Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the shelf life of the veggie culture ?
- How should I store my vegetable culture ?
- What is the difference between a Best Before Date and Use By Date?
- Why do we send two Sterile Jars ?
- Does the culture contain any dairy ?
- Does the culture contain any allergens ?
- How much culture do I use ?
- There is something growing on the surface of my Sauerkraut/Kimchi. What is it and what do I do ?
- How do I get my fermented vegetables to have more crunch ?
- Can I use Pink Himalayan salt in my fermented vegetables ?
- How do you use an airlock ?
If you have a question, or require help with your fermented vegetable making, please call (07) 3808 2576 or email us with as much information about your question or problem as possible at email@example.com. If emailing please include a telephone number.
What is the shelf life of the veggie culture ?
How should I store my vegetable culture ?
The yoghurt and probiotic cultures are freeze dried, and require "long term storage" in freezer. The cultures also readily absorb moisture out of the air so should be kept in airtight containers which should only be opened at room temperature.
We supply two sterile jars for storage of the cultures. Please see the next FAQ for more information regarding this.
What is the difference between a Best Before Date and Use By Date?
A Use By Date is put on products that must be used or disposed of before the date supplied as these foods will deteriorate and could become dangerous to consume. A Best Before Date is put on products to indicate that the product is literally best before the date supplied but can still be used after that date.
When used with culture products the Best Before Date is applied by the manufacturers who must allow a certain leeway for the time the products are in transit etc. and are not being stored as proscribed. Given that both our suppliers and ourselves take great care to ensure these products are stored correctly prior to shipment we are more than confident, and experience has shown, that these products will be able to be used successfully well past the dates on the packaging.
Why do we send two Sterile Jars ?
The two jar storage and dosing method helps keep the culture in the best condition, helping prevent cross contamination and helping with dose control. We recommend placing approximately 90% of the culture in one jar, rarely opened, and have another jar with a small amount of culture in, as your working supply.
When a cold item is taken from a freezer, moisture condenses onto it, out of the air. This is true of the opened sterile jar with culture inside.
With Yoghurt Culture and the Probiotic Culture both requiring storage in a freezer, and being so concentrated, the storage jar will be opened many times (if kept only in one jar), before being used up, and it is impossible to keep the culture 100% dry.
This also has a side benefit of reducing the chance of the contamination of the culture. If the working stock does get contaminated, at least the main supply is still OK.
Does the culture contain any dairy ?
Sacco's cultures are mainly grown on a dairy based medium. At the end of propagation, the starter culture cells are physically separated from this medium, then concentrated and freeze-dried. Very little, if any of the dairy component ends up in the final starter culture. However because people with allergies to dairy protein can be sensitive to parts per million (ppm) levels, Sacco cannot guarantee that such levels are not present in their cultures, and therefore declare that most of their cultures may contain traces of dairy.
Does the culture contain any allergens ?
We have Allergen Declarations from Sacco, who supply our Yoghurt and Probiotic cultures.
This document is the Allergen Statement.
How much culture do I use ?
Since the sachet holds enough culture for 100 kilos of fermented vegetables, you only need a very small amount.
We recommend opening the sachet when you are about to make your first yoghurt. Bring the sachet to room temperature first, this should only take a few minutes, and reduces the effect of condensation causing some of the culture to stick to the inside of the sachet. Cut all the way across the top of the sachet, then concertina it and pour the culture into the sterile jar supplied. Estimate 1/10th of the contents, and place into the second jar, this becomes your "working supply", label both jars and store in the freezer.
Your "working supply", being being approximately 1/10th of the original supply of culture, will make approximately 10 kilos of fermented vegetables.
If you have the mini measuring spoons, place all of the culture in one jar, and spoon it across to the other jar ... try the Smidgen. Count the number of spoons and divide that into 100. If, for example you get 10 Smidgens, spoon one Smidgen back into the now empty jar. This becomes your 'working stock' and you should get about 10 kilos of cultured veggies out of that jar.
There is something growing on the surface of my Sauerkraut/Kimchi. What is it and what do I do ?
Sometimes wild yeast or mould can grow on the surface of your ferment. Don’t panic as this is quite natural. Mould and yeast need air to grow but your vegetables should be completely covered by your fermenting solution and protected from any surface growth. The bacteria fermenting your vegetables are anaerobic and growing quite well under the liquid covering your vegetables. Simply scrape the growth off the top and discard it.
When I first learned how to make Sauerkraut in Pennsylvania, USA, I was told this growth was called ‘scum’ and was told to scrape the scum off the top and the ferment would be just fine. It was more than fine. It was wonderful. The word scum is a bit distasteful and I prefer the word bloom, which is what we call the mould that grows on the outside of cheeses like Brie and Camembert.
How do I get my fermented vegetables to have more crunch ?
Calcium Chloride is a firming agent that is used in pickling. The most well-known brand of this is Pickle Crisp out of the USA. However, if you look at the label you will see that this just calcium chloride and you do not have to use a particular brand to get great results.
Calcium chloride can be used in quick pickles, where you are using vinegar, or in traditional, old fashioned ferments such as Kimchi, Sauerkraut or traditional Dill Pickles.
If you are using our 2 litre fermentation pail, just add ¼ teaspoon of calcium chloride powder or one teaspoon of our premixed calcium chloride solution.
Can I use Pink Himalayan salt in my fermented vegetables ?
Pink Himalayan salt has an abundance of trace minerals including calcium, iodine, potassium, magnesium and iron. The problem is the iodine which in solution turns to iodide. This oxidation-reduction impacts proteins within the bacterial cell that are important for bacteria respiration and cell membrane structure, preventing the cell from making energy and maintaining its integrity.
In short, when you add salt with iodine, you start to kill off the bacteria you have added to your ferment.
How do you use an airlock ?
- Insert the rubber grommet into the hole and then insert the shaft into the grommet.
- Once the lid is in place fill the airlock about half full of water and place the cap on.
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