I want to address this topic because I get asked about Fidos a lot. Specifically if it’s ok to ferment in them. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, a Fido (pronounced feed-o, it is Italian and not a dog) is an Italian made glass wire bale jars that are certified hermetically sealed. That means, if the lid is closed, outside air will not come in. They are excellent for keeping oxygen out of your ferments while in storage (they are also great for keep dehydrated foods fresh). The Pickl-it jar that you hear me talk about is crafted from a Fido jar and many people have been fermenting in Fido jars recently.
I haven’t really talked about this issue until now simply because I do not know. I am not ashamed to admit when I do not know something nor am I ashamed to retract when I find out I’m wrong (hello, I used to tell people to loosely cover their mason jar ferments and scrape the mold off). I have heard accounts of Fido jars exploding though I have not seen it myself. I know of more than a few people who have “successfully” fermented many things for a few months now (I use quotations because by successful, I mean no exploding jars). But just last week Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama had a lid blow off of a fido during a second ferment of water kefir. She wrote about it here: Exploding Fidos and Grolsch Bottles Gone Wild. Some ferments are more active than others depending on ingredients and the temperature of the house. If the gasses build up too fast, I can see how a jar can explode.
I admit, I’ve tried a few ferments myself because I had no open Pickl-it’s and didn’t want food to go to waste. Plus I was curious how they would hold up. I put them in a box in a closet to contain any explosions should they happen. So far so good.
The ferments I have done in a Fido have turned out quite wonderful. They are tasty, with no signs of oxidation and they have a wonderful carbonated fizz to them. Nothing cooler than biting into a pickle that fizzes in your mouth. Awesome!
So why haven’t I been shouting this from the rooftops? Because there is more to fermentation than taste, presence of LABs and lack of oxidation (though those 3 things are very very good to have). Here is the thing, a Fido lid latches on pretty strong. That’s a good thing when we’re wanting to keep oxygen out but for escaping air it’s not a good thing. While Fido’s will release air if enough pressure builds up (I’ve see it myself), it takes quite a lot of pressure before it does release. I’d love to know how much exactly but again, not sure. I’m guessing that pressure might be different from jar to jar as well. Some of my Fidos latch harder than others so I imagine the tighter jars can hold in more build up fermentation gasses.
The bottom line is, I have no idea the effect CO2 build up has on the ferments and I’ve been reading plenty of studies that suggest it might be harmful. I’m not talking harmful as if you’ll get sick and die if you do it. I’m talking harmful as in too much CO2 might make a less than awesome probiotic power food and for those with serious gut issues, it might be a problem. I’m not going to go into too much detail here about why it might be bad because… I’m not 100% sure at this point. Still wading through research.
‘What I am sure of is the Pickl-it and the Harsch crock work which is why those are the only two systems I do recommend. I’m not going to recommend something that I am unsure of. Those two systems are anaerobic and they allow for off gassing with ease.
That being said, if Pickl-it’s are out of your price range, I would rather see someone use a Fido for fermentation than a mason jar. Remember “good, better, best”? I’m not sure where a Fido lies on that scale but I’m fairly certain it is much better than a mason jar. So while you are fermenting in your Fidos, I’d still recommend you save up for a few Pickl-it’s, especially if gut healing is your main goal in fermenting until we know for sure whether a Fido creates as awesome of a ferment as a Pickl-it does. And please, even though you may not have had a jar explode, lift the lever on your jars at least once a day. Just enough to let air out. Better safe than sorry.
And now I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Bloggers make money from recommending products. *Gasp* I know! It’s horrible that someone should make money from their hard work. Anyway, I digress. My point here is not that making money for referring products is bad, but rather it is not the motivation for me to recommend a product. I do make some money (not a lot) from recommending products I love. But money is not what causes me to recommend or not recommend a product. If you click on one of my Fido links, you will go to Sur la Table where I will make a commission if you choose to by a Fido (thank you if you do!). If you click on one of my Pickl-it links you will go to the Pickl-it site where I will NOT make a commission if you choose to purchase a Pickl-it. Many other air-lock systems offer affiliate accounts as well and I’m sure if I stood behind any one of them, I’d make a nice tidy sum. But I don’t believe in them.
That’s how strongly I feel about not recommending products I’m not sure of. You can be assured, I will not recommend a product that I do not believe in fully and that I do not use myself. And I will recommend a product I believe it and love whether I make a commission or not.