•Barrels, crocks, pots, jars of all kinds
•Historically, ferments were done in clay pots, buried underground or even in oak barrels. The methods are not only airtight, but avoided direct sunlight. Burying the ferments was common.
•Grandma re-purposed a big barrel – it was lined with a skin, cabbage and salt placed within, tied off and finished with huge stones. Another method grandma used for fermentation was a sealed clay pot and a crock or two. The clay pot was airtight and allowed for off-gassing.
•After experimenting and being involved in a pretty serious university study with various fermentation containers, we found that the quality, taste, and texture of those in the anaerobic vessels far exceeded anything else.
•The idea of having a special crock for fermenting is a great one!
•In China, Korea and Germany they have been used for thousands of years. We love our Harsch Crocks that do away with the formation of Kahm yeast, but our FIDO bottles are great for small garden gifts and special occasion krauts, like Christmas Kraut.
•There are other brands of quality glass fermenting bottles and crocks available. In our kitchen we have Fido’s (made in Italy) over 30 years old and still going strong.
• We also have used Le Parfait (made in France), Weck & Mason (USA) .
• These types of jars are made from high-quality glass and designed to withstand pressure. The wire bail jars are designed to release gas through the edges of the rubber seal.
• Use earthenware crocks. Pottery crocks can be used, so long as they are stoneware. Earthenware glazes frequently contain either lead or boron or other chemicals which can leach out . Some stoneware glazes may contain soluble barium salts, but on the whole these are much less common.
• Crocks and even a barrel or two are great if you have a wine cellar or kimchi cave in your backyard. The container used depends on the amount of produce being fermented.
A 5 liter crock will take 2 drum head cabbages, 10 liter will take 4 etc.
• Starting out with small amounts and inexpensive FIDO jars are fine.
In our fermenting workshops we share a tip – to forego a coffee or treat a week and buy 1 Fido until you have a collection.
• With glass containers (avoid metal lids). The Mason jar lids are NOT airtight. They are made for canning and have to be sealed airtight by pressure. Lactic acid bacteria cannot develop properly in an aerobic environment– the lid jars allow air in.
• Fido type jar keeps the oxygen out (the focus of vegetable fermentation) while allowing some of the CO2 to safely escape.
• If fermentation is done under anaerobic conditions, the results last a long, time. If you do not eat it all, you can keep most vegetables up to a year and some more, stored in an air-tight quality glass container.
• If using a not well sealed jar, the contents can eventually go slimy, nasty, grey, moldy, stinky disgusting after a period of time. In order for disgusting to happen (too quickly), oxygen-loving bacteria had to be in the ferment and they had to be able to out-compete the LABs in order to have that effect.
• When we ferment and store in an anaerobic environment, the LABs kill the oxygen-loving bacteria and keep veggies stable, crisp and with a consistent color, with no slimy nasties and most importantly, approachable to the tongue.
• The bottom line is that if fermentables go off quickly, it was not LAB dominated.
Sauerkraut – ready for refrigeration – bottled from crock – once again, looky, gut lovin’ extra brine. Perpetual salad.