I am always shocked when someone orders a dozen lids from our company. After three years of selling these products, I am still surprised. I have the same sense of surprise when a customer whose name I recognize places another order, or when I see they have been ordering a few at a time, over several orders.
I use a few in my home. I don’t use a dozen. This is because I am using fermented foods very much as my own ancestors did.
There are many bloggers in the real foods arena who recommend daily consumption of pickled foods. Some are so enthusiastic they will ferment anything, regardless of cultural origin, alcohol content, or flavor (ok, some fermented foods are kind of nasty). They do this with the belief that if it is fermented, it must be healthy, and that more is better.
Some do this with the belief that our ancestors collectively used more fermented foods than we do. They call them “traditional foods” and have imbued them with mystical powers of healing and health, far beyond what any evidence can show. Many distorted accounts of “traditional” consumption have been put forward, mostly with the goal of selling product to support the adoption of these foods to an unrealistic degree.
The historical and traditional use of these foods was far simpler than some people make this. There are people who believe that if they do not always have six or a dozen jars of various concoctions brewing in dark corners and taking over their fridge, that they are behind the game, and will never be able to heal their bodies. The reality of historical pickling practices is quite different.
- For many cultures, pickling was ONLY done seasonally, and only consumed seasonally. Pickling was NOT done to create a particular food type. That was not the goal. The goal was, Food Preservation. When food was plentiful, it was preserved through fermentation. It was then consumed through winter months, because it stored well when temperatures were cool, and because it was NOT NEEDED through summer months.
- Some cultures consumed pickled foods at the end of a meal. This was NOT COMMON to many cultures! It was most prevalent through a few northern cultures, where temperatures were fairly low year-round, and pickled foods lasted much longer. They were STILL consumed less through summer months.
- Alcoholic beverage production was the ONLY thing referred to as “fermentation”. Pickling of vegetables was only called pickling, meats were cured (they are still NOT properly referred to as fermented, because there are no fermentation elements present in curing of meats), and dairy was aged or cultured. Each of these preservation types has its own rules, and involves different processes, and were historically referred to by different process names.
- The most commonly consumed fermented foods were dairy foods, in that fermented dairy foods were used year round in virtually every climate and culture. This is because milk simply does not store well at room temperature, or even very long in a root cellar. So milk products were usually consumed in a cultured form – buttermilk is simply milk that has soured after never having been refrigerated (it was soured, then the cream was skimmed, because souring the milk made the cream sort of semi-solidify on the top of the milk). Kefir was simply milk that was stored in animal skin bags, where it aged and soured, and eventually formed kefir grains. Yogurt is also nothing more than soured milk – it just soured with a particular bacterial complement, encouraged by keeping it very warm (an accident of summer milk production). Processes developed from the fact that milk soured, and if it soured one way, it had a little different flavor than if it soured another way.
- Probiotics are not unique to fermented foods. In fact, all fresh foods contain them, in significant quantities, provided they have not been exterminated by use of preservatives and chlorine. Raw eggs are another excellent source of healthy microbes. Raw milk is another excellent source, even without further culturing.
- Pickled and cultured foods, and raw and fresh foods, are all healthy forms of probiotics. While alcoholic beverages are classed by many as “traditional” foods, they were not universally consumed in any culture. There have always been segments of each society that decried the evils of strong drink, due to the harmful actions of many intoxicated people, and due to the affects of alcoholism. Non-alcoholic fermented foods are not addictive. Alcoholic foods (not just beverages) are addictive, and destructive to the liver, heart, brain, and digestive system. The higher the alcohol content of a food or beverage, the lower the microbial content (only certain kinds can survive in alcohol, and only in very low alcohol amounts – indeed, alcohol is used for sterilization because it kills microbes so well). Many lacto-fermentation “experts” strive to group ALL ferments together under one “healthy” umbrella, but in fact no society has ever done that historically. They have always been viewed as separate processes, with separate outcomes. It is only accepted now because people now are so separated both from the traditional practices, AND from a knowledge of their own cultural history. It is easier for myths to go viral and perpetuate across a large body of people now.
- The practice of buying out of season produce, and keeping new batches of pickling going throughout the year, and storing those foods in the fridge, is of recent invention. The practice of keeping milk going in yogurts, kefirs, buttermilk, and of using soured raw milk in baking and in soups and sauces IS a traditional and culturally prevalent practice. This does not mean you should not make ferments unless the produce is in season, it only means that this is NOT how people stayed healthy historically. They used foods in season (which provided healthy sources of microbes), and they used preserved living foods (pickled, brined, cured, cultured, etc), and dried foods, stored winter foods (potatoes, apples, cabbage, squash, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and other root cellared crops) to last through until spring when the fresh food began to be available again.
So are all those jar lids necessary? For many people, it will not matter whether they make these foods on an ongoing basis, or whether they simply store up a bunch in the fall to last through the winter. If the airlock lid makes it easy and convenient for them to produce consistent results (and our customers assure us that it does!), then they need as many as they require to preserve as much as they need to preserve at one time. For many people, that IS a dozen or two.
For the record, we love our repeat customers, and pretty much always recognize their names. These are the people who keep us going, and they hold a special place in our esteem.
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
Wholesale, Export, and Manufacture of this product by other companies is an option. International distributorships are available for those wishing to export. Please email us to inquire about access to our wholesale website, or in regards to manufacturing any of our products.
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