Top Ten Tips for Successful Fermentation — 9 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 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?

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