Now Delivering Fermented Vegetables in Compostable Packaging
For a couple of years now, we at Gutsy have been delivering fermented vegetables to your door. We always do our best to get your sauerkraut and kimchi to you as quickly as possible. It’s also pretty important for us to try and keep your fermented vegetables chilled on their way to your home. But until now, we have not been shipping fermented vegetables in compostable packaging. To keep your fermented vegetables chilled we have so far used expanded polystyrene boxes (EPS).
EPS is better than plain old polystyrene. EPS is 98% air and only 2% polystyrene, it can be recycled, and it generates no CFCs. Regardless, who likes polystyrene, even if it is expanded? We don’t! Plus it's really hard to recycle, it has to be taken to a special recycling centre...how many people are going to do that?
We’ve been working hard to find a way to deliver fermented vegetables in compostable packaging (while still keeping the your sauerkraut and kimchi cool). Now we have one.
We’re now using wool to keep your sauerkraut and kimchi chilled as it’s on its way to you. Why wool? Three reasons:
- It’s efficient
- Gram-for-gram wool is more efficient than EPS at keeping the cold in and the hot out.
- It’s made using waste
- Even better, this wool insulating liner is made from waste. When sheep are shorn, all the little bits of wool that are too small to be used for anything else are usually thrown away, but not anymore. WoolCool is gathering all those little bits of wool that are usually thrown away. The little bits are being washed and then combined together to be reused in these thermal liners.
- It’s compostable
- When your fermented vegetables arrive in compostable packaging, you can reuse the thermal liners as many times as you want. But once you have no further use for it, you can remove the recyclable polyethylene wrap (and recycle it) so your left with just 100% pure, unbleached, untreated wool. This biodegradable wool can be placed in your garden to keep in the water and the warmth. You can use this wool to insulate your air-conditioning or hot water pipes. If you save up enough of these wool liners you could even make a blanket out of them.
Why Do we Need to Keep Sauerkraut and Kimchi chilled anyway?
Sauerkraut and Kimchi are fermented. People have traditionally fermented things as a method of preservation. Is it silly to try and put these fermented vegetables in compostable packaging (or any type of thermal packaging) to keep them cool? Why can’t they be kept at ambient temperature?
The short answer is, “yes” you actually can keep your fermented vegetables at room temperature. But there’s a problem, at room temperature the vegetables will keep on fermenting. Even though we’ve already fermented for veggies for a 2-4 weeks (depending on temperature), there are still some carbohydrates left in the veggies for the probiotics to feed on. As the good bacteria feed on the remaining carbohydrates, the bacteria multiply and the carbohydrates decrease – this is good! However, carbon dioxide is created as a by-product of fermentation. This means that if your fermented vegetables warm up to much for too long they could be pretty fizzy when you take the lid off your jar.
What If my Fermented Veggies Warm Up?
Our Australian Summers get pretty hot, so if your fermented vegetables in biodegradable packaging are traveling a long way your sauerkraut will eventually warm up (even though it’s wool). As per the theory above, it doesn’t matter if your sauerkraut and kimchi warm up, it’s actually a good thing (as far as probiotics go). Just beware, if you’re ordering in the middle of summer, and you live far away from Brisbane (Tas or WA) your fermented veggies might be a little fizzy when you first take off the lid. If this is the case, refrigerate the jar for a couple of hours before you open is. Hold it over a bowl the first time you open it and drink any juices that you catch! We try to keep them as cool as possible.
Check out our shop to buy sauerkraut and kimchi and other fermented goodies, and you can rest assured that we’ll send you fermented vegetables in compostable packaging.