- How did the brine get into the airlock?
- How does carbon dioxide (CO2) get into the fermented food?
- How do I know when the initial fermentation is complete?
- Why do I need to keep my fermenting foods in the dark?
- I'm afraid of bacteria. Why do we need them for fermenting?
- Does "lacto-fermented" mean that dairy is used?
- What is lacto-fermentation?
- What is the white sediment on my pickles and on the bottom of the jar?
- How do I know if my cucumber pickles are spoiled?
- What is kimchi?
- What is acetic acid?
- What is carbon dioxide?
- What are the homofermentative lactobacilli? (And why should I care?)
- What are Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB)?
- What is anaerobic fermentation?
- What is aerobic fermentation?
- What is lactic acid?
- How quickly should I ferment my harvest?
- Can I use Bragg's "raw" vinegar in my brine?
- What is fermentation?
- Is fermented food safe?
- What are the nutritional requirements of lactic-acid bacteria?
- Why is my cow-milk kefir fishy tasting?
- Which Vegetables Are Best Fermented?
- White foam on my pickles? Help!
- What causes spoilage?
- If I open the Pickl-It, to remove foam or yeast, won't that ruin the batch?
- Why did the garlic cloves in my pickles turn green or bluish-green?
- What is the step-by-step process of microbial lacto-fermentation?
- Don't white oak and grape leaves have high levels of tannins?
- Do ferments need to be refrigerated?
- There's frothy foam on my beet juice kvass. Is it spoiled?
Many vegetables expand, and when it expands, the only direction to move is up – toward the airlock. If it comes in contact with the bottom of the airlock, the brine will be suctioned up and out the airlock which is called “overflow”.
If this occurs, simply open the Pickl-It, removing a few tablespoons (or more) of food. You will also need to rinse out the airlock. We’ve found the easiest way to do that is…Read more...
By the conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide which gives it the “fizz.” Follow the “Read more…” link for additional details.Read more...
Gently tap the side of the Pickl-It or pick it up and gently set it down. If you see bubbles rising through the brine, there is still active fermentation. If you do not see bubbles, it means your initial fermentation is over. Depending on room temperature, this can take anywhere from 3 to 10-days. Ideal room temperature is between 68 and 72-degrees Fahrenheit.Read more...
Because light destroys lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria are crucial to a good, healthy fermentation, so please guard your fermented foods, keeping them out of strong light.
If you don’t have an out-of-the-way corner on your kitchen countertop…Read more...
Bacteria, part of a microscope group called “microbes”, are primarily our friends, with only 8% causing harm according to a superb article, The Matrix – Life’s Supporting SystemsRead more...
“Lacto”, used in “lacto-fermentation” and all of its derivations, refers to lactic-acid bacteria, familiar to most people as “lactobacillus”. “Lacto” is simply the shortened name of “lactobacillus”, the same way that we shorten “Samual” to “Sam”, or “Susan” to “Sue”.Read more...
White sediment can either come from salt which contain anti-caking additives, or from naturally-occurring yeast which forms during the fermentation process. Neither one is harmful, although many people are trying to remove chemical additives from diet, and opt to use only salt that contains no anti-caking agents.
For more problem-solving information about pickles: Oregon EDU
Kimchi is a side-dish, condiment, and even part of main-entrees, a lacto-fermented Korean delicacy that defies being just one thing. Kimchi is made from a wide-variety of vegetables, often cabbage, daikon radish, with over 200-variations. Multiply that times how many people have developed their own recipes, and kimchi even defies description!Read more...
Homofermentative lactobacilli occur in the 3rd stage of lacto-fermentation, producing the all-important lactic acid which is crucial, preserving lacto-fermented foods, and keeping them safe. Read more about homofermentative lactobacilli in the Microbial Step-by-Step article.Read more...
Talking about Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) is as exciting to us as what the retooling of the Hubble telescope must be to those intrigued by the discoveries of new space frontiers! It’s new frontiers, amazing science, and the quest for life all rolled up in one and we don’t even have to leave Earth!Read more...
The short answer is: “no”.
Lactic acid is the dominant acid created by lactic-acid bacteria, during fermentation. Although acetic acid (vinegar) is also created, the proper ratio of lactic:acetic acids needs to be in a 4:1 ratio.Read more...
One of our customers mentioned they view their lacto-fermented foods as “pets”. They’re not far from wrong! Lactic-acid bacteria – foundational to all fermentation processes – have complex nutritional needs and thrive on starches, amino acids, nucleotide bases, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and carbohydrates from vegetables, grains and dairy.Read more...
All vegetables and many fruits are great candidates for becoming fermented goodies! The lactic acid bacteria, which are stored on the exterior, as well in the cell walls of the fruit or vegetable, are the power behind fruits and vegetables, turning them into a wide variety of naturally-nutritious foods and beverages, including:
- sauces (jalapeno, ketchup)
- liquors, juices and fruit soda
- jams and chutney
- sauerkraut, kimchi, half-sour pickles, and a wide variety of other vegetable “pickle”
Vegetable pickles are a family favorite….Read more...
During cucumber fermentation, you will (or should) develop foam. It is a sign that you have an active, healthy, vibrant batch of pickles in the works. Congratulations!
The foam should begin to form on the 2nd day of your initial 3 to 5-day fermenting…Read more...
There are a variety of reasons including fruits or vegetables that were:
- had “bad” spots, already beginning to decay
- blossom ends (pickling cukes – especially important!) weren’t removed
- improperly stored
- stored too long
- immature – picked too early so not enough sugar/starch development
During the first week of fermentation, if you open the Pickl-It to scoop away foam – especially during fermenting of cucumbers – your pickles will not be ruined.Read more...
Blue or purple pigments are caused by all amino acids (proteins) (except for cysteine, proline and 4-hydroxy-proline) in crushed, sliced, or fermented garlic.Read more...
The “Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods”, p. 349, illustrates steps of lacto-fermentation, using sauerkraut as an example, describing the process of lacto-fermentation as:
- Spontaneous, complex microbiological process
- Has a strict sequence of different microorganisms
- Changing environmental conditions within the fermenting substrate (brine)
The addition of grape, white oak, sour cherry or horseradish leaves to the cucumber pickling brine, is a traditional method going back hundreds of years.Read more...
Since most people no longer have an 1800s style root cellar, cave, or a fermentation burial chamber in their backyard (popular in Korean for making kimchi), all of which never go above 50ºF or below 32ºF, we suggest lacto-fermented food should be stored in a refrigerator.Read more...
The sign of “frothy foam” sitting on top your beet juice kvass should not be taken as a sign-of-doom, but instead, a sign-of-success!Read more...
Did you know...
By the mid-1920s the middle class began to complain, continuing for the rest of the century, that families no longer ate together.
—Family Time & Food
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