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Pickl-It Jars, are they worth it?

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Pickl-it jar

I know many of you have been patiently awaiting my review of the Pickl-It Jar.  I wanted to try a few different ferments in them so I could really get a feel for how they work and give an honest review.   Before I go further you should know I am not affiliated with Pickl-It and do not make any commission off of any sales.

I will be honest I’m in love but am now torn.  I’ve been using the mason jar/whey method for years and many of my favorite books and bloggers endorse that method and stand behind it.  But the more I learn the more I see the very best way to ferment is in a truly anaerobic environment and at this time that means a Pickl-It Jar or a Harsch crock.  That’s it.  I’m normally highly skeptically when someone tells me “This is the only product out there…”  If fact, I’ll do whatever I can to avoid using it.  Yeah, I’m stubborn.   But it’s true.  Any other system available now just is not as air tight as these.  I could go into it all but thank goodness KerryAnn from Cooking Traditional Foods did it for me with this great post Pickl-It vs. Mason Jars.  I really wish my DIY lids would be a viable option but it was brought to my attention that we just don’t know if the plastic will leach toxins into the ferment and I don’t feel comfortable using them at this time.  Close but no cigar.

Why an anaerobic environment?  The bacteria that we want are LAB’s (lactic acid bacteria) and these thrive in a salty anaerobic (no oxygen) environment.  If there is any oxygen available, other bacteria that we don’t want can take hold.  Skimming of the mold on top isn’t adequate because the mold does extend down further into the brine/veggie mix that you can’t see.  If we use a mason jar, even with the lid tightly screwed on, it’s not tight enough to keep air out even with an airlock.  Without an airlock if you don’t burp it the jar will explode.  When you burp the jar, guess what?  Air rushes in.  It’s really not an anaerobic environment even if everything is submerged in the brine.  This is not opinion, it’s fact.  Sometimes I don’t like facts but that’s just how it is.

To illustrate here is a really bad picture:

Now that I’ve cleared up the whole anaerobic issue (not too muddied still is it?), let’s talk about the Pickl-It Jar.  The jar is made from a Fido jar and is imported from Italy.  It is a high quality glass that is thick and durable.  You can tell how well made it is when you feel them.  After seeing these jars, I’ve actually ordered a few regular Fido’s.  They are an excellent jar.  The lids of the jars have a hole drilled in them with a silicon grommet inserted.  The jars use a wire-bail to lock the lid down with a thick gasket to ensure an airtight closure.  They come with a standard airlock as well as a mini airlock, a glass dunk’r for holding food under the brine and a plug for cold storage.  Kathleen from Pickl-It made sure all items in contact with the ferments are completely safe and free of toxins.  Interestingly, she had initially tried out a system similar to the DIY lids I suggested but after research and trial and error decided they were not acceptable.  You can read Kathleen’s story here http://www.pickl-it.com/about/our_story/

In the weeks I’ve had the jars, I’ve made kefir, filmjolk yogurt, carrot sticks, shredded ginger carrots, cauliflower and I have curtido and dilly green beans bubbling away right now.  Everything has turned out beautifully and I plan on updating you in the months to come to let you know how well the ferments hold up.  If something is fermented properly and cold stored in an airtight container, it should last much much longer.  I look forward to seeing how well they hold up.  I just threw out a jar of cauliflower that was forgotten in the back of the fridge.  It was about 6 months old but had gotten very discolored and gone mushy.  This should not happen with a good ferment.

Does this mean you can’t ferment in mason jars or use other airlock systems?  Of course not but just be aware of the concerns.  There is a risk that a bad bacteria could take hold instead of the LAB’s.  You just don’t know what bacteria is growing in an open system.  Many people have seemed to benefit from fermented foods from mason jars.  The Weston A. Price Foundation rates foods by good, better, best and I think we can do the same here.

Good: Mason jar fermentation.

Better: Other airlock systems that use thick rubber gaskets. If it weren’t for the concern about toxins, I would rate these as good.

Best:  Pickl-It Jar.

But that really doesn’t seem to do the jar justice.  This graphic is more accurate.

If you are dealing with gut issues that you are trying to heal, I strongly suggest getting a Pickl-It Jar.  The difference can many months of healing.  If you are on the diet, it is imperative to use a probiotic and a good one can be spendy.  I’ve consulted with KerryAnn and from my own research and hers, we agree that a Pickl-It Jar creates enough probiotics to not need a supplement.  I don’t know about you but that is good news for me.  A good probiotic for everyone in my family of 6 would be a lot of money.  Purchasing a bundle of Pickl-It Jars is a one time purchase that would end up saving us hundreds of dollars.

In short, I don’t plan on fermenting in anything but a Pickl-It jar from now on (unless I find an awesome deal on a Harsch crock).

As a side note, kombucha should not be fermented in a Pickl-It Jar.  Kombucha does need oxygen to ferment properly.  The same goes for apple cider vinegar.

I anticipate questions, concerns and general unhappiness (who likes change?).  Please feel free to comment or write on my Facebook wall (so all can benefit and pipe in).  Us fermenters are passionate about our little fermenting hobby but please be respectful.  My motto is “Know better, do better.”

95 comments to Pickl-It Jars, are they worth it?

  • I’ve seen these pickle-it jars,kind of expensive though! I drink kombucha tea & love it! I have ordered the water kefir kit also! I don’t like the taste of our water here, I drink Diet Dr Pepper all day long!! I know their not good for me,I’m diabetic too! Do you think I should try a couple of these jars?I’ve wanted to can some dill pickles~~would these jars be good for that? Thanks Kathy Young

    • Melanie

      Hi Kathy!
      These jars are for lactofermentation, not vinegar pickling, and they aren’t for canning either. You could always can the resulting product but canning kills everything good about lactofermentation. I wrote about that here: http://wp.me/p2h2qt-ba

      The jars aren’t cheap for sure but I think they are worth it. I resisted getting any for a long time because of the price but it is a lot cheaper than a Harsch crock and the ferments do last considerably longer. I just threw out a few jars of older ferments that would have been fine if they were in a Fido or Pickl-It jar. And if someone is looking to do fermentation for gut healing, they are definitely worth it.

      Kombucha would definitely be much better than diet Dr. Pepper. I used to crave soda pretty badly. I just really like the carbonation. Drinking kombucha and water kefir helped get rid of that habit. Now I’m not even tempted by it. I had a soda a few months back and couldn’t finish it because it was too sweet. Woohoo!

  • DeWayne Smith

    I have the 1 1/2 litre, 3 litre, and the 5 litre Pickl-it jars and I love them. They make the best pickles and kraut. Yes, they are kind of pricey, but they are a quality product. Got to order more soon.

  • Sonya

    So happy to find your website and can’t wait to dig deeper into the nourishing foods you make! We recently learned about the necessity of fermented foods for healthy digestion on a quest to help our sons’ food allergies. Cool to see that you are a mom of boys (I have 3) and are homeschooling…something we are going to try out over the summer. I’ll for sure be following your posts!
    Glad to hear u approve of pickl-it, my first pickl-it jar is in the mail, can’t wait to tear into it!! Kind of scared too, I have never canned anything in my life…

  • What makes you put the “better” so close to the “good” end? Just curious! I would think it would be closer to the “best” range on the scale.

    • Melanie

      The reason I did it that way is because I do think the lids I made (if we were sure they didn’t leach toxins) are a step up from either an open bowl or even the burping method but they are far cry from the Pickl-It or Harsch crock. At least in my experience. With the DIY lid, when stored in the fridge I noticed eventually the fermented food became discolored and mushy and that’s not supposed to happen with a Pickl-It. That shows me air is getting in. Mason jars are meant to seal with vacuum not the reverse (air pushing out from the inside).

      Now someone brought to my attention a cork method that intrigues me. That one I might put closer to the Pickl-It or Harsch crock. At this time I see no reason why it wouldn’t be effective.

      • Bella

        Why not use the white Ball plastic jar lids (not for canning)? This is what I had done independent of reading your post (I just came to it now in a search to see if Pickl-It would sell just the glass lid w/hole, as I also have a bunch of Fido jars. Apparently they will not and are interested only in shipping the whole Fido jar setup to us). I got the white plastic lid idea from here: http://blog.kitchentherapy.us/2011/09/how-to-make-an-airlock-cap/ , *except* I changed to a silicone bung (called a #2 drilled stopper, which required I use a 5/8″ drill bit for the hole) from my local homebrewing supply store. I also bought some glass airlocks to go along with my plastic ones from the brew store. Anyway, the Ball white plastic storage lids are made (in China, hmm) of polypropylene, which EWG says is safer than BPA-containing plastics. “Safer” is not “safe” like glass, but for those who are inveterate DIYers and also on a serious budget, you can’t beat the low cost of Ball jar (~$1.75), white storage lid (~$0.60), drilled bung/stopper ($.60) and cheap plastic airlock (which is the same that Pickl-It uses, btw, at $1.50 from the local brewing supply store). These storage lids are airtight when screwed on tight, as well, and are meant for storage use with Ball jars after the metal lid’s seal has been broken.

        • Kate

          Yay for Mason Jars!
          I bought some airlocks, drilled through the metal lids, put in a gasket, and put in the airlock.
          Beeswax as a filler or sealer was recommended to me; I saw some space where water came up near the gasket, so when I get a chance, I’ll melt some beeswax near there.
          Right now I’m not even using my re-fitted lids. Some small glass bowls will completely dip into the tops of mason jars, making a completely airtight seal. If there are any burps, by big jar is in a large bucket,the small bowl can handle it, and I can readjust the brine level as needed.
          Simple and easy!

        • Paul

          I do the same, but drill a larger hole and use a rubber stopper with airlock hole in it from a home brew store. If the food is not touching the plastic, I feel it is safe. No one ever mentions if the airlock plastic is safe…which I find odd as it is just as exposed as the plastic lids that are apparently so awful.

      • Tania

        The point you were trying to make was very obvious! I wonder sometimes if people read properly before they comment. Thanks for the detailed review.

  • Kitsa

    I’m surprised that some of you think the Pickl-it is expensive. You can buy a whole set for less than the cost of a Harsch crock!

    • Melanie

      I used to think they were until I saw how much a Harsch was :-) Comparing them to a mason jar, yeah they seem expensive but the end product is worth it to me.

  • I am just starting to do fermented foods is there a website or book that you would recommend?

    • Melanie

      There are a few good ones out there. Sandor Katz “Wild Fermentation” though he recommends open systems which I’m learning now aren’t the safest. He also has a new book out that I haven’t seen yet. “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon is another goodie. Wardeh Harmon just released her book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods”. I have one on it’s way to me that I’m stalking my mailbox waiting for. Wardeh also has an excellent e-course that I reviewed here: E-Course Review
      The Pickl-It website is full of great information as well. Kathleen really researches her stuff. And KerryAnn of http://www.cookingtf.com has a series about lactofermentation that has been very informative.
      Off the top of my head, those are my favorite books and sites. Hope that helps!

  • Jim Sevlie

    I have two Pickl-It jars, and overall I am quite happy with them. My only issue with them is that compared to my Le Parfait jars, I find the Pickl-It wire clamp down a bit flimsy.

    Shortly after I got my Pickl-It jars, I came across a Lacto-fermenting Air Lock System from the COOKING GOD’S WAY website. It has a rubber gasket similar to Pickl-It and screw on lid with grommets that fit wide mouth canning jars and an airlock. And as you might guess, much less expensive. I use both types for fermenting with good results.

    I was wondering if you are familiar with the COOKING GOD’S WAY system, and if you have any ideas or opinions regarding them.

    Jim

    • Melanie

      Hi Jim,

      The other system you are referring to is like the DIY lid I linked to, right? I’m not sure about that one leaching chemicals because they are made with a different plastic but the same problem happens with these as with the ones I shared. A threaded mason jar just doesn’t get as tight. I was told that a thread jar would never even be considered for being certified hermetically sealed (air tight). You still get a better seal with Pickl-It type jar. I wonder if there is a way to tighten it if yours is too loose.

      • As an owner and co-creator, tester and user of the Lacto-fermenting Air-lock System at Cooking God’s Way I can vouch that the system we offer is an air-tight anaerobic system. All parts are BPA-free plastic and natural food-safe rubber. The gasket included in our kit makes the system air-tight. I have been using this system for years. The reason we created this system was so that everyone could make healthy, properly fermented foods no mater their budget.

        FYI – once an air-lock is employed in the fermenting process the pressures within the jar are just slightly greater than the atmospheric pressures outside of the jar, this is because it is being vented through the air-lock. So in this way a plastic lid could easily withstand the slight pressure that is within the jar. Flip-top spring loaded lids are only needed when the fermentation is done in a closed system (with no vent) such as beer, homemade soda, etc.

        • Melanie

          Hi Shannon! I’m happy you stopped by and am grateful for your input. One thing I do keep going back to is the fact that mason jars are meant to be air tight in a vacuum situation, not with internal pressure. But, with an airlock, I can’t imagine the internal pressure ever getting up high enough to allow air seepage.
          What I’d really like to see is actual numbers of LAB’s in a ferment. Is there a big difference between a jar that is certified hermetically sealed and a jar that might not be hermetically sealed but “good enough”?

          • Melanie, can you explain what you mean by “with an airlock, I can’t imagine the internal pressure ever getting up high enough to allow air seepage” ?

            Do you mean the CO2 won’t go out the airlock? I can vouch that it does :)

            “What I’d really like to see is actual numbers of LAB’s in a ferment. Is there a big difference between a jar that is certified hermetically sealed and a jar that might not be hermetically sealed but “good enough”?”

            Stay tuned. My testing will begin in two weeks or so and I will let you know.

          • Melanie

            There is so much I’m still learning. What I meant by that sentence is simply I can’t imagine oxygen going into the vessel under the gasket that’s locked down by a lid ring. The air leaves easily it’s whether air get in that I doubt. But then that leaves what I mentioned in my other comment. What about after the active stage when there isn’t as much pressure? Can air make it’s way in then?

          • I can’t seem to reply directly under this:

            “There is so much I’m still learning. What I meant by that sentence is simply I can’t imagine oxygen going into the vessel under the gasket that’s locked down by a lid ring. The air leaves easily it’s whether air get in that I doubt. But then that leaves what I mentioned in my other comment. What about after the active stage when there isn’t as much pressure? Can air make it’s way in then?”

            Yes, I can’t imagine that, either – air just won’t force its way through the gasket when there is an airlock in place. It certainly isn’t getting in. The CO2 causes a certain amount of pressure always pushing out, preventing oxygen from penetrating.

            Air still won’t make its way in due to the vessel being full of CO2.

  • Abbey White

    Mine finally arrived yesterday and I’m pickling the remaining 2011 garlic right now. I had been searching for a way to ferment when I stumbled across you blog.

    I’ve had stuff go very bad in Mason jars so I’m looking forward to this system.

    • Melanie

      Ooh, pickled garlic! That is one that just keeps getting better and better with time. I can’t wait until I have more garlic to pickle.

  • [...] hoopla in the fermenting world concerning mason jars and anaerobic environments.  My timing of a review of the Pickl-It jars just happened to fall in the middle of it all.   If you aren’t aware, you can see some of [...]

  • trish

    So if I am making milk kefir, water kefir and kombucha should I be using these air tight jars? Also, my water kefir has not been fermenting enough to eat all the sugar, any tips?:)

    • Melanie

      Kombucha you for sure want to have access to air. Oxygen is part of the fermentation process. I hear mixed things about kefir. Since yeast is part of the grains, it seems to me they would do better with access to air but I hear others say it works best in an airtight system. So, I’m not sure. I do mine lidded loosely.
      How long have you had your water kefir grains? Sometimes it can take time for them to take off. When mine would do that, I would just throw the water out and start a new batch if it tasted too sugary. Honestly though, I have not had good luck with water kefir. I think my house is too cold for it but I’m not entirely sure why water kefir doesn’t like me.

  • “There is a risk that a bad bacteria could take hold instead of the LAB’s.”

    There is no way this is possible when the pH drops. Bad bacteria can’t survive!

    “You just don’t know what bacteria is growing in an open system.”

    Open-air (cheeseloth-covered) – you’re right on this. But a mason jar with a lid like the Cooking God’s Way system – that is as effective as a Fido jar with rubber gasket.

    • Melanie

      The oil pH is not affected by the ferment and some bacteria can live in oil. That’s where the concern is.
      I’m still not sure on the mason jar systems. Yes, during active fermentation oxygen will be pushed out but what concerns me is after the pressure is gone when the activity dies down. A threaded system, especially with a plastic cap (even with a gasket) just doesn’t seem like it is truly airtight. Threaded jars are not ever considered hermetically sealed. How much of a difference? I have no idea. I can’t wait to see what you conclude with your tests.

      • With any system, once the CO2 stops being created by the LABS, it will stop being pushed out the top. But it will be full of CO2. And then you use it or put it in the fridge.

        Hermetically sealed is over-kill. That is not the aim here. Threads don’t really matter here if you have a lid that has a gasket, screwing on the cap tight will push that gasket down tight preventing any CO2 from escaping, and certainly any oxygen from coming in through the threads! The airlock is the weakest point and that is where the CO2 will push out. Oxygen can’t penetrate this system.

        “threaded system isn’t hermetically safe” is true but a moot point when we’re talking ferments.

        I think too much attention is being focused on red herring-type details and the bigger picture is not being seen (not from you).

        Think about it, really. The lid squishes the gasket down. It doesn’t matter how the lid is squishing down, it is squishing down. The threads could have holes and it wouldn’t matter. The gasket is smashed on top of the glass mason jar rim, preventing any air from being exchanged.

        Now a plain white lid, sure, it’s not air tight. We know that because they leak.

        To get back to the question, your concern about pressure is done when activity dies down can be true for any set-up :)

        • Melanie

          The problem I have with the white lids, even with the gasket is the fact the plastic, I don’t feel like it is on as tight as a metal band. But maybe that’s just me, lol! Honestly I have only seen that set-up from pictures online and have never used one. I do think they probably work great but we’re talking about air molecules that are teeny tiny and what seems air tight to us, might not be. How much that affects the ferment? I sure hope your test will reveal that. I hate guessing. I like knowing :-)

          Before I was worried about any toxicity with the Tattler lids, I did use them for ferments and for storage. For the active fermentation stage, they appeared to work brilliantly but storage, not so much. The picture on KerryAnn’s post about oxidation is of a ferment stored in the fridge using a Tattle lid, gasket and metal band but has major oxidation issues. It was oxidized after only a week or so in storage so it wasn’t an issue of the jar not being full enough. That’s proof enough for me that air does in fact get in a mason jar with a gasket. For people who aren’t trying to heal major gut issues, I have no problem telling them to use mason jars but for people who want to see big improvements I think are better off using Pickl-It’s or Harsch crocks.

          • There very well be a difference between the Tattler and the Cooking God’s Way system. Not all gaskets are created equal – the CGW gasket is much different than the Tattler. I do agree the metal lid and band do seem to be tighter. I will be testing a metal lid and band with an airlock and anticipate it will do well.

            I hate knowing, too :) I can’t wait to get started. I need to hear back from my microbiologist friend (very busy man!) and then I can place my order and get started. I plan for this to be first week of June.

            I do agree those with gut issues will be the most sensitive and will notice right away when oxygen gets in there. Others…it will take longer.

  • Kate

    I read Katz’ ‘Wild Fermentation’, and have also surfed around ‘pickle me to’ and been so inspired by your recipes!

    After contemplating the ‘picklit’ jars, I surfed around the net some more, and decided that I believe in the unitarian universalist method of fermentation! No special equipment needed, really, except clean and hygaenic methods.
    I bought some air locks and gaskets at Whole Foods and rigged up some mason jar lids with them but haven’t tried that yet.
    A food grade plastic barrel with a plate and heavy bowl inside made perfect dill pickles. A small size mason jar filled with water sitting inside and on top of fermenting vegetables works fine! Kefir grains are happy in a larger wide mouth mason jar, sealed or topped with cheesecloth under the ring.
    People have been fermenting all over the globe, probably from time immemorial, in all kinds of vessels!
    Yak skins and animal bladders, wooden barrels, glass vessels, ceramic crocks, and state of the art 21st century convenient parephenalia. All work! I’d rather buy more eggs or vegetables for the next ferment than more jars for the shelves in my small fridge and small kitchen!

  • Barb

    Hi. I am just discovering fermented veggies and after lots of research had decided to purchase the Perfect Pickler lid/jars. Then I found your site and revie of the Pickl-It system. Have you used the Perfect Pickler and do you know how they compare to the Pickl-It system ?

    Thanks !

    • Melanie

      Hi Barb,
      While I think the Perfect Pickler and other lids like it are definitely a step in the right directions and much better than open air fermentation, I still think they are far below a Pickl-it for a few reasons. First, even though they are BPA free, plastic is still full of chemicals and toxins that we just don’t know how they react with ferments that put off gases and are acidic. I’m hesitant to use any plastic at all with my ferments. Secondly, threaded jars just don’t make as good of a seal as a wire-bail jar like a Pickl-it (which are made out of Fido jars). I haven’t seen the Perfect Pickler’s gasket to see if it’s good or not but from the picture, it doesn’t look thick enough to me.
      And as far as price goes, a 1L Pickl-it (close in size to a quart sized mason jar) is $23. To get a Perfect Pickler lid, it’s $19.95 and that’s just the lid (and a booklet). For $3 more, a Pickl-it is so much more worth it.

  • Maryellen

    For those of you that are interested in a more economical way to get a glass lid to ferment in, I drilled a hole with a diamond drill bit($10.00 -$20.00 at Lowe’s)into the glass top on a Fido bottle. Inserted a food grade grommet and air lock. Later I stopped the hole after fermenting with the plugs from Pickle It . It works perfect! When drilling the hole you have to use a piece of wood to guide the drill because the first cuts don’t grab the glass very well. The wood holds the drill bit in place until it gets a grip on the glass. I bought the Fido bottle at a discount store some of you may know called, Ross. They were only $4.00 for a 2 L jar. That is right, $4.00!!!

    Another thing I noticed with the glass lids. You have to watch to make sure the wire is grabbing tight enough. I have had this problem even with the Pickle It jars.

  • Have you seen this video? I am just trying to sort all of this out and don’t understand why a Pickl-It is any better than a plain Fido if a Fido does indeed off-gas on its own without being burped? What do you think? http://www.nourishingtreasures.com/index.php/2012/08/29/do-fido-jars-explode-do-they-off-gas-lets-find-out-video/

  • Hi Apryl!

    I’m actually working on a post about that right now. Basically the answer is I don’t know. Fidos will release CO2 after it’s built up. What I’m not sure about is the effect a build up of CO2 has on a ferment. One thing I will say is that I do think fermenting in a Fido is definitely better than a mason jar. I am sure of Pickl-it’s which is why I still will recommend them over a Fido until I know for sure.
    Confusing enough for you?

  • If I may – I researched this and came up with several studies showing the benefit of that extra layer of CO2 on a ferment:

    http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache%3Az9UJqzred3MJ%3Ascholar.google.com%2F+dense+CO2+ferment&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C44&as_vis=1

    “The concentrations of esters and fusel alcohols formed during brewery fermentations were significantly reduced by increased carbon dioxide pressure.”

    and this: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.2260/abstract;jsessionid=BBB01D90D903E552DCFC740F1EBC6F3E.d02t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage&userIsAuthenticated=false

    “The effects of dense phase CO2 processing parameters, inclu
    ding temperature (25 and 35 °C), CO2 concentration (0, 85 and 170 g kg−1) and pressure (6.9, 27.6 and 48.3 MPa), on yeast survival and sensory properties of grape juice were investigated. The dense phase CO2 process resulted in more than a 6 log reduction in yeast population. As the CO2 to juice concentration, temperature and pressure increased, the inactivation rate increased. CO2 in the supercritical state was more effective in inactivating yeast than in the subcritical state. The process did not cause detectable flavor degradation. Dense phase CO2 processing can be an effective non-thermal alternative process for pasteurization of grape juice. ”

    ‎”Lactic acid bacteria were generally favoured by elevated CO2 or reduced O2 concentrations” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2672.1999.00682.x/full#b52

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643897902504

    Inactivation ofLactobacillussp. fromkimchiby high pressure carbon dioxide was investigated in a batch system. Inactivation rates increased with increasing pressure, tempera
    ture and exposure time, and with decreasing working volume ratio. Microbial reduction of 5 log cycles was observed within 200 min under a CO2pressure of 70 kg/cm2at 30 °C. It was suggested that cell death resulted from the lowered intracellular pH due to penetration of CO2, rather than physical rupture of cell walls due to the high pressure of CO2. The experimental results suggested that high pressure CO2treatment could be used as a potential nonthermal technique forkimchipreservation.

    Now this shows LAB death, but that is a LOT of pressure – way more than you can get in a Fido.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0141022982900345

    “The role of carbon dioxide in affecting yeast metabolism (particularly growth processes) is not clear although inhibition is generally found at moderate to high concentrations of the dissolved gas.”

    Hope that helps!

    • Melanie

      This is one thing about research that drives me up the wall. It seems you can find anything to support whatever you want to believe. I have just as many sources (more even) that imply the impact of CO2 build up could be a bad thing. Once I sort through everything (pros and cons), I hope to come to some sort of conclusion. All the research still leaves me with more questions. Kind of makes me wish I was a microbiologist with access to a lab, lol! There is only so much a kitchen experiment can tell me.

      Anyway, thanks for these articles. I’ll be sure to go through them too.

      In the end though, I’m sure the any bad effects CO2 can have on a ferment is less than what an open air system would produce. If I had to choose between an mason jar and a Fido, I would definitely choose the Fido. But the price of getting a few Pickl-it’s is worth it to me knowing that I am getting an awesome ferment for sure. No second guessing for me.

  • I know what you mean. The more I learn about fermenting, the more questions I have, and realize I have so much more to learn. :P

  • Barbara

    I am new to fermenting and have a question. I want to ferment chopped carrots, brocolli and califlower. I will be using a 1 quart jar. Do they just need to ferment say 4-5 days or longer ? And, do I need to cure them in the frig for a while before eating or will they be ready once fermenting is complete ?

    Thanks

  • michelle

    I am thinking of purchasing the pickl-it jars I am thinking of making sauercraut kimchi, beet kvas water kefir and milk kefir I am having a hard time deciding what jars to purchaseI am thinking of 2 5 liter jars 1 or 2 3/4 liter jars and dont know if it would be better to have 2 or 3 of either the liter jars or liter and a half jars or some of each . I heard it would be good to transfer the ferments into a fido jar but the pickl-it place says that it is better to put the ferments back into a pickl-it jar I am confused that would be very pricey

  • Danita

    So the reason my stuff has mold constantly is the mason jars? I have been wondering about this. My friend told me to just scrape it off, which I did after storing it in the fridge, but noticed the next day it was back but worse. So if I use the Pickle it jars it wont mold?

  • [...] Sauerkraut, Day 4 By Kelsy on April 16th, 2011 UPDATE: We have since changed our fermentation methods to anaerobic using a Harsch style crock and Fido jars. To read more about the whys and hows of anaerobic fermentation, check out Pickle Me Too’s post Pickl-It Jars, Are They Worth It? [...]

  • [...] Sauerkraut, Day 3 By Kelsy on April 15th, 2011 UPDATE: We have since changed our fermentation methods to anaerobic using a Harsch style crock and Fido jars. To read more about the whys and hows of anaerobic fermentation, check out Pickle Me Too’s post Pickl-It Jars, Are They Worth It? [...]

  • [...] Sauerkraut, Day 2 By Kelsy on April 14th, 2011 UPDATE: We have since changed our fermentation methods to anaerobic using a Harsch style crock and Fido jars. To read more about the whys and hows of anaerobic fermentation, check out Pickle Me Too’s post Pickl-It Jars, Are They Worth It? [...]

  • [...] Sauerkraut By Kelsy on April 13th, 2011 UPDATE: We have since changed our fermentation methods to anaerobic using a Harsch style crock and Fido jars. To read more about the whys and hows of anaerobic fermentation, check out Pickle Me Too’s post Pickl-It Jars, Are They Worth It? [...]

  • Jack Littyle

    Where can I purchase pickle-it jars? The people at pickle-it never return my phone calls.

    • Pickl-it.com is the only place online that I know of. She does have some resellers in various locations but I’m not sure how you would go about finding one in your area. I know they are back logged with orders so I’m not sure what to tell people (I hear this often).

      • Barb

        I love the Pickl-it jars but their customer service is non existent from my experience. I contacted them via email regarding a stopper received with several jars that was the wrong size and no response. I have also called on a couple of occasions with other questions and no reply. So though the product is good..buyer beware..too bad because their jars are very nice.

        • Dan

          Hi Barb,

          Sorry to hear you are having customer service issues with pickl-it, but at the same time it’s great to know that I’m not the only one!

          The lovely Leslie at Seasoned Homemaker has written a blog post about making your own identical product – http://www.seasonedhomemaker.com/2012/10/how-to-make-your-own-low-cost-pickl-it.html.

          I’ve recently bought a five pack from pickl-it (intending on that lasting me for life along with my harsch crock) but due to the disappointing customer service experience (no reply for 9 days regarding a product that came broken due to bad packaging when I was also asking a question about a subsequent order, and then being insulted by the owner of pickl-it in this response ), I can not in good conscience refer any of my friends, family or blog readers to buy from pickl-it.

          I have since bought all the equipment Leslie has described in her post. I’m going to make these fermentation vessels for my friends and family. I would recommend you considering doing so as well i you can! Please feel free to contact me if you want me to make some lids for you and post them. As noted above fido lids are interchangeable so the shipping of the lids would be WAY less than the shipping of the whole jar.

          Cheers,

          DP

          • Thanks for your comment Dan. Sorry you’ve had such a bad experience. You’re not the first I’ve heard.

            I am beginning to think making them isn’t as bad as I initially thought. Good luck with making your own!

          • Hi All,
            I have made my own and the grommets that the seasoned homemaker used are by far the best. I use a regular drill and a block of wood that has the same size hole in it. This is used to guide the flat tipped diamond drill bit through the wood and then to the glass. Making it less likely to slip and slide on the glass.

      • Gretchen

        I am also disappointed with Pickl-It customer service. They shorted my order by $50 worth of merchandise and have not returned my emails for over 3 weeks. Plus, one of the cheap plastic airlocks arrived broken and another broke after one hand washing. The Primal Kitchen (which sells The Boss Pickler) has OUTSTANDING customer service. I highly recommend them.

        • gail

          I got just the lid and the airlock system from a company called *Cooking God’s Way.* Then you just have to purchase the mason jars. I live in Canada, so it was a whole lot cheaper for me to do it this way. The service was prompt and the system works well.

  • RUSSELL

    Want to do the same thing for less than $1?
    Add 1/2 inch of oil on top of your jar.
    This keeps your ferment covered, locks out air and other bugs, allows fermenting gasses to escape and stops evaporation of your brine.

  • Rachel

    Thank you! Very helpful post :-)

  • [...] I do feel this method is the best method.  Fido jars are certified hermetically sealed which means no air gets in.  Adding the airlock takes away the concern that trapped gasses might have a negative effect on ferments.  You can read more about why I think this method is the best here: Anaerobic Fermentation [...]

  • Shawn

    Just curious, I don’t can as much as I used to, I am not only divorced now, but also disabled & just don’t have the need. On the other hand this article interested me, but after reading it, my question is: Does everyone have a spare fridge they use to store all of these items?
    Thanks!

    • Definitely not. I’m the only person I know of who does :-) But I have a family of 6 so we need 2 refrigerators anyway. Ferments can be stored in a regular fridge just fine and if you have a cellar, they store well there as long as it’s below 55F.

  • Nadxieli

    Hi Melanie,
    I discovered your website a couple of days ago. I’m preparing myself to start GAPS but I am too intimidated by the lacto fermentation. I would like to try the pickl-it jars next time but since I had bought cabbage already I decided to give the mason jar a try. I started my sauerkraut today but I want to make sure that I maximize my chances of success. What is the appropriate way to release the pressure from the jar? is it opening all the way or is it rather more like twisting it a bit so that the pressure gets released?
    Does it have to be in the dark? (I put mine inside a cupboard).
    Thank you,
    Nadxieli

    • Hi Nadxieli,
      When you push on top of the jar when there is no pressure inside, it will easily flex down with a pop. When pressure builds up, the top will push out. When you push on the top and it doesn’t flex, that’s a good time to release the pressure. I just loosen the ring enough to let the pressure out and then tighten it back up.
      The bacteria is sensitive to UV light so it’s best kept in the dark. A cupboard is perfect.
      I hope that helps!

      • Nadxieli

        Thanks for answering so fast! how/when would I know if the fermentation went well?
        I love what I have read so far in your site, by the way! :)
        Thanks again

  • [...] of reading about the importance of air tight fermentation invested in some Pickl-it Jars. Here is a great article about the science of fermenting good bacteria in an anaerobic environment. I am now using my [...]

  • jen

    Do you sell a 4 or 5 L size?
    Thanks :)

  • Holly

    Have you seen the experiment done on the Nourishing Traditions website? She has proven the Pickl-It is no better than a plain Fido jar at about a 3rd the price. I have 2 Pickl-It jars and have stopped using them for my regular Fido jars. I have no explosions,no moldor oxidation and I don’t need to worry about weights or everything being below the brine. I certainly don’t have to follow their tedious method of using carrots to create a net to hold things down under a weight

  • I also would never recommend pickl-it to anyone! The owner provides the worst customer service!I ordered these jars for a Christmas present and even paid extra to get them before Christmas. Not only did they take my money, but the jars didn’t arrive until January 15th! We attempted to contact her daily over a 18 day period and got no response back via email or phone. She did nothing to make the situation better, when we did finally reach her. Karen’s attitude was completely unprofessional and clearly doesn’t appreciate your business!

    CONS: I did not feel these jars did anything more than my crock or a regular mason jar. They are cheaply made and constructed with thin plastic, yet extremely over priced. I would spend your money on any other product then hers.

    • I keep hearing this more and more. Very frustrating. I’m beginning to pull my recommendations because this has become such a pervasive problem.

      • Barb

        I purchased 2 jars from this company about a year ago. I love the jars BUT will never order again from them. One of the stoppers they sent was the wrong size and as you can guess, I never got any responses to my many attempts to contact them. Doing business with them is too risky. Next time, I plan to buy from PerfectPickler.com. Their product is similar and I have exchanged emails with the owner and gotten quick responses. So I think they are worth a try. If you have tried their product, let us know what you think. Thanks Barb

        • Holly

          I also have the Perfect Pickler and it works just the same. The only issue I had with it was the limitation on the size of mason jars I could use. The reviews on the gallon jars they suggested weren’t great

    • Holly

      I too had a horrible customer service experience with them. I purchased 2 5L jars and 3 weights from them. Boy what a waste of money, that purchase alone was over $100. Since then I have purchased 10 5L Fidos from Sur La Tab for less than my purchase from the Pickl-It site. I emailed them SEVERAL times to find out if and when my order had been shipped and of course I never got a response. The only thing they weren’t slow on was charging me.

  • thomasmama

    How have you ordered from this company? I have called several times, emailed and NO response. Unbelievable that a company can function like this! I wish there was another source because I LOVE our 4 liter jars for Water Kefir. Any suggestions?
    Still waiting, Monica

    • Thank you for letting me know about this. I keep hearing this over and over and I no longer recommend Pickl-it based on these experiences. I’m hoping there will be more options soon. I’ve had a chance to look at this product (review coming) and have really liked it. It’s based off of a fido but with a waterless airlock. Works great for me. http://ow.ly/n9I2A (This is an affiliate link).

    • Holly

      I use regular Fidos for my 1F and my 2F with out any issues and tones of carbonation

  • norm patterson

    I simply use a plastic cap that I bot on amazon, drilled a hole and inserted grommet/airlock. I don’t know if the plastic cap is a perfect seal or no, probably not. In fact I don’t even twist the cap tight enough for best seal. I have been fermenting for 4 or 5 yrs and I have never had a bad ferment yet. At least not that I know of. The resultant food is delicious so the seal must be air tight enough for a good ferment. If the lid has fermaldehide in it as does the tattler I don’t want to know about it.
    I also have a crock for bigger batches of sk. I use a food grade plastic bag filled with water for sealer. Perfect kraut every time that i refrigerate from nov to aug of following yr. Eat it every morning with hard boiled egg. Just as good today as it was last yr.

  • gail

    http://shop.cookinggodsway.com/proddetail.php?prod=cgw-alskust

    I just ordered the lids (wide mouth) and the top unit only from the above company..I`m in Canada, and shipping charges are prohibitive.. can`t believe it–$91 to ship two single units of the Pickl-it into Canada!!! the problem now becomes where can I find large wide-mouth mason jars.. I may be doing small scale for a bit I think..keeping my fingers crossed that I eventually end up with something that works well for me.

  • Julie

    Soo….
    After making the fermented food in the pickl it jar, am I to assume that it’s OK to transfer the food to an airlock jar for longer term storage? That is, as long as the fermentation is complete.

    Thanks
    Julee.

  • David

    If a person is worried about a mason jar lid leaking it seems pretty simple to solve. Turn the jar upside down after the fermentation. Nothing in the jar could possibly create a force to pull air through X amount of liquids that wouldn’t break the glass.

  • Krista

    I just used my pickl-it jars for the first time and there was no “sizzle” when I opened the jars. I’ve used mason jars prior and there was always tons of bubbles when I opened the lids. Just wondering if this is normal………….?? Thanks!

  • Thank you for the post Melanie! I appreciate how you rated them as good, better and best!
    I am just getting into ferments and I have only done water kefir and kombucha but I am eager to add more to my diet. I have a great concern about mold, I am extremely sensitive and have issues with candida so it sounds like the pickl-it jars might be a good idea for me. Do you have an opinion of the probioticjar?

    Thanks again!
    Candace

  • Gretchen

    Hi Melanie,

    I’ve read on the Cultures for Health website that different ferments (i.e. kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut) should be kept several feet apart to prevent cross-contamination. However, this was in reference to fermenting using mason jars or crocks, and there was no mention whether this measure also applied to Pickl-It/The Probiotic Jar/The Boss Pickler fermenting vessels/jars which have either a water-based airlock or silicone valve airlock to keep oxygen (and I assume also potentially contaminating microbes) out. I am guessing the “several feet apart” rule does still apply to kombucha since there is no airlock because it requires oxygen. Can you please advise? Thank you!

    • You are correct! That’s one of my favorite things about jars with airlocks, no risk of cross contamination. I do keep my kombucha in a different room than my other ferments since it is open. I don’t worry too much about it because kombucha is a pretty wild ferment. Everyone’s culture will be slightly different based on the bacteria floating around in the air and the water where they live. If a little water kefir culture gets into it, I just think of it as enhancing it. The other way around though, isn’t as great. If kombucha (or vinegar) contaminates a water kefir culture, it can take over and make your water kefir taste vinegary.

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