One of these days I’ll go through my recipes and add a “Pickl-It How To” section since it is a little different than a mason jar ferment. But in the mean time I’ll tell you how I adjust the recipes.
How Much Salt to Use
In my recipes, if it gives an amount like a tablespoon or a teaspoon and asks for whey or a starter culture, use the below recommendations for salt and leave out the whey or starter culture.
One thing about the Pickl-It that I found out while talking with Kathleen is that the airlock works so well, you should be able to use less salt. Pickl-It recommends using a 2% solution for most vegetables, including sauerkraut. You can read about their brine suggestions here: Brine Recommendations. I do use a scale now to measure my salt (I use one for many different reasons in the kitchen and for weighing packages and for weighing dye to color yarn, it gets used a lot). The reason for this is different salts weigh different amounts. A tablespoon of salt can vary from 10-16 gms. For consistent results, weighing the salt is your best bet. You can do this just once and figure out how much your salt weighs.
So how do you figure out how much salt to use?
For vegetables that use a brine, use 19 gms of salt per 4 cups of water. I make my brine a gallon at a time and store it in the fridge. That’s 76 gms of salt per gallon of water.
For self-brining vegetables like sauerkraut or shredded carrots, use 22 gms of salt per 5 lbs of veggies* (4.4 gms per 1 lb or 8.8 grams per 2 lbs and so on). *This amount has been adjusted. Formerly 19 gms per 3lbs was recommended.
Starter Culture or No?
In a Pickl-It, a starter culture is normally not necessary. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are abundant and are everywhere, especially on your fresh vegetables. In most cases, all that is needed is salt. Whey is unnecessary and can influence the taste of the ferment in a bad way but a starter culture like Caldwell’s can give your ferment a boost if fermenting with nothing but salt makes you nervous. I’ve been fermenting with just salt since I received my Pickl-It’s and have been nothing more than happy with the results. There are some cases where I do like to use a starter and this is when I’m using something that has been cooked, like my Fermented Bean Dip, White Bean Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and roasted beets (no recipe yet but soon). Another case where you might want to use starter is if you are using a previously frozen vegetable. I had a reader ask once if using frozen brussel sprouts would work for the Brine Pickle Brussel Sprouts. Since freezing can kill off some of the bacteria, this is a case where using a starter might be a good idea, just in case. If you chose to not use a starter, there is no reason to add more salt if you are using a Pickl-It so just omit the starter. So with a Pickl-It, starter is not necessary and if no starter is used, no extra salt is needed.
Scrap the Loose Lid and No Burping Needing!
Lastly and probably obviously, my recipes state to either cover loosely or to cover tightly but burp the jar a couple times throughout the day. Since the Pickl-It has an airlock, there is no need to release the gas since the airlock does that for us. Thank you Pickl-It! Now you are ready to use any of my ferment recipes in a Pickl-It jar. If you have any questions about this, just let me know.
The following recipe is how I make a basic sauerkraut in a Pickl-It. I like onions in my sauerkraut and I had a pretty small head so I included extra onions in this recipe.
- 1 small head of red cabbage (2 lbs)
- 2 med onions (about 1 lb)
- 13 gms of salt