Fermentation of Solid Food (a.k.a. Pickling)


Parsnips fermenting in a jar that has a ventable lid and can be marked with chalk.

When fermenting: Why a ventable lid?

Pressure from Carbon Dioxide generation builds up in the container.

puffy cap

puffy lidbloated-cider

Wilson Cloud Chamber



Ginger and Carrots






Sourdough Bread

Process of Fermenting Vegetables


Time-lapse Photography Started by Monitoring House Temperature in the Winter of 2013-14


Time-lapse Photography and Fermentation

timelapse-ferment setup
Fig Ferment
Sauerkraut Ferment

What is Happening Next for Time-lapse Photography

rasp pi
  • Raspberry Pi Computer $30 with case.

  • Can be hooked up to TV set

  • Runs on a cell phone charger for power, 10W.

  • 2 USB Ports

  • Uses an SD card for a drive

  • Camera and/or Keyboard and mouse hook into USB

  • It is portable and can take pictures from anywhere off of a battery

rasp pi on server
  • Raspberry Pi File Server 10W

  • Dell File Server 200W

  • Raspberry Pi can run 24/7 with low power use

  • Dell Server turned on and off remotely as needed

Alexander Flemings Discovery of Penicillin - American Chemical Society

Returning from holiday on September 3, 1928, Fleming began to sort through petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus, bacteria that cause boils, sore throats and abscesses. He noticed something unusual on one dish. It was dotted with colonies, save for one area where a blob of mold was growing. The zone immediately around the mold  later identified as a rare strain of Penicillium notatum  was clear, as if the mold had secreted something that inhibited bacterial growth.
Fleming found that his "mold juice" was capable of killing a wide range of harmful bacteria, such as streptococcus, meningococcus and the diphtheria bacillus.


Experimental : Coconut Fermentation

coconutI Learned about this concept from a World War 2 veteran named Tom Celary. He was a radio operator/navigator on bombers in the Pacific theater during the war. Serviceman buried coconuts into the ground with sugar and a bit of yeast packed into them. I am not sure if they invented this or just picked it up from the islanders. I would imagine an island culture would have tried this at some point.

The fermentation produces an alcoholic beverage that supposed to taste delicious. It also is supposed to break down some of the coconut meat into liquid forming a coconut "stock" inside. Sounded like something worth trying.

cocunut tools to drill hole

Small Drill, 1/2inch spade drill and Air Lock

cocnut with drill

Ready to Drill

coconut with hole

Coconut drilled and ready to be filled with simple sugar. It holds about 8 ounces. 1/2 cup sugar and the rest water. Allow simple sugar to cool, add a pinch of yeast and pour in.

fermenting coconut

Coconut fermenting in a cup that allows it to stay upright

Fermented Beverages and Healthy Drinks

water kefir

Water Kefir

  • Notice the kefir kernels seen in the bottom third of the liquid.

  • Aerobic/Anaerobic Fermentation.

  • Feeds on sugar and generates probiotics and enzymes.

  • Molasses and a pinch of sea salt/Himalayan salt provide vital trace minerals for the microbes.

  • Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, encapsulated in small kernels.

  • Needs maintenance every 2-3 days.

    • Pour out water kefir.

    •  Replace sugar solution.

    • Rinse grains with water using a strainer. Place back in container.



  • Notice the mat SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).

  • Aerobic Fermentation

  • Feeds on sugar and black or green tea, generates probiotics and enzymes.

  • Tea and optional brown sugar/molasses provides vital trace minerals for the microbes.

  • Needs Maintenance every 1-3 weeks.

    • Pull off SCOBY, pour out Kombucha into a container.

    • Brew tea and sugar,

    • Replace SCOBY.

    • Clean surfaces, container, hands with vinegar.

    • End product is vinegar if left long enough, more than one month.


Beer : For comparison

  • Anaerobic fermentation using select yeasts.

  • Feeds on sugars, maltose primarily.

  • Malted grains contain trace minerals that the yeast can use.

  • Hops traditionally added for flavor and preservation.

  • Beer and wine can be infused with herbs.

shot of beer

beer bread

Experiment with combinations, such as bread made by substituting beer for water.

washing soda
  • With some fermentation processes especially ones that involve a single strain, not a symbiotic culture. Cleanliness is important.

  •  Washing soda is a good cleaner that can sterilize surfaces, containers and utensils.

  • Washing soda is a base that is stronger than baking soda, weaker than lye.



 Water Kefir Recipes PDF File - Explains how to make water kefir and has many recipes for secondary fermentations with fruit, kefir soda recipes.

art of fermentaion

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

  • All you need to know about fermentation.

  • Examples from all over the world

  • The author spent many years fermenting and researching fermentation

nourishing traditions

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon w/ Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

  • Covers fermentation and has recipes for it

  • Has many recipes covering a variety of foods and covers meals, desserts, snacks, Mexican food, tonics

  • Myth-busts some of the fallacies surrounding so "health" food, especially the modern low-fat diet

Questions and Comments : hclny@oils-of-life.com