How much water do I put into the airlock?

Airlock Illustration

We offer two airlocks – our standard 3-part barrel airlock, and a 2-piece mini-airlock.

We prefer the smaller, mini-airlock for use with all Pickl-It jars from 200-ml through 1-liter.

For sizes 1.5-liter through 5-liter, we prefer the larger 3-part barrel airlock for on-counter fermentation.

The large airlock may be used on the smaller jars, if desired. And the mini-airlock may be used on the larger jars, especially handy during refrigeration-storage when space may not be available.

The large airlock adds about 4-inches to the overall height of every jar, while the mini-airlock adds about 2-inches.

The Procedure For Either Airlock is the Same….

And the way in which the airlocks work is the very same. See the illustration to the right. The way in which the airlock allows excess fermentation gases, as well as undesirable oxygen, a means of escape, but doesn’t allow oxygen back into the Pick-It. Oxygen is a lighter gas, so heavier fermentation gases fill up the chamber inside Pickl-It, creating a barrier under the water-filled airlock which prevents oxygen from coming back into the Pickl-It.

If you forget to place water in the airlock, mold and fungus will grow inside the Pick-It fermentation chamber, and food will become oxidized. It is very important to remember to place water in the airlock.

After you have….

  • loaded your Pickl-It with your prepared food,
  • firmly packed the food, which removes oxygen,
  • and latched the cover

.. the final step is to prepare the airlock.

Graphic No 1 Unsnap the plastic cap covering from the top of the 3-part airlock, or, if you’re using the mini airlock, simply remove the airlock cap.
Graphic No 2 Pour 1 1/2 to 2 T filtered water into the large 3-part airlock chamber; use 1 tsp water for the mini airlock, OR, 1/2 tsp water plus 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin. The mini-airlock loses water more quickly than the large airlock, especially in dry-climates or during refrigeration. Vegetable glycerin prevents water from evaporating.
Graphic No 3 Snap the large-airlock’s plastic cover back on the airlock. There are holes in the cover – very tiny, but they’re there – which allow the oxygen to escape. The mini airlock has a “gutter” underneath the lip of the cover through which oxygen escapes.

Image Mini Airlock We’ve had questions from people who felt that 1-tsp of water was insufficient in the mini-airlock. To demonstrate, we placed 1/2-tsp water and 1/2-tsp cranberry juice in a mini-airlock. When the cover, with the built-in “valve” is installed back onto the mini-airlock, the “valve” pushes the combined 1-tsp of liquids up, providing sufficient water-coverage on the inside of the airlock, without running up and over the center-stem, and down into the fermentation chamber.

Congratulations! You are now making traditional, nutrient-dense lacto-fermented food!

Continue to #7: Cover your Pickl-It
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