Kefir — Put A Lid On It!

When making milk kefir, many people have been taught to use a cloth and rubber band over the jar. This is one of the most common things that cause problems. When a cloth is used to cover a vessel for kefir, there is a risk of cross-contamination with wild yeasts in the air or even from other cultures, or foods nearby. Cross-contamination can affect kefir by changing the color or taste. Sometimes there is a discoloration on top of their kefir, for instance, a pink color that is a result of fermentation and yeasts that are accumulating in the kefir culture. Cross-contamination can also cause an off-taste that is strong and yeasty tasting. Cross-contamination is not bad and will not harm you, but it is best to always use a lid so that you can eliminate these problems. The best method is to use a canning jar with a plastic lid. Using a canning jar with a metal lid, a clamp-down jar, or even tightly sealed plastic wrap over a jar are all methods that work too. I have always done this and never have a problem with my kefir – even after almost two decades of fermenting.

Cultured Vegetables

Cultured Vegetables — Put A Lid On It!

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. There is a lot of information going around on the Internet stating that you should only use an airlock jar to ferment vegetables.  The controversy around the canning jar method is that it doesn’t seal well enough to remove the oxygen, creating 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 reports that suggest this method is not safe. I have been making and eating these foods for the last 17 years and I will shoot straight with you.

Cultured Vegetables — Made Safe

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 – just breaks my heart, 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.

What I Use

A canning jar with an airlock lid is what I use the most to make cultured vegetables. I have so many of these lids, and I think they work great to make cultured vegetables.  I have also used canning jars with plastic lids in all different sizes. You can use jars with metal lids, but I prefer plastic lids.  If the ferment touches the lid, a plastic lid won't taste metallic. Also, you shouldn't have metal touch the food during the fermentation process. You can also use clamp-down jars or crocks, but whatever you choose, make sure you put a secure lid on it to seal out the air and allow it to ferment properly.


Kombucha — Cloth And Rubber Band

Always use a cloth and rubber band when fermenting kombucha, unless you are second fermenting or storing your kombucha, and then it will be in a bottle with a lid and preferably a flip-top bottle. These work the best when storing kombucha because they let the gases and pressure escape without losing the carbonation. During the initial fermentation, you should always use a cloth and rubber band. Kombucha is aerobic and requires oxygen to ferment properly.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter — Secure Lid

I recommend using a lid on your sourdough starter. Plastic works the best, but metal will work too, although it can degrade and rust over time. The lid doesn't have to be screwed on tight just enough to allow a little air pressure to escape. When using a cloth and rubberband cross-contamination can occur, and sometimes, it can cause wild yeast to form. It is a good idea to pop the lid even when it is stored in the fridge, just to make sure that a lot of pressure doesn't build up.

Listen To My Podcast

When you're making fermented foods, you need to know which ones are anaerobic and which ones or aerobic... meaning or which ones need lids or a cloth & rubber band. It's important to know which one to use so you can avoid problems with your ferments. Check out the podcast to learn more.

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