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Fermentools Review and Giveaway

Ferments Review and Giveaway

I haven’t fermented much of anything in almost a year! I know. Crazy! After the move, I lost all my starters. They died from neglect. I was just too busy to take care of them and by the time things settled down, they were gone. No resurrecting them.

Besides a batch of pickled carrots or green beans here and there, I really haven’t done much in the way of fermenting.  I missed it. When Fermentools contacted me, asking if I would be interested in reviewing their product, it was the kick in the pants I needed to get my ferment back on.

The Review…

This month I had the pleasure of testing out a “new to me” fermentation lid from Fermentools. They sent me a lovely package filled with all sorts of goodies. Stainless steel extruded lids, gaskets, natural rubber stoppers, water airlocks, and salt. Himalayan very fine grained pink salt.

Many people are fine fermenting without using and special tools. Personally, I prefer to use an airtight vessel of some sort. Keeping oxygen out is the best way to ensure a successful ferment. You have little if any chance of mold and many speculate that you’ll have a product richer in lactic acid bacteria, the friendly bacteria that we want.

To test out these lids, I made a few different ferments. Spicy Green Beans, Carrot Sticks, Water Kefir, and Milk Kefir. They all turned out as expected, perfect.


These lids work with your wide mouth mason jars. No need to buy a special type of jar. Mason jars are cheap and easy to find everywhere. The lids work with any size, pint, quart, half gallon, as long as it’s a wide mouth jar.

They are not made of plastic! They are food grade 304 stainless steal. This fixes any worries about plastic you might have. Because they are not plastic, they are virtually indestructible. Instead of boring the hole out, creating metal shavings and sharp edges, the hole is extruded at a 10° angle. The angle produces a locking taper, meaning it creates a wedge when used with the airlock for an extra tight seal. It also strengthens the lid. Bending one of these would be a huge feat of strength. These lids are made to last a lifetime (or two).

The glass weights are great! They fill up more of the top space than any other glass weight I’ve tried. It’s made to fit a wide mouth mason jar without much room on either side. The perfect size.

Cheap! At least relatively speaking, they are cheap. You receive just the lid, gasket, and airlock. You provide the jar and tightening ring. You save big time on the product and on shipping costs.

I love their salt. It’s incredibly fine grained making it dissolve like a dream. It’s very well labeled with a chart instructing you on how much salt to use. If you don’t own a kitchen scale, no worries! They’ve weighed the salt and have listed on the package how many teaspoons/tablespoons of salt to use in order to get the brine percentage you want. Love it! I don’t think I’ll get my salt from anywhere else henceforth.


The gasket that goes between the lid and the jar, I’m just not crazy about. If you are familiar with Tattler lids, it’s the same kind of gasket used with those. They are not terrible, but they are thin. You have to be careful it’s aligned correctly when putting the lid on. I’d rather see a little bit thicker and wider gasket. That being said, I do understand that a thicker gasket would make getting the tightening ring on more difficult.

The airtightness of these types of lids is questionable. Screw on lid jars are not considered hermetically sealable because the screw on tightening action isn’t enough. I’m just saying it’s questionable. With a good gasket it might be good enough. If you aren’t particularly concerned about 100% hermetically sealed jars, then no worries. If you are concerned, these might not be the lids for you. Personally I have not had any trouble with mold using these lids and I live in a hot humid climate.


I think these lids are good. If 100% airtightness isn’t your biggest concern, these are great. They are inexpensive, durable, and in my experience they create an excellent end product. If you are new to fermenting and don’t want to invest in expensive fermentation vessels but still want to keep things anaerobic, these could be a good option for you.

The Giveaway!

Ok, now that you’ve heard all about Fermentools lids, here is your chance to win a Starter Kit. The starter kit includes one lid with gasket, natural rubber stoppers, airlock, glass weight, and 1 lb of extra fine grain Himalayan salt. Everything you need to get started. I’ve given you a few different ways to enter. Good luck!

Giveaway runs from 8/2/16 until midnight 8/8/16

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps support Pickle Me Too, allowing me to post and store all of my free recipes. Thank you!**

Pickle Me Too, Where Have You Been?

Proof I'm still alive.

Proof I’m still alive.

Over the last year it’s seems I had disappeared from the blogging world. Between moving, adjusting to a new place, and just being burned out, it was hard getting back into the swing of things. Plus the last 5 months I’ve been sick as a dog. We’re expecting kiddo #5 in December. I haven’t said anything on Pickle Me Too about it because, bleh, I don’t feel good. Hyperemesis gravidarum. Me and pregnancy don’t get along. Thank God I’m finally on the upswing. It’s been a week since I last threw up *knock on wood*.

Please, I know many of you will want to give me advice on morning sickness but seriously, after 6 pregnancies, I’ve tried it all. The first was the worst, this one has been pretty close. My magnesium levels are fine, sea bands are a joke, yes I eat every 2 hours (that actually helps but only so much), avoiding gluten like the plague helped but again it just made it a little better (if I accidentally got gluten I threw up uncontrollably for at least 4 days), the next person to say ginger to me might get punched. Anyway, I am feeling better now.

I wanted to let you know I’m still alive and Pickle Me Too is not dead, it was simply on pause. Being sick for so long has left me exhausted but that’s slowly getting better too. I have a few things lined up over the coming months. New recipes, reviews and giveaways, Facebook Live demos, and hopefully more. I’m back!

**This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps support Pickle Me Too, allowing me to post and store all of my free recipes. Thank you!**

3 Things I’ve Learned My First Year of Container Gardening

Hello. Remember me?

It’s been a loooong time since I last posted anything. I moved from North Dakota to North Carolina and fell out of sync with everything. Even my kids have been asking “What happened to Pickle Me Too?!”

Well, I finally feel like we are settled into a new home. We traded land for house space, going from a 15 acre homestead with a 1400 sq. ft. house to a neighborhood with a big house and a nice sized yard. The yard feels small to me compared to what I was used to but it’s actually pretty large, about 1 acre. It is plain weird having people surround us.

Gardening makes me happy so once the house was unpacked enough to live it, I got started on my garden. Since we are renting, I decided to simply do a container garden this year and maybe ask if we could put in a few raised bed gardens next year.

I wanted to share with you all the things I’ve learned so far about container gardening. It’s not as straight forward as I thought it would be and there has been a lot of trial and error. Here are 3 mistakes I’ve made and learned from this year. I still have so much to learn and am learning more every week that goes by.

#1 Get a Good Potting Soil.

Miracle Grow potting soil sucks. Sucks big time. I had heard this before starting but it was all I could find when I was desperate to get started. I thought if they are still selling it, it can’t be that bad. No, it is. It sucks. The problem with it is the soil pieces are too small and they compact pretty fast. With container gardening, you want very loose soil or you end up with rotten roots. And that is exactly what began to happen to my little garden within weeks of transplanting. My tomato leaves began to curl and stop growing. My peppers all but died. And the same went for the flowers and herbs. The cucumbers and watermelon are the only plants that didn’t seem to mind the potting soil. I almost lost everything before figuring out what was going on.

I found a local nursery with good potting soil and moved my plants to the good soil. I wasn’t able to save all of the plants. Some of them stank when I pulled them out of their pots. The roots were too rotten to save. With the bad soil I had left over, I added coconut coir (fiber from the husks of coconuts) to it and that did the trick. I even used straight coconut coir for some pots (if you do that, you will need to fertilize it regularly).

So, my advice, find a good nursery (not Walmart or Lowes or Home Depot) with real gardeners who know what they are doing. Ask them what they use and get that stuff. Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where I’ll mix my own soil but I’m not there yet.

#2 Get Good Pots

For some reason I had it in my head that 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom would be an awesome and cheap way to go. I quickly changed my mind. I might have saved a little money but not much but they are ugly. They worked ok, especially with deeper rooted plants like tomatoes, but not so much with more shallow rooted plants like watermelon and cucumbers.

The plastic pots I got on clearance at Target and Walmart worked great, looked prettier, and were about the same price as my 5 gallon buckets. I loved them until I found these…

Container Gardening

*Cue ethereal music*  Smart Pots. Oh my. Smart Pots. I love these pots. I love them so much that next season I plan on getting rid of most of my plastic containers and using only Smart Pots.

What makes them so wonderful?

  • Perfect drainage so no more rotting roots. They are nearly impossible to over water which can be a problem in the very wet climate I moved to.
  • The roots self-prune. Part of the problem with container gardening is the plants get root bound. They spread, hit the plastic (or ceramic) wall and then begin to wind around the pot in search of open space to spread to. With the fabric, they hit the wall feel the air and stop. You end up with a much healthier root system.
  • They come in all sorts of sizes from 1 gallon to 7 gallon pots. They also have a raised bed garden that provides 13.5 square feet of growing space.
  • The raised bed is much cheaper and easier to install than a wooden framed raised bed.

#3 Read the Instructions on the Fertilizer

I know, this should be a no brainer. I skimmed the instructions but didn’t read them carefully. I ended up “burning” a bunch of plants. I lost a few pepper plants, killed my strawberries off and had a few pole bean casualties. I wounded some flowers and but they made a slow recovery; I’m starting to see fresh growth under the burned leaves. Please take a minute to make sure you are doing it right.

And the rest of my garden…

Container Gardening

I call this the jungle. It has all my plastic pots to keep the wood from getting yucky. I lined the wood railing with a plastic netting for the cucumbers and watermelon to climb. Next year the watermelon will go in the raised bed garden. The cucumbers did great here and are so pretty. I also have a blueberry bush, pomegranate tree, olive tree, banana tree, ginger, mango tree (grown from a pit), peppers, eggplant, more tomatoes, herbs, and flowers.

Container Gardening


Here are more Smart Pots and another fabric raised bed called and EZ-Gro Garden. They are a little more expensive than the smart pots but come in square and rectangular shapes. Here I have okra, tomatoes, peppers, Okinawa spinach, and cucumbers growing.

Container Gardening


And this is my on my screen-in porch. Clockwise from top left, our cat Snirt tasting the Okinawa spinach, succulents, Moujean Tea, and a Pitcher plant which might be the coolest plant I have ever seen (it’s carnivorous and eats wasps).

Flash your garden! I’d love to see what you are growing. Post a pic on my Facebook page Pickle Me Too and follow me on Instagram pickle_me_too Instagram

**This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps support Pickle Me Too, allowing me to post and store all of my free recipes. Thank you!**

How to Have a Constant Supply of Buttermilk

How to Have a Constant Supply of Buttermilk

I’ve generally stayed away from writing up how-to’s for simple things like buttermilk. You can find 100s of article on how to make it by googling “how to make buttermilk”. But, I want to make Pickle Me Too a one stop ferment shop. I want people to come here and find whatever they need about fermentation. That’s a tall order for me because there is so much to learn about fermentation. I’ve only scratched the surface myself.

I’m going to throw in a beginner ferment every so often. Please, if there is something you would like to see on Pickle Me Too, let me know in the comments.

Buttermilk is great to drink (to some) and wonderful to cook with. My favorite use of it is in making buttermilk pancakes. We used some this morning to make these pancakes.

It’s easy to have a constant supply of buttermilk. When my jar gets down to about only 1/4 to 1/2 cup of buttermilk, I just pour in more milk, give it a shake and leave on the counter for a day. Kind of like a continuous brew buttermilk.

If you plan on making buttermilk this way, I do recommend using heated or pasteurized milk. The bacteria and enzymes in raw milk will begin to make the buttermilk taste funky after a while. You can use raw milk for the first batch but you’ll want to use fresh buttermilk made with pasteurized milk for further batches.

How to Make Buttermilk


  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (commercial buttermilk that says "live culture")
  • About 1 quart milk (raw or pasteurized)


  1. If you want to be able to continue to use your buttermilk to make more buttermilk, heat raw milk up to 165F and leave for about 30 secs. Let cool to room temperature. If using pasteurized milk, you can skip heating it.
  2. Place 1/4 cup buttermilk in a quart sized jar and fill with milk to 1/2" from the top.
  3. Cover tightly and gently shake to distribute the buttermilk.
  4. Keep cover on and let set at room temp for at least 12 hours, up to 24. It's done when the milk has thickened. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour it will be (and less lactose in the milk).
  5. Place in fridge. Will keep for about a month.
  6. To make more, just reserve 1/4 cup buttermilk and repeat the process.
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Curtido Brussels Sprouts

Curtido Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are basically teeny tiny heads of cabbage. Anything that tastes good with cabbage, tastes good with Brussels sprouts. One of my favorite ways to make sauerkraut is as Curtido, a South American (El Salvado if you want to get uber specific) sauerkraut. Why not try it with my little mini cabbages?

I’ve read that curtido is traditionally made with pineapple vinegar, though some will use apple cider vinegar. I actually do have pineapple vinegar (recipe here: Pineapple Vinegar) but vinegar inhibits lactic acid bacteria, the bacteria we are trying to encourage. So rather than add pineapple vinegar, I added some canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple would probably be better but I didn’t have any. Normally I advise against using canned food in a ferment but there is enough lactic acid bacteria on the cabbage and carrots to get the ferment going.

That being said, curtido is not traditionally fermented. In El Salvador, they make it with vinegar and eat it right away. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ferment it. We can put all the wonderful flavors of curtido together and make an amazing ferment.

This teeny little morsels of yumminess do take more time that other ferments, especially if you leave the brussels sprouts whole. Cutting them in half will speed things up, so feel free to do that if you are impatient.

I normally let my cabbage ferments go for a full 12 weeks. Ferments naturally produce a lot of histamines and cabbage in particular is bad. If you are sensitive to histamines (google histamine sensitivity if you have no idea what I’m talking about), make sure you let it go the full 12 weeks. If histamines don’t bother you, feel free to start enjoying them right away. The sooner you eat them, the more fresh they taste. The longer you wait, the more sour they get. I would suggest waiting at least 3 weeks (one week on the counter, 2 weeks in the fridge) or longer. You can test when they are done by cutting a brussels sprout in half. If it looks fresh in the middle, it’s not done.

And for the record, it is curtido with a u, not cortido with an o. I have a good friend from El Salvador who I asked about this. C-u-rtido [coor-tee-do].

Curtido Brussels Sprouts


  • 3 cups brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup carrot coins
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pineapple pieces (fresh or canned)
  • crushed red pepper to taste (fresh jalapeño peppers are great too)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • pinch of oregano
  • 2% brine


  1. Peel off any leaves from brussels sprouts that don't look good. Leave whole or cut in half.
  2. In a 1.5 liter jar, add brussels sprouts, carrots, onion, red pepper, cumin and oregano.
  3. Pour 2% brine over everything. Use a glass or clay weight to keep everything under the brine.
  4. Seal jar and don't forget to add water to your airlock if using one.
  5. Set in a warm place and let ferment for about a week or until bubble activity slows down.
  6. Move to cold storage.
  7. If you are sensitive to histamines, let ferment in the fridge for at least 11 more weeks. They are ready when it tastes like sauerkraut instead of cabbage.
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**This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps support Pickle Me Too, allowing me to post and store all of my free recipes. Thank you!**