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Q+A: All About the Airlock - FarmSteady

Q+A: All About the Airlock

There are lots of lacto-fermentation set-ups, but we prefer to keep it as low maintenance as possible. That’s why we use airlocks: they keep the fermentation process super simple and mostly hands-off, so you never have to worry about your project while it ferments.

We get lots of questions about the airlock, so we wanted to break down this awesome tool to help you troubleshoot in your own kitchen:

What is the airlock?

Our airlocks are made of 3 pieces: the cap, inner dome, and main chamber. To assemble, just remove the cap (which may be a little tight the first time you take it off), fill the chamber about two-thirds of the way with water (tap is fine!), place the dome inside the chamber and cap it. Now, push your assembled airlock firmly into the grommet on the jar lid. You’re ready to ferment!

What does it do?

When you’re making kimchi, pickles, kraut or anything else, gases and bubbles are created during fermentation. Those bubbles need to be released when you’re fermenting in a closed container, which is why you might’ve heard of “burping” your jars to let the bubbles escape. We think that’s kind of gross, and we’re really not interested in babysitting our jars that way.

The airlock lets all those bubbles out without letting anything else get inside your fermentation jar. That means you can set your jar aside and not worry about it during fermentation.

What if something gets into your airlock?

If a day or two into fermentation you notice the liquid in your airlock is cloudy, don’t worry! It just means your fermentation was super active and pushed some of the brine into the airlock chamber. To fix it, just remove the airlock from the lid, rinse out the chamber, refill with clean water, reassemble and pop it back on your lid. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes the water level in your airlock can get really low (this can happen in the summer when there’s a lot of evaporation). Just take it off, top with water, and pop it back on.

Previous article Recipe: Dill Pickle Kraut


Rich - December 7, 2023

When you put the airlock in, do you put it all the way into the water or just above it??

Julie - December 7, 2023

If the airlock keeps filling with sauerkraut juice, does that mean the jar is overfilled?

Robert Kolberg - December 7, 2023

Concerning the airlock I’m assuming the cap doesn’t completely seal it and somehow vents the gases, correct?

Jackson - December 7, 2023

I’m making the hot sauce recipe and my airlock keeps filling up with liquid and overflowing. I tried emptying it out again and refilling 2/3 with fresh water and the same thing keeps happening. I have the lid on but the excess liquid keeps spilling out of the lid. Any recommendations?

Anthony Paladino - December 7, 2023

Often when I insert my waterlock into the lid 1/2 inch or less the brine comes 2/3 thirds up the tube, but not into the water. Is this a problem?

Marilyn Braxton - December 7, 2023

I have two Questions;
First; I started my pickles on Monday afternoon and I put the airlock on without putting water in it, do I need to start all over again? 🙁 My pickles are starting to get cloudy.
Second question; When the pickles are ready for refrigeration do I keep the airlock on the entire time of refrigeration? HELP

Patty - December 7, 2023

Do I leave my airlock on when I place my pickles in the refrigerator in a few days? Thanks.

Robert K Grant - May 14, 2024

Does the cap stay on the airlock during fermentation?

Jan - May 14, 2024

Cannot get lid off airlock. Help!

Paul Appeldorn - May 14, 2024

Second request:
Have had a kraut kit for years and totally enjoy making sauerkraut. However the washer that seals the lit and airlock has given up the ghost.
Have tried to get a washer that would work from the hardware store but have not fount one that works.
How do I get a replacement?
Thank you

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