If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.Thorin Oakenshield from the movie - The Hobbit
I often make fermented vegetables using a canning jar with a lid, but there are many methods and vessels you can use to make cultured vegetables. Some say you should only use an airlock jar to culture vegetables. They claim that the canning jar method doesn’t seal well enough to remove the oxygen (removing the oxygen creates an anaerobic environment for the fermentation) and, therefore, doesn’t produce enough good bacteria to create all the health benefits of fermentation. In addition, there are some suggesting this method is not safe. I have been making and eating these foods for the last 13 years and I will shoot straight with you. I’m always going to tell you the truth.
Generations of people have been fermenting foods for thousands of years without special vessels or fancy equipment. If your vegetables are submerged under the water or brine, then they are in an anaerobic environment and are perfectly fine and safe – period! Don’t let anyone try to convince you that you have to buy fancy equipment in order for your fermented vegetables to be safe. This story – that a simple, inexpensive method of making cultured vegetables is not safe – is very disheartening, because it scares people and keeps them from reaping the millions of benefits from these foods.
You can make these foods in canning jars, clamp down jars, crocks, or airlock vessels. I want you to make these vegetables and discover the benefits. Don’t be afraid. People have a lot to gain from promoting these types of negative news stories. Negative news sells and can drive a lot of traffic to their blog. Always follow the money when in doubt, and in this case people have much to gain from promoting this inaccurate story. If I can help people find wellness in the simplest, safest, and most affordable method as I have done, by golly I’m gonna tell them, and then we all can reap the benefits. Happy, healthy people make the world a better place! Okay, I’m done stomping my foot.
Let me explain what I use so that you can choose what’s best for you.
A clamp down jar is what I use quite often to make cultured vegetables. I have so many of these jars and I think they work great to make cultured vegetables. I also like that they come in a variety of sizes and fit well in my fridge.
I have also used canning jars with plastic lids in all different sizes. You can use jars with metal lids, but I prefer the plastic lids. If the ferment touches the lid, a plastic lid won’t leave a metallic taste. Also, it is better for you not to have metal touch the food during the fermentation process.
The airlock jar is my favorite method to make cultured veggies. What is an airlock jar for fermenting cultured vegetables? An airlock is a special gadget that facilitates the process of gas escaping your fermented vegetables while keeping air out. This allows you to make fermented vegetables while greatly reducing and often eliminating the threat of a harmless yeast that can form on cultured veggies. I also think they taste a little better and make the veggies more crisp. I also sell the airlock jars and lids in my store.
My least favorite method is a crock, because I have discovered that the cultured vegetables often, but not always, develop a white yeast called, kahm. This happens because the lids on crocks are not tight, but there is an easy way to remedy this if you still want to use a crock. My favorite fermentation guru, Sandor Katz, recommends that you ferment food the old-fashioned way – by pouring a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil over the top of your ferment. The top layer of oil will keep oxygen off the ferment’s surface. When you’re ready to eat the ferment, a coconut oil layer will pop right off as a solid, removable hunk as long as the temperature is below 76 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use olive oil, for instance with a fermented salsa, you can just mix it right into the ferment for added flavor. I have not tried this method so I am not sure how it would work, but it might be an option for you.
These are the methods that I use every day and I wanted to share them with you. I hope that I can make it easier for you, so that you will discover what fun it is to ferment foods and enjoy the benefits.