a convenient and inexpensive anaerobic fermenting solution. Just closing a canning-jar tightly, didn’t work for us. We battled mold, off-colors and strange textures.
This search led us to develop *Pickl-It.
The Pick-It wire-bail/airlock system finally allowed us to turn out consistently good flavors, textures and greatly reduce our incidence of mold.
“Feed Me Like You Mean It” Review
A couple months ago, a Pick-It customer commented to Alex Lewin, creator and author of the “Feed Me Like You Mean It” blog, that he should consider including our Pickl-It as part of his Fermenting and Resource List.
When we discovered Pickl-It on his resource list, we followed up offering Alex a Pickl-It to get his candid feedback based on his years of lacto-fermenting advocacy and teaching experience.
Try it he did, and his experiences are now available at his blog, Feed Me Like You Mean It.
Some of our favorite Alex-quotes include:
- “Both of these devices serve the same purpose: to create good conditions for lacto-fermenting vegetables (or other things)”.
- “I can report that the cucumber pickles I made in Pickl-It were the best I’ve ever made”.
- “I find Pickl-It great for pickling whole vegetables in brine (turnips, radishes, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.)….”
And my husband’s favorite “Alex Quote” is:
- “I have been using Pickl-It ever since.”
And I, Kathleen, no longer covet Harsch!
|by Kathleen in News | Permalink|
Did you know...
Records of the construction of the Great Wall of China, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), refer to fermented cabbage as a staple food for workers building the wall.
—Sauerkraut Built Great Wall of China
Wow!! Thanks for your helpful guidance as we switched our water kefir fermentation over to the Pickl-It system. We’ve been making water kefir for over a year, but it has always been open to the air with just a mesh covering. A couple of days ago our Christmas 3 – 3 Bundle came in and we set up the water kefir grains in a 1 L. It was time to harvest (& taste!!) this morning and IT IS SOOOOO GOOD!!!! There are none of the vinegary notes that were present in our past batches. It’s fully done – which I judge by the fact that it’s only very very slightly sweet, and the carbonation is good (on the subtle side instead of tickling your nose). It’s perfection! The flavor is very pleasing and refreshing. There’s no going back now : ) This is an easy breezy way to ferment excellent water kefir for sure!
—Janice S. - Indiana