Fermentation is a key contender in the battle to keep food fresh.  It’s a constant struggle. In a heroic effort to eat a variety of vegetables, we load up the grocery cart with vibrant produce. But a week later an unappetizing combination of mold, wilt, and soft squishy rot has replaced the bounty that once filled the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. The microbes that transform would-be healthy meals into compost are in a race to consume our food before we do. The cooler temperatures of a refrigerator slow their pace, but they cannot halt it entirely.

Humans have been struggling to keep food fresh and safe to eat for as long as we have been eating, and the luxury of time afforded by refrigeration is recent and only available to the developed world. A little further back in time the process of packing food into sterile jars and sealing them was invented by Nicholas Appert. He was spurred by a reward offered by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1795 to ensure his army was well-fed as they marched across Europe. Canned foods are now well known for their convenience and longevity, but also bland flavor, dismal texture, and diminished nutrients.

Saurekraut preparation.  Fermentation transforms the humble cabbage into a delicious dish.

Thankfully, the oldest trick in the preservation book is experiencing a long over-due revival in the United States. People around the globe weld salt and time as weapons in the battle to keep their food fresher longer. Many beloved and culturally defining dishes are possible only with the help of fermentation. People eat well where the climate would make it impossible to either keep food for an entire winter (the far north) or prevent food from spoiling in the hours before it’s sold (the wet tropics) thanks to the combination of salt and beneficial microbes.

I sold jars of sauerkraut at a booth in a farmer’s market last summer, and a common question concerned the necessity of refrigeration. Cool temperatures won’t damage the ferment, but the whole point is to render refrigeration optional. I’m currently on a bicycle tour through Mexico that will last several months, and of course, I’ve been making and eating fermented vegetables along the way without even a cooler. Transporting glass would be foolish, but a couple stainless steel food canisters will be sturdy and friendly to acids and microbes. I plan to learn and share local recipes I find along the way on this blog.

Fermenting on the road!  Here I am preparing to make tacos topped with sauerkraut that I made in our hotel room a few days prior.

Trellis + Co.’s Pickle Helix System is constructed of high-quality stainless steel, making rust impossible. The sturdy and easy to clean design ensures endless successful ferments, so that you can continue to keep food fresh. The airlock built into the lid allows microbes to breathe while keeping mold spores out. They help both experienced fermenting fiends and first-timers successfully win the race against those competing composting microbes and add a wide variety of flavors, nutrients, and beneficial bacteria to our lives.

Trellis + Co. Fermenting Kit

Our fermenting kit is 100% complete with everything you need to start fermenting right out of the box.

Marina Jade Phillips

Marina Jade Phillips

Fermenting Specialist, Interesting Human Being

Born in Alaska and raised in Colorado, Marina discovered the joys of fermentation in Philadelphia in 2005. She spent the last decade wrangling a homestead in Northern California, fermenting everything from tomatoes to beans. Currently, she is pedaling and eating her way thru Mexico on her first but probably not last bicycle tour, toting a violin and at least one jar of sauerkraut.
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