What the hell?

I found this mystery contraption on my kitchen counter, left there by the mister, who may have gone out for additional supplies:

mystery_fermentation

I’m pretty sure that top doohickey is a fermentation facilitator of some sort. Please tell me he’s not making jalapeño moonshine! He often makes homemade hot sauce, which is awesome, but I’ve never seen a kit like this involved in the process. I’m afraid no good can come of it.






63 replies
  1. 1
    ulee says:

    Whatever it is, I want one.

  2. 2
    srv says:

    I’m blinded by all the stainless and expensive counters.

  3. 3
    Jerry says:

    He’s making pickled jalapeños.

  4. 4
    Sly says:

    It’s a jar-top fermenter. Mostly used for making homemade pickled vegetables.

  5. 5
    mrmike says:

    That thing on the top is an airlock, for releasing fermentation gasses without allowing air in.
    Looks like fermentation pickling (see kimchi) going on.

  6. 6
    jeffreyw says:

    Jalapeno cider!

  7. 7
    JCT says:

    Keep that sucker away from the dogs! In my house that woulds be a “bad snek”

    Fermentation can really boost the taste of pickled jalapenos…. but I’ve never seen one of those either

  8. 8
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Also useful in beer and wine making!

  9. 9
    Eric U. says:

    I never would have guessed you need an air lock for pickling, but in retrospect it makes sense

  10. 10
    Botsplainer says:

    French press for jalapenos.

  11. 11
    Botsplainer says:

    French press for jalapenos.

  12. 12
    danielx says:

    Senior administration sources say that device was stolen from McMegan’s kitchen, so beware.

  13. 13
    dr. bloor says:

    Looks like a jalapeño-enhancement device. Where do the batteries go?

    Asking for a friend.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    @Jerry: But what is that contraption, and what the doohicky on the top do?

    I am relieved that the contents are peppers. I thought at first they were brussels sprouts, and something horrible would happen.

  15. 15
    scav says:

    Judging from the top dohicky myself, could be a Radio tower for alien jalapeños calling home for backup after they’ve been under attack from locals with knives.

  16. 16
    SatanicPanic says:

    @danielx: is that what bachamel looks like?

  17. 17
    max says:

    Pickle Pro fermenting lid.

    If it’s not that brand, it’s another one just like it.

    max
    [‘I did not know that there was a God’s way of cooking God’s foods and that pickling was involved. Learn something new, I guess.’]

  18. 18
    sm*t cl*de says:

    I thought at first they were brussels sprouts, and something horrible would happen.

    Brussels Sprout Kimchi? What could possibly go wrong?

  19. 19
    Bill Arnold says:

    @max:
    Yeah, looks like the picture of a Pickle Pro. Did not know that such a thing existed before a google search. (Yay google! First hit on pickling device. Many of the subsequent hits involve another sort of pickling, of metal in acid.)

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    @srv: I installed those counters, cabinets, sinks and backsplash with my own two hands!

  21. 21
    ulee says:

    I don’t think the mister is coming back. This looks like the parting signature of a very troubled mind.

  22. 22
    Eric U. says:

    @max: I thought beer making equipment was bad, but you can get an air lock for just over a buck. $14 for a lid with an air lock is ridiculous.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: Finally a picture of your project. Thanks!
    As far as the doohickey thing, if it hisses move away quickly.

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    Well, mystery solved: it is a pickling thingy. The airlock threw me since the mister pickles stuff from the garden all the time, but using the vinegar method. This is a brine / lactic acid pickling experiment, which requires an airlock.

  25. 25
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    $14 for a Pickle Pro? The airlock is about $1.25. There must be something really special about the lid.

  26. 26
    sparrow says:

    It’s a one-wave valve for letting gas (i.e., C02, one of the products of fermentation) out, while not letting bad things (bacteria) in.

  27. 27
    max says:

    @Bill Arnold: Yeah, looks like the picture of a Pickle Pro. Did not know that such a thing existed before a google search.

    And it seems like a more or less sensible solution if you’re pickle-happy.

    (Yay google! First hit on pickling device. Many of the subsequent hits involve another sort of pickling, of metal in acid.)

    Yeah, I saw that. But did you see this page?

    Jesus apparently liked himself a big old kosher dill.

    max
    [‘That sounds bad.’]

  28. 28
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @JPL: If it follows you, run.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @jl:

    But what is that contraption, and what the doohicky on the top do?

    It’s just a mason jar with a special lid. The doohickey on top is essentially a one way valve that lets fermentation gasses escape without letting stuff in. Gas from the fermentation goes down through liquid and comes out as bubbles, but outside air can’t be easily sucked back in. That lets the fermentation proceed without oxygen, so it produces lactic acid (and probably small amounts of ethanol) faster.

  30. 30
    Schlemizel says:

    @srv: Does the family get CHIPs? Counter tops like those demand an answer!

  31. 31
    ulee says:

    @Betty Cracker: Or so he claims. If it starts ticking get the hell out of there.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    @Roger Moore: Thanks for the info. Now, being a very mature person, I am wondering if you can light the escaping gases and turn it into a candle?

  33. 33
    Amir Khalid says:

    @sm*t cl*de:

    Brussels Sprout Kimchi?

    I just know somebody here’s going to try making that.

  34. 34
    sm*t cl*de says:

    It’s just a mason jar with a special lid.

    I refuse to believe that you can fit a whole Mason into one of those.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @jl:

    I am wondering if you can light the escaping gases and turn into a candle?

    Probably not. Classic lactic acid fermentation will produce carbon dioxide, which will extinguish flames. I don’t think you’d want to eat anything that had gone through a fermentation that would produce flammable exhaust gasses.

  36. 36
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I just know somebody here’s going to try making that.

    Another thing I did not know existed, and now know to exist because google:
    http://www.bonappetit.com/reci.....uts-kimchi

    Also google images has pictures.

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @sm*t cl*de:

    I refuse to believe that you can fit a whole Mason into one of those.

    That’s what food processors are for.

  38. 38
    Wag says:

    Nice fermentation lock. I have used similar contraptions on 5 gallon water bottles while brewing beer.

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    I feel that the name “Pickle Pro” just takes all the romance out of the jar of Jalapenos.

  40. 40
    bago says:

    Please note, those airlocks are dual use technologies. They can be used to make wine and beer as well.

  41. 41
    ulee says:

    When I was young and still living with my parents I would brew beer in 5 gallon buckets. My mother was a food caterer. One time she was talking with a very devout customer who kept repeating that there would be no alcohol at the wedding. My mother said my fermenter, which was in the living room, kept going bloop bloop the entire time.

  42. 42
    NotMax says:

    Green-eyed over the expanse of counter space. What is shown is perhaps 3 times the amount in the kitchen in the abode here, which is all stainless steel, a prime reason that I bought a portable dishwasher with a butcher block top some 30 years ago.

  43. 43
    RSR says:

    Fermented pickling. The lactobacillus naturally occurring on the fruit will ferment it, creating acidity. (We can quick pickle with vinegar for an acid as well.)

    Best pickles I ever ate were lacto pickles.

    The same lacto is what creates ‘sour’ flavors in some beers (although other bugs are often involved as well), especially Berliner Weisse.

  44. 44
    Joel says:

    Airlock for fermentation, as you suspected.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @RSR:
    Lactobacilli (especially L. sanfranciscensis) are also vital in sourdough bread.

  46. 46
    HinTN says:

    How in Hades do you maintain such clutter-free counters?

  47. 47
    MikeJ says:

    @aimai:

    I feel that the name “Pickle Pro” just takes all the romance out of the jar of Jalapenos.

    The pros may turn out a better pickle, but it’s the amateurs that pickle with the most heart.

  48. 48

    Fun Fact! You can make rum out of Zucchini. In the UK we grow Zucchini to large sizes and call them Marrows. (They also make wonderful jam). Slice the top of a large marrow and scoop out the seeds but not the flesh. Pierce a hole in the base and then pack the entire cavity of the Marrow with brown sugar. Slide the marrow into one leg of a pair of panty hose and suspend over a container. Leave for whatever amount of time it takes for the stuff in the marrow to ferment and drip out of the bottom.

    For more info go here

    http://www.instructables.com/i.....ss-Vegeta/

  49. 49
    shelley says:

    That thing on the top is an airlock, for releasing fermentation gasses without allowing air in.

    And the large cork it usually comes with, fits a large-size mason jar perfectly.
    Observe:http://wellpreserved.ca/air-lo.....w-hieghts/

  50. 50
    shelley says:

    Slide the marrow into one leg of a pair of panty hose and suspend over a container

    Are you sure you didn’t get that recipe from your local prison?

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @shelley: It is probably a leftover from rationing during the war.

  52. 52
    Tone in DC says:

    @aimai:
    Jalapenos are NOT romantic. In any sense. Those peppers need a plate of nachos under them. Stat. ;-)

  53. 53
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Betty Cracker: Natural fermentation like this is a nice probiotic boost to the ol’ gut microbes, and I think it tastes better too no matter what you are pickling. Along those general lines, I’ve been making my own kombucha recently, and really fallen in love with it though I can’t drink it after 3:00PM because the caffeine from the black tea base keeps me up.

    Hey Betty, is that actual wood butcher block countertops? We’re ready to redo the kitchen countertops here and I don’t want to spring for solid surface but I’d love a sub-mount sink now that hubby has decided he likes to cook (love the help, but wow is the extra mess level “interesting”). So, (1) is that solid wood? and (2) can you do a sub-mount sink with that (if you know)? I’m looking around for ideas right now.

  54. 54
    Scott Supak says:

    It’s for making jalapeno vodka. Just soak the jalas in vodka. 24 hours is long enough. Float it on top of Corona, so it fills the empty neck. Jalapeno vodka floaters.

  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: I was going to say the same thing. In our house many, many things would have been moved out of the way to leave that much space clear on counters.

  56. 56
    Shana says:

    @jl: my first guess was okra.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @jl:

    I thought at first they were brussels sprouts, and something horrible would happen.

    I also thought Brussels sprouts when I first glanced at the picture, although I wasn’t worried about “something horrible” since I actually like Brussels sprouts.

    Spinach, asparagus, and carrots, also too.

  58. 58
    Comrade Mary says:

    Could be worse. Could be a sex toy.

  59. 59
    David in NY says:

    @Amir Khalid: Brussels sprouts kim chi would probably be pretty good. Kim chi is often (usually?) cabbage, and so, basically, are brussels sprouts. And you can kim chi other stuff, too, so probably OK.

    Heck, just noticed that @Bill Arnold: posted recipe.

  60. 60
    David in NY says:

    @Shana: Funny, I thought okra too, but it’s clearly peppers if you look close.

  61. 61
    opiejeanne says:

    @max: God foods? What the heck?

  62. 62
    E. says:

    I pickle jalapenos every year but not like this. You don’t need an airlock — they don’t build up that much pressure. A standard Ball Jar with the top not screwed down completely tight will work just fine. Pressure in the jar escapes through the lid. (Ball jars are meant to keep the pressure low in the jar, as in canning, not the pressure high in the jar, as in beer. So they don’t tend to explode because they don’t tend to hold the pressure well — it just escapes.) Also, that’s a heck of a lot of brine. I just press my peppers with some salt and they release their own juices, and are mostly pickled in that. Sometimes you have to add a little water to cover them. Let us know how they turn out.

  63. 63
    J R in WV says:

    I want some of those! WANT SOME!!!

    yummmmy looking.

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