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I have always been a little nervous when it comes to making fermented food, so I have been putting off trying it… until now! With the Starter Kit from Fermentools, I was able to easily make sauerkraut and can’t wait to try something else, like fermented green beans or cucumbers (pickles).
The part of fermenting that intimidated me (after getting over my initial misconceptions), was the whole burp-the-jar-daily thing and the potential for mold I kept reading. If you don’t regularly monitor the jars, you could find your counters covered in brine that’s oozed from under the jar lids. And there’s significant debate on whether you should scrape off any mold or dump the whole jar.
The Fermentools Starter Kit really takes the guesswork out of all of it. In fact, I set my jar aside in a cool dark place on my counter, as recommended, and I totally forgot it was there for two weeks! My cabbage fermented undisturbed for a full fourteen days, which as it turns out was an excellent amount of time as the flavor was great!
How To Ferment with Fermentools
Grab your Starter Kit, which includes everything you need. In the kit you will get a stainless steel lid that fits over wide mouth canning jars, a glass fermentation weight to hold down your food under the brine, one air lock, two rubber stoppers, a rubber canning gasket, and Himalayan powdered sea salt. You’ll also receive the instruction guide and a recipe for fermenting sauerkraut.
All of the pieces included in this kit are extremely high quality and sourced in the USA.
Once you have your kit I do recommend washing before using, but then all you have to do is shred your cabbage, place it in a mason jar with the appropriate amount of salt for the brine solution (a chart is included on the bag of sea salt so you can make a solution to your taste), place the glass weight on top, attach the Fermentools air lock and let it sit.
After two weeks, or the amount of time you decide to let it sit (the instructions said about one week, but it is all based on taste so you could check it after a week and keep going if you don’t like the taste yet), simply remove the air lock and place in the refrigerator to enjoy your sauerkraut whenever you’d like.
The pictures below are after 1 day, 3 days, and two weeks.
And the final product was a delicious fermented cabbage, aka, sauerkraut!
There are some common questions that seem to come up when you are starting out on your fermenting journey. Below are a few that I’ve come across as well as the answers I’ve found.
Can You Ferment Sauerkraut Too Long?
From the research I’ve found, it doesn’t really matter how long you ferment something because there are a lot of factors at play. The temperature of the room you are fermenting in plays a big role. A cool room will slow fermentation and a warmer room will speed it up. Most ferments do best at about 60 -70 degrees fahrenheit.
The amount of salt you use will also affect the time. Too little will speed it up, but it may get slimy or develop mold. Too much can really slow it down.
Personal preference is also a factor. The flavor of pickled vegetables and sauerkraut will get more complex over time. The texture will change as well. For a crunchier result, ferment for less time, if you like it softer then let it go longer.
So the short answer is that you can’t really ferment it too long, it should take as long as you want according to your tastes.
Can You Ferment In Plastic?
While I am a strong proponent of not using plastics for food at all, there are several ‘food-grade’ plastics that are considered suitable for fermentation. Any food-grade HDPE, LDPE, PP or polycarbonate container or item is appropriate for fermentation. These grades of plastics can withstand the salts used for fermentation and the acids created by fermentation. Other types of plastics should not be used.
Can You Ferment Coffee?
I have to admit, when I was researching the different fermenting questions that might come up this one took me off guard. I’d never considered that someone may want to ferment coffee, but I guess it’s a question that gets asked a lot as it came up on the top of my list of questions, and apparently it’s becoming one of the most desirable coffees on the planet.
One thing to note, “fermented coffee” is not referring to the natural fermentation process that occurs and helps to soften and remove the husk from the beans that are later roasted and ground, but rather coffee that has been fermented after it’s been pulped and the husk removed, prior to roast. This is also called kopi luwak coffee and you can find these grounds via many sellers online.
A second type of fermented coffee takes regular coffee after brewing and inoculates the brew with a mixture of certain yeasts and bacteria (culture starter). Coffee kombucha is an example of this type.
Can You Ferment Orange Juice?
Apparently I have not been in the fermenting game long enough because this was another question that I would not have thought to ask, but found coming up a lot in my research. There are varying opinions on fermented orange juice. Many say it tastes like hooch, or tastes horrendous, while others rave about the refreshing, effervescent drink.
From what I’ve found, you aren’t really making fermented orange juice, instead, you are making/using coconut water kefir and mixing it with orange juice. You do leave the mixture to sit for a day or two, so the answer to this one is… sort of?
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