Frequently Asked Questions
Fermentation is a process in which naturally-occurring lactic-acid bacteria (LAB) – covering the surface of foods, as well as buried in plant cells – get to work with the help of a little salt-water brine and air-free (anaerobic) environment, digesting the starches, sugars, fats, and minerals of a plant, converting them into other forms of energy.
The raw food is changed by these amazing little microbes, into foods that are more easily digestible for humans. In addition, lactic-acid bacteria have been recognized for more than 100 years, as having life-giving probiotic-properties, which help heal, restore, and replenish the digestive tract.
During the process of fermentation, carbon dioxide is created, a by-product of the lactic-acid bacteria. The carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen, so it pushes oxygen up and out the Pickl-It through the airlock. Oxygen works against lactic-acid bacteria, so the less oxygen there is, the better! It’s called an anaerobic process.
Lactic acid, created by the lactic-acid bacteria, is the natural preservative eliminating any need for vinegar or canning.
So, is it really safe?
U.S. Department of Agriculture research service microbiologist Fred Breidt says properly fermented vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, which might have been exposed to pathogens like E. coli on the farm.
“With fermented products there is no safety concern. I can flat-out say that. The reason is the lactic acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are the world’s best killers of other bacteria,” says Breidt, who works at a lab at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, where scientists have been studying fermented and other pickled foods since the 1930s.
Breidt adds that fermented vegetables, for which there are no documented cases of food-borne illness, are safer for novices to make than canned vegetables. San Francisco Gate Interview, June, 2009
Did you know...
Fermented fruits – chutneys, for example – are more delicate, and should be eaten within three months of lacto-fermentation.
—Delicate Fermented Fruits
I make old-fashioned pickles, the same way my mother did. I’m even using her old crocks. A friend, who doesn’t even like to cook, like I do, showed me your Pickl-It. At first, I thought it was for only beginners, and had nothing to offer me. But she’d made pickled broccoli, green beans, and I guess even some pepper mash that you told her about. I tried some of it, and it had a nice, clean, fresh taste. Where can I order a Pickl-It for myself?