Last Friday I shared with you about using oil over the top of your ferment to create a seal and I wanted to give you an update a week later.
My first thought, that’s a lot of oil to be using. To keep the pieces of sauerkraut under the oil, I did have add more oil as it got active. If I were better able to keep the ferment pressed down maybe this wouldn’t have been an issue. Pieces floated up and while most of it did stay below the oil level, quite a few pieces reached from the surface of the oil to the brine below. Am I being too picky? Maybe. But still, after doing this a few times, I’d end up going through quite a bit of oil. I guess I could use a cheaper oil since it’s just going to get thrown but…
KerryAnn from CookingTF.com shared with me some things she had found about oil. I looked into it myself and found this http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Clostridium_botulinum/index.asp What I discovered is that botulism thrives in anaerobic conditions. So why do we not have a problem with botulism and ferments? Because they don’t survive in acidic conditions. Botulism thrives in low acid, improperly canned foods. That’s why we pressure can green beans instead of just boil process. Our ferments are acid but the oil isn’t. That is where we could run into problems. Fermentation does not affect the ph of the oil and botulism can take up residence in the oil. Eeek!
This is a “could happen” scenario, not an “I’ve seen this happen” scenario. I suppose if you were extra careful to remove all the oil and even a bit of the ferment that was in contact with the oil, you would lessen the chance that this “could happen”. I do know I will not be mixing the oil in like I was at first planning nor will I be using it as a salad dressing. Better safe than sorry.
So the verdict on oil… I don’t plan on continuing using it. I’m sticking with the Pickl-It Jar. My goal for my ferments is not just a tasty treat (which is a wonderful bonus) but rather continued gut healing. We’ve come a long way in our healing journey. Kiddo #1’s doctor told us to just forget the autism diagnosis but there are still a few issues here and there. Three of us do have gut issues (one is fine and the other two I’m not sure of since they’ve always just eaten the way I do). I’m in the fermenting business to heal so it’s important to me that they contain the highest levels of lactic acid bacteria as possible and that no other undesirable bacteria are present. If you are still concerned about the cost, please read this great post by KerryAnn Invest a Little, Save a Lot. After throwing out 4 quarts of peas this last week, a quart of cauliflower the week before and multiple quarts of green beans through out the winter, I believe it! I probably could have bought a new jar with the money I spent on those veggies.
ETA: To read more about this, check out Cooking Traditional Foods’ verdict.
*Again, no affiliation with Pickl-It*
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