Top Ten Tips for Successful Fermentation — 13 Comments

  1. I just started fermenting and have had good success with 2 batches of Sauerkraut and 1 Kimchi fermented for approx. 1 month. My next batch of Sauerkraut (currently fermenting)I want to ferment for much longer. I have a crock with gutter and have put a little salt in the liquid for the seal, but I’m concerned that long term there is some maintenance on the gutter and liquid that need to be performed to prevent mold or other bacteria intrusion etc. I haven’t found a resource that addresses this issue. Any guidance you can provide would be great, I’m sure others starting out have the same question/concern. Thanks!

    Keith Adams
    Bend, OR

    • I’ve never experienced mold infiltration through the gutter. My experience tells me that you need to occasionally add more water to the gutter as it will tend to evaporate over time with longer fermentations. Glad to hear about your good successes! Let us know how things turn out with your next batch and if you learn anything else new!

  2. I just getting into farmenting and I it I suffer with high blood pressure so salt is out I read somewhere that I can use yogurt run off from the that truth. L

    • What you are saying has some truth to it. The key to successful ferments is keeping undesirable bacteria and mold from taking hold for a long enough time so that the natural fermentation process can create its own self-protective environment. Salt has the ability to make the environment more “defended.” Salt also has the added ability of assisting with breaking down cell walls to release liquid from the ingredients to help create a submerged “anaerobic” environment. Using whey (liquids run off from yogurt) is a way of jumpstarting the fermentation with more healthy bacteria and thus can help to get the ferment to a place where it is better able to protect itself more quickly. The main protection for a ferment comes from a low pH environment and that environment is created through the creation of lactic acid during the fermentation process. The longer the ferment goes, the more lactic acid is created. The more lactic acid, the lower the pH. Get the pH down to 4.5 and it’s considered foodsafe in terms of not being able to support any sort of botulism.

      So it’s not perfectly safe to just use whey, but it helps and you can try for sure. You’ll generally know if a ferment has gone bad (texture, smell, appearance can each provide clues). Using an airlock or a good fermenting crock can also help keep the ferment free of contaminants and thus help assure a more likely safe and delicious ferment whether or not upyou are using whey. Personally, I always use salt, but I’ve been cutting way back on the use of salt and have still been having positive results.

      I hope that helps.

  3. I have a question on Ginger Bug or Tumeric Bug. Once the bugs are bubbling I understand they can be bottled and fed to keep indefinately alive. I get that. The idea is to transfer the fermented bugs into a more permanent capped container. It is volital at that point so I asume you would burp it each day if left on the counter. Perhaps not if in the refrigerator as it would be in hiberination.

    Then to make a soda out of your bugs you would add a cup of bug to a bottle (glass is not recommended because of breakage, but I fear plastic too), then add a sugar syrup made from boiled water and more fruit and sugar. Not sure how much sugar to put in but they say make it more sweet than you like as the yeast will eat it up. Once cool than you can bottle up (plastic or glass?) and 2 or so days later you will have a fermented soda. They need to be burped each day as I understand it as they are like a bomb.

    When you start drinking your soda I understand you can save a cup or two in the bottom of the bottle and refill it again to make more soda indefinately. Here is my question finally. Can you refill the bottle with just water or do you have to put in another round of sugar watert and bug?

    PS I am already subscribed

    • The bug adds flavor and the sugar as the fuel for further fermentation, so I’d say add both. Eventually I’ll post a recipe here on Ginger Bugs, but I’m waiting until I really get them down! Can you share what you’ve learned?

  4. I make wine and have food grade plastic 5 gallon buckets with air locks to ferment the must in. I’m wondering if I could ferment my kimchee in these plastic buckets and utilize the air lock?

  5. Hey Ted, great site you have here! Kudo’s!
    Ive seen infomation on using a vacuum sealer instead of jars? have you any experience? your opion is valued!


    • Doesn’t make sense to me as fermentations give off gasses and a sealed bag would eventually expand and blow. That might have been when someone puts something away by boiling it first, which I don’t recommend as that would kill all the probiotics.

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