Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lacto Fermentation using an easy, cheap Air Lock System and Mason Jars

You don't need to spend hundreds on Pickl-It Jars! Nor do you need jugs of olive oil to use as an air seal for your lacto ferments.  I was browsing the internet one day and came across something so much better than Pickl-It jars and oil seals! For around 10 dollars I had myself an air lock system to fit any wide mouth mason jar. For about 80 dollars I got 9 air locks, 9 rubber bungs and 9 re-cap lids! That beats paying 40 dollars for a Pickl-It jar and you only get one jar! I'm glad I found this cheaper, easier way of putting on an air seal for my ferments. I was using olive oil as a seal and let me be honest it doesn't work so great. Yes it keeps air out but I started getting mold growing on the surface of the oil that I had to scoop off about every 10 days. And well olive oil doesn't solidify well in the fridge, it needs lower temps to turn to a solid and there's no way to freeze it without ruining whatever you're fermenting, so when it comes time to eat your kraut the only choice you have is to pour the oil layer off and try to get as much of it poured off as possible, especially if its got mold floating on the surface, you really don't want to eat that. So this is just like Pickl-It but without breaking the bank to get a few jars! All you do is prepare your ferments and make sure you have a good brine covering your ferment, and I like to take a regular size mason jar seal, the flat lid part and place it inside my wide mouth jar and over my ferment where I place a heavy rock that's been scrubbed and boiled to hold it down with.  Or you can use something else small enough to fit inside the jar and heavy enough to keep your ferment under the brine. Now you screw the Re-cap lid on tight, pop the little lid open, place your rubber bung inside it and push your air lock seal into the drilled hole in the rubber bung, be careful not to press too hard or you will break the airlock (Guilty). Fill the air lock with water up to the water line and you're done, that's it. Now just place your jar in a cool place (around 50F.)  And leave it to ferment for a month. Check on your air lock every few days to make sure its stays full of water and add more when needed. Check also to make sure your ferment stays under the brine. Pictures are below.

You can spend a lot of money on specialized crocks. You’ll learn all about your $25.00-$200.00 is buying you an ideal anaerobic environment in which to nurture your precious bacteria… and so on. So here’s how to turn any mason jar into a Pickl-It Style fermentation crock for about $10.00 or less. To DYI a very serviceable lacto-fermentation crock, you’ll need:

1 airlock. Around $2.00 or less at your local homebrew store. I paid $1.00
1 rubber bung #6 $1.00 or less at your local homebrew store. I paid .77 cents
1 Re-Cap Mason Jar lid online for $6.99 in an appropriate size to hold your ferment. They sell wide mouth and regular re-caps that work for any size mason jars.

Go shopping at your local homebrew store or buy online from a brewery if you don’t have a homebrew store. Buy a 3 piece plastic airlock and a #6 drilled rubber bung. Should cost around three dollars or less total.
Put your airlock, bung and Recap Lid together in this order.
Now any mason jar is a fermentation crock. And now you have sealed off your ferment from nasty aerobic critters.

No comments:

Post a Comment