Frequently Asked Questions
During cucumber fermentation, “foam” develops on top the brine. The amount of foam ranges from small to significant – as in the photo. It is a sign that you have an active, healthy, vibrant batch of pickles in the works. Congratulations!
The foam usually appears on the 2nd day. The warmer the temperature (80F or above), the faster the foam accumulates and typically is more dense, like the photo. Cooler temperatures (under 80F) generate less foam, and few “bubbles”.Unlike other methods (mason jars, with or without airlocks) that produce unhealthy, toxic levels of hydrogen peroxide because they cannot eliminate oxygen, your Pickl-It restricts all inflow of oxygen. The Pickl-It foam is simply carbon dioxide, along with some whole spice debris carried from the bottom of the fermenting chamber to the surface.
Leave the foam alone. Don’t bother opening your Pickl-It to remove the foam as it will typically subside within 24-hours. There are valuable fermentation gases produced, in addition to the carbon dioxide, all of them serving a purpose in developing some of the best pickled cucumbers you’ll ever taste.
In nearly 12 years of fermenting with Pickl-It – the original anaerobic fermentation system – we have never developed mold. We over-filled the Pickl-It in the photo – to the bottom of the “neck” – for some of our lab-experiments. As long as the foam does NOT touch the bottom of the airlock, it’s fine. But in general, if you’re a beginner, make sure the brine is only 1-inch above the “shoulder” of the Pickl-It. That way, you’ll have room for the occasion super-active foam.
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Did you know...
In colonial times, and later, on farms and in villages, homemakers expected to “put down” some pickles in stone crocks, and to “put up” some pickles and pickle relishes in glass jars.
—Put Down, Put Up
Don’t give up on getting children to eat more lacto-fermented veggies than pickled cucumbers! Out of the mouth of my 4 1/2-year-old, Daniel, my most avid fermented food avoider, as he was eating his lunch earlier today, “Oh, bother! I forgot to have a bite of kraut!”
… and yes, I gave him some kraut as I tried to very subtly pick my jaw up off the floor …