Monday, February 22, 2016

I'm going to try to more active again on this blog.  I have become more interested in home preservation of Market produce and intend to make more posts like the last series on sauerkraut.

I received a comment on the sauerkraut post asking if using a stopper to seal an air lock in a plastic Ball jar lid was a good as using a grommet.  I have used both and I believe the stopper provides a better seal.  In either case it is important to get clean cut circular hole by using a spur type drill bit. If you fill the fermentation vessel to near the top I strongly recommend placing it in a non reactive pan to catch any leaks. 

I remember my parents fermenting sauerkraut in an open crock.   The cabbage was covered with a plate or some disk.  The disk was weighted to keep the cabbage below the surface of the brine and the crock was covered with a towel to keep out bugs.  The brine and the CO2 trapped below the towel was enough to prevent aerobic fermentation

The crock method is still used so it is not necessary to use an air lock.  Still, I have never  lost a batch to mold so I consider it inexpensive insurance and I intend to keep using them.  Since the leaks I have observed have usually been between the plastic lid and the glass jar I have started using a rubber gasket between the lid and jar.

My preferred system is a 1/2 gal wide mouth Ball jar with a plastic lid fitted with a wine makers air lock.  I cover the shredded cabbage with a large cabbage leaf and press it below the brine by inserting a 1/2 or 1 cup Ball jelly jar inside the wide mouth jar.  Use a gasket and screw the cap on.

Glenn Thompson

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