Pickles & Fermenting Foods for Storage
Food storage is essential if you want to be able to provide for your family during a disaster. I have found that one of the best ways to store food for a long time is by fermenting it. Pickles have a very long shelf life and will taste great, making them an excellent storage option.
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Ferment – What is It?
Even though you have probably eaten fermented foods before, as they are incredibly common, it’s normal not to understand the actual process of fermentation, especially if you are interested in using it as a storage option for food products. I found that learning about fermentation is a great way to make sure that you are correctly fermenting your food and that it will be safe for you to eat in the future.
Old World Needs for Fermented Vegetables
Before people had refrigerators, fermenting was the best way to store food for the future. Not only do fermented foods last longer, but they are also easier for people to digest. Fermentation is a process that allows food to be exposed to yeast and bacteria and will extend the life of perishables.
There is proof that civilizations were fermenting their food between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago out of necessity to ensure that it could last a long time. While there are many people now who ferment their foods due to the surprising number of benefits that fermented foods offer the body, long-term storage is still a great reason to look into fermenting your foods. Lacto-fermentation allows lactic acid to preserve the food you are storing by inhibiting bacterial growth.
Fermenting can extend the use of your food to years. It is important to note that you can eat your fermented foods after an extended period, but the health benefits will tend to decrease over time.
Fermentation Products – What you need!
If you want to ferment your foods for long-term storage, then there are a few fermentation products that you will need to get started. The items that you are going to need are:
- Pickle pipe
- Cheap Mason jars
- Fermentation Crock
A pickle pipe is imperative to have so that you can prevent mold from growing in your fermented foods without having to check it on a daily basis. While airlock systems were standard in the past, these silicone mason jar lids are easy and fast to use, creating a “set it and forget it” system that you’ll love. They quickly and easily seal to the jar so that you don’t have to worry about air entering your food. Using a Pickle Pipe lid is the fastest and easiest way to get started fermenting, making a pickle jar lid that is great for beginners.
Alternatives to the Pickle Pipe
There are alternative fermentation lids that you can use, including the Siliware Fermenting Lid. They are made from flexible silicone that is very easy to clean so that you can either wash these silicone mason jar lids by hand or put them in the dishwasher. Now you don’t ever have to worry about contamination when you are fermenting food and that you can control and prevent the spread of bacteria as well as mold growth.
Buying a complete pickle fermenting kit or set is a great way to ensure that you have everything that you need to have fermented foods right away. The fermentation lids that come with this set lock easily onto your fermenting jars and attach tightly, giving you the boost of confidence that you may need to be sure that your food will ferment correctly and will be safe to eat in the future. They do need to be put together, but the instructions make this process transparent and straightforward.
Easy Fermenter Lid for Pickles
Rely on the waterless and watertight airlock technology from the Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit to make fermenting your foods fast and easy. This valve allows your food to breathe without any concern that bacteria will find its way through the valve and into your pickle jar. You don’t have to worry about checking food for mold or worry about burping the fermented vegetables jar to release gas, as the easy fermenter lid will take care of everything for you. Additionally, the easy twist tab means that you can remove the easy fermenter lid without any frustration when fermentation is done.
Year of Plenty Fermentation Lids
These fermentation lids for mason jars from Year of Plenty are a little bit more challenging to use and advanced. They require the use of silicone gaskets, grommets, and screw-on lids. While they do a great job helping you to seal your pickle jar lids and allow fermentation to occur unimpeded, they are not the best option for a beginner who is looking for secure lids that will simplify the fermentation process as much as possible. They are great, however, if you have been fermenting for a while and want to use something a little more advanced and technical.
Cheap Mason Jars
Using cheap mason jars like these is a great way to start fermenting your foods. These jars easy to find and buy in bulk. You can streamline your fermentation process and get started without having to search for a lot of materials. And an added bonus, they are also incredibly easy to clean, like the Pickle Pipe Lids mentioned above. You can sanitize them and immediately begin fermenting your food without having to worry about whether or not you were able to wash the cheap mason jars correctly.
Ferment in Bulk with Gallon Jars
I have found that once you get into fermenting that you may want to use larger pickle jars than before so that you can cut down on the amount of storage space that you need and how many cheap mason jars that you are going to have to buy. These gallon jars are incredibly durable and sturdy and are dishwasher safe so that you can have them ready for fermenting at a moment’s notice.
Ball Half Gallon Mason Jar
If you want to ferment smaller batches of food, then you can’t go wrong with Ball half gallon mason jars. Ball is known for producing products that will last for generations without cracking, breaking, or chipping, making these fermentation jars ideal for long-term food storage. Additionally, you can use them over and over again without worry of them being damaged or the quality of your fermented foods decreasing over time.
No matter what kind of cheap mason jars you choose, you need to make sure that you have fermentation weights to keep your fermented vegetables safely under the brine. These glass fermentation weights are substantial in size and are a lot easier and faster to use than trying to DIY your mason jar weights. They make it easier for beginners to start fermenting foods without having to worry about what to do with the fermented vegetables that are on top of the brine.
A fermentation crock is specifically designed to hold vegetables while they ferment and to keep them in a safe environment so that they will be safe for you to eat. An excellent fermentation crock like the one from Harvest Fiesta Pots will make it easy to prevent food from rising above the surface of the liquid and keep mold and oxygen out of the food while it ferments so that there aren’t any problems with contamination, making it the best pickling crock option for fermenting.
Fermentation Crock Weights
If you already have a sauerkraut crock and merely need a piece to turn it into a fermentation crock, then you can buy two semi-circular stones that will rest on top of the fermented food and hold it under the liquid, creating all of the pressure that you need for fermentation to occur. These fermentation crock weights are great when used with a stoneware crock and are perfectly balanced so that you don’t need to worry about whether or not they will hold down the food.
Ferment Pickles with Style
Being able to water seal the lid on your picking jar or fermentation crock is vital to keep out bacteria during the fermentation process. Made with two tops so that you can not only seal the pot for the best possible flavor but also keep the entire thing covered, this jar is a great option if you want something that is as attractive as it is functional. It’s great for not only making your fermented foods but also for storage.
Fermented Foods without Odor
If you are fermenting foods that have a strong odor, then you will want to use a container that can contain the smell while providing a safe environment for fermentation, such as this Crazy Korean Premium Kimchi Container. Being able to control odors is great for beginners and more advanced users alike. The only concern is that the plastic hinges may break after continual use.
Once you have obtained the products listed above, then you will be ready to start fermenting your foods. The excitement begins here when you can start preparing for the future and storing food for when you will need it.
Steps for Your Fermented Vegetables
Your first step is going to be to choose the kind of food that you want to ferment. Cucumbers for pickles or cabbage for sauerkraut are where people tend to start, as they are relatively easy and fun, creating fermented food quickly that is delicious and easy to store. You will need to choose a method for fermenting, such as using a starter culture, salt bring, or whey.
Store Your Fermented Pickles
To ensure that your fermenting will work, it’s essential that you place your food in a dry and warm place, as the heat will help the microorganisms multiply in your jar or your crock. Typically, food will ferment faster during the summer, but you do need to make sure that you are checking its condition and quality on a regular basis to remove mold and make sure that all foods are submerged.
Slow down the Fermentation Process
You will then be able to put your vegetables in the refrigerator after fermentation is complete to slow down the process.
Now that you have all of the tools and products that you need and are ready to start fermenting, then it is time to start out with some easy vegetable recipes. These recipes are sure to give you some confidence that you can handle fermenting on your own and enjoy the long-term storage and health benefits that these foods have to offer.
There are a wide variety of recipes that you can choose from when you are getting started fermenting vegetables. Even after years of fermenting food, you are likely to run across new methods that are fun to try and will provide you with something a little different to enjoy from your food storage. Where to start can be a bit overwhelming to choose a recipe that you will like, and that is tried and true. Therefore, I will give you two methods to follow.
Both crock pickles and sauerkraut are favorite fermented vegetable recipes and are a great place to get started.
Crock Pickle Recipe
It’s easy to make pickles in your crock, even if you haven’t ever fermented foods before. As long as you have the right ingredients and ensure that all of them are high-quality and freshly picked, then you can make sure that your pickles will be delicious and will last for a long time in storage without getting mushy or molding.
First, you need to gather your ingredients. Then you need to make your brine and prepare your cucumbers by washing them and slicing off the blossom end. Begin by layering cucumbers, herbs, spices, and fresh dill. Continuing layering the foods into the fermentation crock, and then pour in the room temperature brine until the cucumbers are covered. Last, put in a cool dark place and check it on a regular basis for three weeks before storing or eating.
How to Make Sauerkraut
Making Sauerkraut at home is no problem, and if you love it, then you will enjoy how quickly you can make your fermented vegetables. It’s easy to make sauerkraut using high-quality ingredients, which allows you to control how crunchy or tangy it will be.
Main Ingredients for making sauerkraut
The main ingredients for making sauerkraut include:
And the additional fermentation products:
- Pickle Pipe
- Cheap Mason Jar
- Pickling crock with lid
Start here when making sauerkraut
Begin by quartering, coring, and cutting your sauerkraut into wedges so that you can:
- slice it thin
- grate it on a mandolin
- or run it through a food processor
Then you will have to massage salt into the cabbage to start breaking it down. The process must begin before putting it in a fermentation crock. Now the sauerkraut can ferment for a few weeks. Hopefully, you should no longer have to ask how to make sauerkraut after reading this section.
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, are packed full of probiotics, making them some of the healthiest foods in the world. This superfood is a great way to improve your health and ensure that you are doing everything possible to take care of yourself. Learning how to make sauerkraut, about sauerkraut probiotics and how they can help you will encourage you to include these foods in your diet.
Please let me know if you found this post helpful and informative. Will you start your fermented foods at home? Fermented vegetables are a great way to ensure that you have food during an emergency situation. Let me know what you think in the comments. And don’t forget to share this article with someone whom it can help.