All In a Ferment over Pickl-Its!


Today I am pleased to announce I did not give myself food poisoning and my linen press no longer smells like rotten cabbage.  What an achievement!  These might not seem like especially likely events but up until a few days ago, in my house, they were.  You see I have been experimenting with the ancient food preparation method of fermentation and, well, let’s just say I’m not naturally gifted at it.  There have been more disasters than successes, but I have finally found the secret… it’s Pickl-It jars!

Those of you who are familiar with Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut And Psychology diet (GAPS) will know how strongly she recommends naturally fermented foods.  This is because the GAPS patient is bereft of the “good” bacteria in our digestive system and it needs to be replaced.  We can be low in good bacteria for a number of reasons; maybe we took too many antibiotics or analgesics, the contraceptive pill, had a poor diet (low fat is particularly bad apparently!) or maybe we just inherited too few good bacteria from our mothers.  For me it was all of the above and the result is Gut Dysbiosis and Leaky Bowel Syndrome.

Why can’t you just take probiotics?  Well, you can, in fact it’s recommended, it’s just you’re unlikely to actually find a commercially available probiotic product that’s got enough good stuff.  Dr Natasha opines that most probiotic products on the market are either not strong enough, do not contain strong enough strains of bacteria or simply do not contain enough variety of bacteria to be beneficial for the gut (over a hundred species of bacteria have been identified as being beneficial for the gut and a healthy digestive system should contain most of them).  And that’s if the bacteria are even still alive which, due to the poor quality control systems in the industry, many are not.  The best way to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of live probiotic bacteria every day is to grow it yourself and eat it.

I tried to make my own fermented foods a few times… it did not pan out so well.  I followed a few different recipes I found online, some using starter cultures, others au natural.  I made sauerkraut take 1, sauerkraut take 2, pickled vegetable medley, dill pickle cucumbers and more.  The sad part is, most of those ended up in the great beyond (aka the wheelie bin), frothing with mould and emitting a foul odour that I can only speculate would rival the Bog of Eternal Stench.  You see, fermentation is an anaerobic process and if air gets into it, it’s ruined.  It is for this reason that trying to do your ferments in jars and buckets is hit and miss.

And then I discovered Pickl-Its.  Pickl-It is a US company who took the simple Fido jar, drilled a hole in the lid and added a one way air-lock which allowed CO2 to escape, but no air to get in.  Brilliant.  There’s no more faffing about with plates in buckets, the Pickl-It jar works every time.  Simple as that.

I’m pleased to say that after all my previous failures, I made 2 huge jars of vegetable medley and, after 4 weeks of fermenting, they are perfect!  And all I had to do was sterilise the jars, chop the veggies and put it all together.  I love it when things just work, don’t you?


The Gar-ject Garlic Press

I want to tell you today about a rather brilliant little device I’ve found that’s making my life less, well, smelly.  Now don’t worry, I’m not going to start talking about enemas again, I’m talking about the smell of garlic.  You know that pungent aroma, it can be so intoxicating, drifting through the house, mixed with hot butter and baking bread.  It does not smell so sweet however, on your fingers… for hours afterwards.

Normal garlic presses require first for the garlic to be peeled.  The artful cook can peel a clove with limited skin contact but it after crushing that the problems begin.  To get the remaining bits of skin and flesh, trapped in the regular garlic press, must be picked out with a knife… or your fingers.  Dreamfarm designs has done away with these tedious requirements in one fell swoop with the invention of the Gar-ject!

The name “Gar-ject” is a contraction of “garlic” and “eject”, named so because that is precisely what it does.  After crushing the garlic, you simply lift the lever around to the other side, give it a little squeeze and press the “eject” button.  There is nothing quite so satisfying as watching the garlic scraps fling out of the Garject and into the bin!

What’s even better is that the Gar-ject eliminates the need to peel the garlic too.  You simply plonk your clove in the device, squeeze to crush, invert and eject.  No skin-to-garlic contact at all!

Since the dawn of civilisation, wise folk have known the benefits of eating garlic.  And for the very reasonable price of $39.95, that’s something I’ll be able to do frequently… without the giveaway stinky hands.