How does the airlock work?

Our airlock uses an old-school technique with a unique, innovative design that fits atop any size wide-mouth jar. By filling the airlock approximately halfway with water, snapping it together, and securing it on your jar with the jar ring, you keep your fermentation project sterile. During the fermentation process, carbon dioxide is created. Our airlock allows the carbon dioxide to escape, thus relieving pressure and avoiding messy explosions or the need for “burping” your project while it ferments away. The water inside the airlock then keeps oxygen from entering your jar as well, preventing molding or food rot. It’s as simple as that; water, secure in place, walk away.

What is a “brine”?

A brine is basically a salt water mixture. Each recipe calls for it and the amount of salt you should use is dependent on the amount and type of vegetables you are fermenting. Here are some general measurements to get you started, but experimentation is always key. Also, when fermenting in cooler (slower) weather, use less salt; in the summer, use more.

To mix 4 cups of brine to various salinity percentages, dissolve the following amounts of salt into 4 cups of water:

2% brine – 1 TBS sea salt
3% brine – 1.5 TBS sea salt
4% brine – 2 TBS sea salt
5% brine – 2.5 TBS sea salt

My liquid looks cloudy. Is this ok?

Definitely! There’s a lot going on in that jar. As the fermentation process gets underway your vegetables are changing. Microorganisms use anaerobic metabolism to convert the food into more basic forms of itself, unlocking wonderful nutrients. This can make your brine appear cloudy as the process gets underway. No worries here!

Should my mixture bubble?

Yes. Carbon dioxide is created during the fermentation process (and safely released with our airlock system- see above). This can make your project look “bubbly”. This is great! Be sure to leave about 2 inches of headspace above the brine and the lip of the jar to avoid a messy overflow. And if it’s not bubbling, don’t worry. Some ferments are more active than others.

Do I need to add water to my vegetables?

Every recipe varies, but very generally speaking you are going to cover your vegetables in a salt water brine (see brine explanation above) and your veggies should be fully submerged (with the aid of our ceramic weight). Our airlock usually prevents evaporation, but in the case that you’re doing a very long ferment, it is possible that you may need to add a little water to your jar to ensure that your vegetables stay fully submerged. Keeping them below the “brine line” and out of the air ensures that your veggies are fermenting happily away in the sterile environment of salty water.

What type of water should I use?

Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can. It is also recommended to rinse the vegetables in un-chlorinated water rather than tap water. You can sit water out 24 hours in advance to allow the chlorine to evaporate. However, it should be covered to keep contaminants from getting in the water. Also, feel free to use chlorinated water if all this seems like a bother, but you might not get the best results.

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