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When I discovered WAPF about a year and a half ago, the concept of traditional foods really clicked. I knew instinctively that this sort of lifestyle was the best to give my son a healthy start in life.
I was not familiar with fermenting foods and don’t think I had even tried any other than yogurt. Unless you want to count faux-ferment vinegar pickles! But I got my Nourishing Traditions book and I was ready to get started!
I tried beet kvass and shredded ginger carrots in 1/2 gallon mason jars and because we were dairy-free at the time, I added extra salt as recommended. Even with the extra salt, I don’t think things went right. Funky smells, awful textures, kahm yeast on top…yuck.
I searched far and wide for information that would help me make ferments that we’d actually be happy to eat. Around the same time, all the talk of anaerobic fermentation came about, and I said, “hmm… could that be my problem?” I didn’t know, but I decided to start saving for some of those Pickl-It jars.
In the meantime, a kind lady in my local mom’s group gave me a gift of water kefir grains. I made water kefir with a paper towel on top. It didn’t smell particularly good (very yeasty) and I had to flavor it to be able to drink it, but I figured our health was worth it. As soon as I could afford the fancy jars, I bought 3 of them.
I tried making beet kvass and shredded ginger carrots again. They didn’t smell bad, but I didn’t particularly like them. My son loved the ginger carrots. I have a sister who has actually had ginger carrots before so I let her try it and she said, “Mmm, these are the best!” (Sidenote: I’ve since learned how to make delicious beet kvass and made a post to share all my best tips and tricks! Click here to learn how to make beet kvass without whey!)
I quickly branched out to fermenting other things, and pretty much all of them have been a success since. I also started brewing our water kefir anaerobically…and it smells, tastes and fizzes much better!
When you begin to love fermenting things like I do, you might start running out of jars all too often. This was the case several times. Our local Marshall’s started selling Fido jars for a relatively good price, so I bought a few more.
I’ve brewed water kefir with a regular Fido lid, and I’ve also made dill carrots and sauerkraut with it. I much prefer both with an airlock!
The water kefir brewed with an airlock was very bubbly, but smelled stinky. The dill carrots didn’t smell very pleasant and tasted “off,” so I just stuck them in the fridge–they did eventually smell and taste better.
The sauerkraut I left to ferment for 12 weeks. It smelled horrible and it was mushy! The sauerkraut I made with an airlock smells and tastes great and has an awesome crunch, just like the day I put it in the jar!
I was lucky enough to get to try a Boss Pickler recently, and have nothing but rave reviews. I’ve been limited with what I can ferment and store because of the 2- and 3-piece airlocks. I was only able to hold up to a 2L jar with the mini airlock, or a 1L jar with the large airlock in ONE part of the fridge.
Because the Boss Pickler’s airlock valves are so small, I am able to hold a 3L in the area of the fridge I used to use for fermenting, 1L jars in THREE(!!!) other sections! (Update October 2019: Things do not keep as long in the Boss Picklers. It worked well when oxygen and CO2 needed to escape the jar, but once pressure is no longer building up, I believe it lets oxygen in unfortunately. I now exclusively use Fido jars with the airlocks.)
Many bloggers have stated fermenting anaerobically is the way to go for optimal nutrition. It is a big source of debate, but I would choose fermenting this way based only on taste and having virtually no spoilage any day!
I love having the confidence that my ferment will not spoil even though I’m in hot and humid Florida with high house temps!