The Fizz of Fermentation

Posted · 26 Comments

Lacto-Fermentation!   On many of my recipes for fermented pickled veggies, I talk about how a sure sign of fermentation is in the bubbles and fizz that rise to the top of a canning jar as soon as you pop the lid.  The lid is usually bubbled as the jar is filled with gas and thriving Lactobacillus bacteria.  So what do I mean by fizz and bubbles?  In order to show you the fizz of fermentation, I decided to tape a quick video of my son Nehemiah and I opening up a couple jars of lacto-fermented vegetables.  He loves the pickles!  I hope this video encourages you to preserve some of summers harvest by brine curing… lacto-fermentation.  Below you’ll also find a link to some of my recipes. 
  1. Naturally Pickled Asparagus and Green Garlic
  2. Naturally Pickled Green Beans with Radishes, Green Onions and Thyme
  3. Lacto-Fermented Pickles (new recipe coming soon!)
  4. Fermented Beets
  5. Fermented Kimchi
  6. Fermented Cortido

Have you tried your hand at naturally pickling vegetables or fruits?  I’ve been wanting to dive into chutney!  If you have any recipes of your own, please comment.  I would love to check them out :)

This post is a part of Simple Lives Thursday and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday.

26 Responses to "The Fizz of Fermentation"
  1. Belinda @zomppa says:

    So funny that he loves pickles. I still can't get used to them!

  2. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Love the video!!!

    I remember reading all your canning posts last year and saying to myself that "I'll do that next year." Well, I guess "next year" is here…

  3. Sense of Home says:

    I am trying sauerkraut for the first time this year, hope it goes well.


  4. Sarah Faith says:

    So you say you leave them about 2-3 *weeks* at room temp? I have been lactofermenting veggies for a while now but I follow the Nourishing Traditions recipes which say 3-4 days (some even less). I wonder if that is why my veggies (except this one salsa that I made) have never fizzed like the ones in your video! I can usually see the bubbles when I tilt the jar – it looks like soda bubbling away – and I do hear a "pop" when I open the jar, but nothing like that fizz and bubbling over that you had. I never thought of leaving them so long. Does it affect the taste?

  5. Diana Bauman says:

    Thanks Andrea πŸ˜€ I need to stop by your place!

    Good Luck Brenda, let me know how it goes πŸ˜€

    Sarah – I've also done the 3-4 days as NT describes, but I don't feel that it's enough time to develop the flavors. When researching throughout the web and actual preserving books, most pickles stay out for at least 2 weeks. I leave my kimchi out for 2 months before transferring to cold storage. The time makes a HUGE difference in flavor. The first time I actually made kimchi I left it out for 3 days and after I tried it, I didn't like it. I kept it in the fridge and would try a little month after month. After 6 months in the fridge, it was AMAZING! I finally learned from a seasoned fermenter to keep it out for 2 months and voila… perfect kimchi! Love this stuff, lol! Hope that helps πŸ˜‰ Let me know if you decide to keep it out longer :)

  6. Erin Davy says:

    I did spears like you did, left them out for about 3 days & they popped & fizzed – I was SO excited! So I put them in the fridge for a day & then I tried them & they fell apart! Mush! I am heartbroken!
    I tried all the different ferments a couple years ago when I first got "Saved" :) But I really was not a fan…
    So finally you & Mare inspired me to try again & I actually liked the flavor, but the mush, no way!
    I'm not giving up though! This time I did smaller whole pickles & I'm wondering how long to leave them out… I have them in one of Julie's Ferment-meister doo-dads… any thoughts? Did you really leave them out 2-3 weeks? (Even your spears?!) I can't believe they were still crunchy! What did I do wrong? (it was 3 jars BTW, not just one that may have been a fluke!)

  7. Diana Bauman says:

    Erin, that is so interesting. The pickles I just did were left out for about 2 weeks. Maybe a little under. Pickles can be interesting. Some people experience mush but I haven't yet. I really feel it can depend on the quality of the cucumber. Was it just picked? Was it overgrown? The best cucs to use are smaller cucumbers that still have bumps on them. Once swollen, they retain a lot of water and will turn to mush. Also, how much salt did you use? Quart jars need at least 1 tbls with 3 tbls whey or 2 tbls salt. I'd be interested to hear your recipe. One more thing, I've not had the best success with the ferment do dad (LOL) that you are talking about. I really do like using canning jars. If using the picklemeister make sure the water line is right in the airlock. If using a canning jar, make sure the lid is nice and tight. I hope that helps and am excited to hear about your results πŸ˜€

  8. Diana Bauman says:

    Oh yeah, one more thing. People do throw in grape leaves to ensure crispness. I've not yet done this but just throwing that out there πŸ˜‰ Good Luck Erin πŸ˜€

  9. City Share says:

    I have enjoyed reading your post and all of the comments. I have just started lacto-fermenting with pickled cucumbers from Nourashing Traditions. I have just left mine for 3 days and they taste fizzy, but nothing like your in the video. I'm guessing the longer your leave them the more beneficial bacteria, right? I'll have to be more patient next time.

  10. Erin Davy says:

    thanks Di! I bet they were not super fresh! and they were "picklong Cucs" but they were large & even a bit hollow in the middle, so I bet that they were on their way out! , Ok, so I am doing whole small pickling cucs (started last night, your recipe, no whey) & I am using the doo dad – so I'll keep you posted…
    PS I put a video of me opening the jars last time on FB, to show the fizz :) Check it out if you get a sec – I think everything was working great, just old soggy cucs! ;( Wah!

  11. Erin Davy says:

    Oh! And I DO have grape leaves, maybe I should add one?

  12. Fresh Local and Best says:

    This is quite an interesting discussion. I looked over a couple of your recipes and they all look great! There is one additional ingredient that I add: sugar. The sugar is not to sweeten, but serves as food for the bacteria to consume. This step accelerates the bubbling process, and apparently increases the growth of cultures.

    Diana, seeing this video is one of those times when I wish I had my own garden, and was you neighbor! This is the second year when I've tried to find organic/chemical-free kirby cucumbers at the farmer's market and continue to have little success. Unfortunately WF doesn't sell small cucumbers. They are either overgrown or sprayed, which is such a shame. I asked one gal at the farmer's market, "Do you guys spray?" And she responded, "No. We only spray a little." Oh dear…Anyhow, I went off my tangent.

    I think you're doing a great job sharing with us how we can make our own healthier version of pickles at home.

  13. Sarah Faith says:

    Wouldn't you know, when I opened my fermented carrots and ginger, it was delightfully fizzy this time just like yours! The pickles, not so much. Guess I will have to keep them out longer next time.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Melissa here, sorry no google or other account to log on with. I'm curious about why the lacto-ferments need to be refrigerated after the 'initial' fermentation. I understand why the should be after they've been opened, but couldn't I store them in the pantry unopened? Or do they simply continue to ferment till the flavor is overpowering?

    Also, I am using the mason jar method. Should I leave the lid completely tight during the fermentation process or would it benefit from a little gas release here and there?

    I am really enjoying your blog. Thanks for so many great posts! Have you looked at just making noise? She has some parallel ideas to your own.

  15. Diana Bauman says:

    Hi Melissa, thanks for stopping by :)

    Each vegetable that you make needs a different amount of time of fermentation. I've found that most need at least 2 to 4 weeks with the exception of kimchi and other cabbage ferments, which I leave out for 2 months. If you're using a crock, I believe you can leave those out longer as well. As you saw from my video, the beans were pretty much "done." Had I have left them out longer or stored them on a shelf, yes, they would have continued to ferment resulting in exploding the jar.

    Another thing I've learned along the way is that when adding whey what we are essentially doing is speeding up the fermentation process. If you'd like to keep it out longer, just add an extra tablespoon of salt with no whey and this will allow a slower fermentation. Once the saltiness is not so "salty," done! I make my pickles using this method and I like them SO much better. The kids adore them! It does take a good 3-4 weeks.

    As far as letting some gasses out. Yes. That's totally fine. I've had the lids on some of my jars actually bubble up and I knew I needed to let some of that gas out. I'd open it a crack and then screw it back on.

    So funny, yes I totally know Mare from Just Making Noise. We grew up together here in Iowa attending the same church! She's currently in Honduras doing missionary work with no internet :( They're still waiting on it but it's been taking A LONG time. Definitely keep her and her family in your prayers. She's expecting her 3rd baby this December. You can keep up to date with her by visiting

    They are able to travel outside of where they live to update this blog.

    Looking forward to getting to know you Melissa!!!

    Have a great week πŸ˜€

  16. Anna says:

    Hi Diana, thanks for the post! Glad to hear fizzing and popping is a good thing. I made some sauerkraut that fizzed and popped but the texture was definitely warm when making it and it is a bit soft in texture (made in sunny Australia). Do you think it may still be safe to eat?

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Hi Anna. Generally, if it doesn’t smell bad, it should be okay. My sauerkraut is never crunchy. I would just give it a taste and definitely go by instinct. However, if you have a bunch of fizzing, that’s a good sign that there tons of good bacteria!!

  17. Heather Z. says:

    Hi Diana,

    I Love you blog! I have read other recipes that say you have to skim off any scum and mold while fermenting your veggies. Have you ever had to do that with your lidded Mason jar method? Also, have you ever found the need to use cherry, or grape leaves to help with crispness?

  18. nancy says:

    Your mixed veggies looked like the Giardiniera I grew up eating…

  19. Kathy says:

    Good Afternoon!! :)

    I tried to click the links for each recipe above and they all led to naturally sweetened pumpkin bars lol. How do I get to these receipes? This is the first year in many I am fermenting things. I have started with my rat’s tail radishes and those are great! I am looking forward to trying your recipes!!!! Thank you so much for putting up this awesome blog!!

  20. Sara says:

    Hi Diana! I loved this video showing the “fizz” of fermentation. We planted cucumbers this year and are being overwhelmed so I am finally trying to lacto-ferment. I’m using the Linda Ziedrich recipes, and bought an airlock. I don’t see fizzing like you show, but I am wondering if, with the airlock, I shouldn’t expect to. (I do see some bubbles but nothing that dramatic). I’m trying to determine if maybe I shouldn’t expect to see so much fizzing when using an airlock because the whole point is to release the pressure little by little. Thanks!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Sara, yes, with an airlock, you won’t see the fizz since it releases the gasses all along the way. I’m seriously considering going that route as I completely forgot about 5 quarts of pickles I had fermenting downstairs that I ruined because I failed to burp them! Gah!!

  21. Dea says:

    Hi Diana, I am so glad you posted the video about the fizzing. I was “burping” the pickles and all of the sudden this rush of fizz happened in 1 out of 3 jars. I thought it was bad and was going to dump it. So I am about your video as it showed me, I had made them correctly! This is my. First time making them and your recipe is super easy. Here’s to hoping that my other 2 jars (mason type) start the fizzing action also!

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