I’m so excited to learn about how easy, delicious and HEALTHFUL these foods are! I received my first order for airlocks, lids for the airlocks and solid lids for after fermenting is complete. They fit my canning jars. Ferments oxidize the metal lids that come with the jars, so the plastic is kind of a must have and the foods don’t touch the plastic, so that’s okay too.
The airlock gadget isn’t absolutely necessary. Fermenting creates CO2. You have to relieve the pressure by either opening the lid briefly each day (“burping”) or use an airlock that allows the gas to vent as it is formed. Besides me being an airhead who could easily forget to burp the jar, the airlock prevents mold growth on the surface of the fermenting food.
The mold is harmless and can be scraped off, but ick. The airlock not only eliminates the daily burping that can allow mold spores to contaminate the food, but also inhibits any growth of mold spores that might have snuck in when the jar was filled. When you open the lid, room air goes into the headroom space; with the airlock, the headroom space fills with CO2, which is most inhospitable to mold. It’s that sweet?!
I chose pickled garlic for my first ferment, because we both love garlic. I figured it was the most likely thing we would both like even after it’s been pickled. The recipe claimed the fermenting retained the goodies in the garlic that cooking destroys while softening the flavors so it’s not objectionable to eat raw. That sounded good … maybe it’ll be good as a salad garnish or something. (The raw, chopped garlic was stinky, but the stuff we put into that jar smelled WONDERFUL!)
Mostly, I just wanted to (A) try fermenting and (B) end up with a jar of chopped garlic in the fridge so I would stop grabbing the powdered cuz I’m too lazy to peel and chop messy, smelly garlic when I’m cooking! And speaking of messy and smelly … that was us yesterday afternoon. It was fun working side-by-side in the kitchen though. We even talked about something besides politics. ;) In seven days, the pickled garlic will be ready to eat; I will swap the airlock lid for a solid lid, put the garlic into the fridge and use the airlock to start fermenting something else. The fermented garlic is supposed to stay good for 9 months or more!
We tried this with mixed results: How To Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds
It kinda, sorta worked, but not really. Our garlic heads were so TIGHT, we had to crowbar the cloves apart. Removing the paper-on-paper skins is a cinch; it crumbles apart. It’s that last, inner layer of papery skin that wants to stay stuck to the edible part of the clove until death do us part. This was where we found the rattling worked brilliantly. It didn’t remove the inner skins on every single clove, but it did loosen them all so that when we went to slice off the little stem ends, all the remaining skins politely slipped right off.
Kitchen Tip: No matter how much your back and feet hurt, do NOT take a big breath and SIGH in the vicinity of loose clove paper. You’re welcome.
This is an excellent site for learning about fermenting. I bought my supplies here.