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Frequently Asked Questions

How To

Why is my brine cloudy?
How difficult is it to make lacto-fermented foods?
Is there a maximum limit when filling the Pickl-It?
How do I install the airlock into the Pickl-It lid?
What is meant by "firmly packed" food?
How do carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O) escape the airlock?
How do I clean the airlock?
Why doesn't the Dunk'R completely cover the top of the fermenting food?
Do I have to use salt?
How do I install the lid on the Pickl-It?
How do I detach and re-attach the wire-bails from the Pickl-It?
My wire-bails have stretched out. Can they be tightened?
There's food poking above the brine! Help?
You don't use distilled vinegar when making your pickles? Why?
There's brine in my airlock! What happened?
Can I store fermented foods in a vacuum-sealed glass jar?
Why can't I use regular, everyday table salt?
Is there a minimum level when filling the Pickl-It?
Do I sterilize the Pickl-It containers?
How much water do I put into the airlock?
How many vegetables does my Pickl-It hold?
My Pickl-It just arrived! How do I set it up?
Why should I cover my Pickl-It container during fermentation?
What size should I slice cabbage, used for making sauerkraut?
My sauerkraut didn't make enough brine. What do I do?
My sauerkraut brine disappeared during storage. What should I do?
How do I slice thin cabbage using a mandolin?
How do I keep grated and sliced vegetables under the brine?
I've made fermented kraut and cukes, but I'd like to do more. What else is there?
Do I need special equipment for lacto-fermentation?
Pickl-It Instruction Brochure
How is the Dunk'R used to remove oxygen from foods?
Why is my brine cloudy?

Some amount of “cloudy” brine is normal, created by the lactic acid bacteria during fermentation, especially during the first few weeks of a new batch, but it will eventually settle, turning clear.

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How difficult is it to make lacto-fermented foods?

Creating nutrient-dense old-fashioned half or full-sour pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, is as fun and easy as 1-2-3:

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Is there a maximum limit when filling the Pickl-It?

The Pickl-It has a “shoulder” – the curved corners about 1-inch below the “neck”. In the beginning, until you get a sense for how much each vegetable, grain or dairy expands during fermenting, use the shoulder as a fill-guide.

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How do I install the airlock into the Pickl-It lid?

Use a gentle, clockwise or counterclockwise when inserting the airlock into the grommet. It helps to hold the grommet in place on the underside of the lid, while gently twisting the airlock from the top downward.

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What is meant by "firmly packed" food?

The goal of packing or tamping food into the Pickl-It fermenting chamber, is to release oxygen trapped in pockets, an important step in an anaerobic Read more...

How do carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O) escape the airlock?

The airlock’s snap-on plastic cover has 8 small air holes drilled around its perimeter, through which O and CO2 escape.

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How do I clean the airlock?

DO NOT PLACE IN DISHWASHER
Pickl-It barrel airlock (part A) is easy-to-clean:
Follow the Read More link for instructions…

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Why doesn't the Dunk'R completely cover the top of the fermenting food?

If the Dunk’R completed covered the brine, oxygen and excess carbon dioxide, along with other gases created during fermentation, would become trapped, ruining the flavor, texture and nutritional value of the food….

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Do I have to use salt?

Yes.

  • Salt is a critical ingredient which helps to prevent undesirable bacteria from growing, encouraging a fermenting environment that supports the increase of the desirable bacteria that produces lactic acid.
  • An in-depth FAQ article detailing the Four Stages of Lacto-Fermentation, provides more information on the role of salt.
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How do I install the lid on the Pickl-It?

Attaching (or detaching) the Pickl-It lid is easy!…

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How do I detach and re-attach the wire-bails from the Pickl-It?

To keep your cover and container bail-wire looking shiny and new, we recommend you remove the two-part wire-bail system from the Pickl-It, and do not place them in the dishwasher. They will become discolored and lose their shine if exposed to harsh dishwasher detergents.

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My wire-bails have stretched out. Can they be tightened?

Removing the wire-bails from your lid and Pickl-It container, which preserves their shine – easily damaged by harsh dishwasher or dish soap – may cause them to become stretched out, fitting a bit too loosely. They’re easy to tighten!

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There's food poking above the brine! Help?

Occasionally, smaller cuts of food – shredded carrots, sauerkraut, chopped green beans – poke above the brine. There are any number of solutions, including:

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You don't use distilled vinegar when making your pickles? Why?

Using distilled vinegar has absolutely nothing in common with lacto-fermented, vibrant, rich-in-microbes, living foods! Weston A. Price Foundation recommends that distilled products – vinegar or alcohol – should be shunned, and are NOT appropriate in a healthy diet.

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There's brine in my airlock! What happened?

Brine that is drawn into the airlock happens for three reasons:

  • Foods were not compacted, eliminating air pockets
  • Too much food was packed into the Pickl-It, exceeding the capacity of the fermenting chamber
  • Food + brine exceeded the maximum fill

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Can I store fermented foods in a vacuum-sealed glass jar?

While food vacuum jar sealers are a great tool for food storage and preserving, we don’t recommend their use when refrigerating fermented foods.

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Why can't I use regular, everyday table salt?

There are several very important reasons to avoid refined salt in your diet.

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Is there a minimum level when filling the Pickl-It?

Yes! You should try to not have more than 50% airspace in the Pickl-It…..

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Do I sterilize the Pickl-It containers?

When you’re using the Pickl-It for the very first time, the manufacturer suggests washing the container and lid with warm, soapy water.

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How much water do I put into the airlock?

After you have loaded your Pickl-It with your prepared food, firmly packing it to removing oxygen, and have latched the cover, the final step is to prepare the airlock.

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How many vegetables does my Pickl-It hold?

It depends on the vegetable and the size of the container. Read more for some general guidelines…

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My Pickl-It just arrived! How do I set it up?

Setting up your new Pickl-It is easy as 123

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Why should I cover my Pickl-It container during fermentation?

By placing a towel around the Pickl-It container, the UV light is blocked from entering through the clear glass. UV light kills lactic-acid bacteria which is essential to the fermentation process.

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What size should I slice cabbage, used for making sauerkraut?

Cabbage sliced into “threads” – fine, wispy, almost-translucent – is the best way to achieve traditional sauerkraut flavor and texture. We usually create “threads” from 3-4 pound cabbage which have been cut into quarters, with the heart removed, slicing them on a mandolin with an angled blade.

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My sauerkraut didn't make enough brine. What do I do?

Simply make a 2/12 percent brine = 1 1/2 T unrefined high-quality sea salt per quart of water.

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My sauerkraut brine disappeared during storage. What should I do?

Sometimes, brine hides in the kraut. With a wooden dowel, end of a French rolling pin or wooden pestle, gently press the kraut, releasing the brine.

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How do I slice thin cabbage using a mandolin?

Whether your mandolin’s straight-slicing blade is horizontal or angled, you can achieve the perfect thread cut when you drag the edge of the cabbage wedge through the mandolin, instead of the straight, flat face of a half or quartered wedge.

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How do I keep grated and sliced vegetables under the brine?

An easy solution, in keeping “pokies” under the brine, is to criss-cross thin slices of carrots, turnips, celery, or any number of other vegetables, across the top of the vegetables. Remember, place the Dunk’R back on top, to weigh everything down.

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I've made fermented kraut and cukes, but I'd like to do more. What else is there?

Sauerkraut and cucumber pickles are lacto-fermented foods my grandmother always had on hand, and now I do, too! Any vegetable can be cured, brined, cultured, or lacto-fermented (same process, just different names!). Cookbook authors and food researchers, Sandor Katz, “Wild Fermentation”, and Sally Fallon in “Nourishing Traditions”, provide encouragement, as well as wonderful ideas on how to “pickle” a wide-range of vegetables, including:

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Do I need special equipment for lacto-fermentation? Yes, you do need special equipment if your goal is to create tasty lactic-acid (aka lacto-fermented) foods, which are a naturally-rich with probiotics. Read more...
Pickl-It Instruction Brochure

With every Pickl-It order, you should receive a handy 4-page instructional booklet which has handy tips and recipes, handy to have around the kitchen for those “hands-on” fermenting moments when you might need a little reminder, but don’t want to run to the computer.

Just in case you misplace yours? Here’s the master files, downloads, ready-to-print.

Sized for one 8 1/2 × 11, simply follow your printer’s instructions for two-sided printing.

Pickl-It Brochure – Front & Back Cover

Pickl-It Brochure – Inside two pages


How is the Dunk'R used to remove oxygen from foods?

Reducing oxygen is a very important step towards a successful lacto-fermentation, which is an anaerobic process. The Pickl-It Dunk’R can help!

Read more...

On the Web

Did you know...

  • Pickles were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus, who is known to have grown them on the island of Haiti.

    —New World Food

Testimonials...

  • I finally got brave enough to check the Pickl-It carrots. They were fine! They smell and taste really similar to the ones we used to by from Caldwells! Amazing. Thank you!

    —Anna

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