Frequently Asked Questions
During wild fermentation we create an environment in which all the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that live on and in and around the veggies can feed on the carbohydrates that make up the veggies. As the bacteria feed on the carbohydrates they multiply and propagate. We ferment for a period of weeks. At different temperatures different strains of probiotics ferment at different rates. We ferment at a variable room temperature for most of the year except for the very hot months when we try to keep the extreme temperatures down in our fermentation room (for flavour). Once the veggies are below 6 degrees Celsius fermentation continues at a nearly negligible rate. As the probiotics are consuming the carbohydrates they multiply and create lactic acid and carbon dioxide as by-products. The lactic acid gives fermented veggies a lovely sour flavour. The carbon dioxide can make the kraut fizzy. During the initial weeks of fermentation we ferment the veggies in sealed oak barrels that allow the carbon dioxide to escape. When the veggies are put in sealed jars they are usually pretty stable as long as they are kept under 6C. If the jars are allowed to heat up above 6C they will increase their rate of fermentation and quickly create more carbon dioxide which begins to slightly pressurises the jar. If the jar is pressurised, when the lid is removed they are a bit fizzy and can even overflow. Carrot Kraut is more prone to this as it is naturally higher in carbohydrates than cabbage. This does NOT mean that the fermented veggies are bad. A jar of fermented veggies can happily last out of the fridge for months. One of the reasons that our forefathers first started fermenting veggies was because it would allow them to eat the summer harvested crops 6 or 8 months later in the middle of winter. The ONLY reason that our Gutsy labels require refrigeration is so that “lofting” won’t occur…it can be messy and disconcerting for the customer. On the upside, “lofting” shows that the veggies are alive and heathy. Actually, fizzy jars of kraut are probably better for you as they're lower in carbohydrates and higher in probiotics.
Yes and no. Gutsy Kraut and Kimchi is naturally fermented, raw and unheated, so that it's jam packed with trillions of probiotics. For thousands of years most cultures have fermented food so that it can be preserved for months or even years (and that's without refrigeration). All of this means that properly fermented vegetables can be kept out of the fridge for months and it will NOT go bad, or rotten, or be dangerous to eat. The problem is that if properly fermented vegetables are kept out of the fridge for too long they will keep on fermenting. This means that they'll generate carbon dioxide as a by-product. Once too much carbon dioxide has been generated you fermented veggies will get pretty fizzy or even overflow the jar one you remove the lid. This is totally fine, and not dangerous in any way, it's just messy.
When we ship your kraut and kimchi to your door, we pack it into a thermal box with ice packs. This keeps the fermented goodies cool for a few days depending on the outside temperature. The thing is that our Australian Summers get pretty hot, and if your package is traveling a long way your sauerkraut will eventually warm up. Tt doesn’t matter if your kraut warms 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.
Yes! No animal products are used at all when making Kraut and Kimchi. There is definitely no fish sauce in the Kimchi. However, if you order Kraut or Kimchi online it needs to be kept cold as it travels to you. By default we ship it in a thermal box using sheep wool offcuts. The wool liner only uses the bits of wool that would usually be thrown away, as they can't be used for anything else. You can read more about it here. If you don't want to keep your products cool in wool, you have the option to choose a vegan, polystyrene box at checkout.
Yes! Our standard range of fermented vegetables ARE Australian Certified Organic (ACO). This includes: Smoked Garlic Kraut Pepperberry Kraut Carrot Ginger and Turmeric Kraut Beet and Citrus Kraut Apple Radish Kimchi Cauliflower Kimchi You can read about why we certify our products here. We also ferment a seasonal range of vegetables which various from season to season. We ferment whatever is available in small batches. These raw seasonal vegetables are all certified organic, but we usually won't get our finished product certified organic as it's just a seasonal short run. By the time we finished certifying the seasonal products, they'd probably be all gone!
All Gutsy products are nut free. No nuts or nut-containing products are processed in the Gutsy facility.
Yes! Our standard range of fermented vegetables ARE certified kosher. This includes: Smoked Garlic Kraut Pepperberry Kraut Carrot Ginger and Turmeric Kraut Beet and Citrus Kraut Apple Radish Kimchi Cauliflower Kimchi We also ferment a seasonal range of vegetables which various from season to season. We ferment whatever is available in small batches. These seasonal vegetables are fermented in exactly the same way and in exactly the same kitchen as our standard range, but they're not certified Kosher as they are small batches and vary every season.
We ferment all our veggies in oak barrels! We love oak barrels for so many reasons. Only oak barrels are used as the container to ferment vegetables. We believe that oak barrels are the the best vessel we can use to ferment vegetables. Oak barrels are chemical free, sustainable and create some great flavours. During fermentation, vegetables will often get very acidic. Depending on time, temperature and levels of carbohydrates, vegetables can achieve a pH of 3.5-3 during fermentation. Vegetables fermented in plastic, poor quality stainless steel, or even ceramic crocks with the wrong type of glaze, can problematic. Imagine our acidic vegetables sitting in a plastic, poor stainless or wrong ceramic container. After 3-4 weeks of fermenting the flavour is noticeable, what about the chemicals? Fermenters have been using oak barrels for thousands of years for sauerkraut. Oak barrels are great as they contain no artificial chemicals. Oak only produces lovely flavours.
Wild fermentation is the process of allowing all the locally sourced, naturally existing bacteria that live on and in and around our vegetables, to multiply and propagate. Some people say that you need to add a starter culture to vegetables before fermentation; but that’s not true! People have been wildly fermenting for thousands of years, and it’s worked for the just fine. There are also many benefits to wildly fermented vegetables over vegetables fermented with a start culture. Read more about those benefits here
Fermentation is a natural way of preserving vegetables. Before opening, your sauerkraut and kimchi will keep for over a year in the fridge. After opening it will usually keep for a long time as well. The one risk to your fermented veggies once opening is mould. How quickly mould grows will depend on temperature, your environment, how many mould spores are floating around etc. Generally your jar of fermented veggies will last 3-4 weeks after opening, but as long as there's no mould it will last much longer than that.
We don't get every batch of sauerkraut and kimchi tested, but just 45g of properly fermented veggies can have more than 2.5 Trillion bacteria! That's a lot! Most probiotic capsules only claim contain 1 - 10 billion bacteria. That means that in a serve of Gutsy Sauerkraut or Kimchi you could be consuming 200-400 times more probiotics than if you popped a probiotic capsule.
There's no right answer here. There are lots of probiotics in a very small amount of sauerkraut. In just one tablespoon of fermented veggies you a getting a huge boost of beneficial bacteria into your microbiome. However, within reason, you can't have too much sauerkraut or kimchi. If you're new to fermented foods, take care, as too much to quickly could clean out your system. But if you're used to plenty of fermented foods a jar at a time is no problem.
Since the beginning of time, traditional cultures have been known to enjoy a wide variety of fermented foods. A love and taste for fermented foods are often nurtured from a young age. Besides being able to enjoy the delicious flavour, fermented foods also contains a wide diversity of gut beneficial microbes which contributes to a healthy and strong gut in babies and young children. According to a paediatrics study done on fermented foods and children states, "Once a baby has begun solids foods, they will benefit from the inclusion of small amounts of fermented foods right away. Dipping a spoon or finger in the juice of sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable and letting the baby taste it is a way to adapt the eating habits. The benefits of fermented foods are not only their probiotic qualities but also allowing the child to experience and become accustomed to sour flavours." See the full article here. We run a tribe of 4 children (going on 5) with ages ranging from 13-3. They don't always particularly feel like sauerkraut or kimchi daily. And it's okay. Having a generous variety of fermented foods around allow them to choose and discover their own favourite ferment. It can be that avocado miso sourdough toast. Or blueberry and cacao nibs milk kefir smoothie. The special treat of a refreshing raspberry & lime water kefir icy pole on a hot summer day. Don't stress too much if they turn down a certain ferment the first time you offer it to them. Keep up with finding different delicious ways to accompany or add the ferments to meals and they will definitely come around to it int day.
Anytime! We prefer to let our bodies tell us when we feel like that spoonful of kraut or kimchi with our meals rather than to force-feed ourselves at a regulated time daily. There are days when we feel like kraut 3 times a day and others when we just don't feel like having much at all. Start with small amounts with meals if you are not used to fermented veggies and once you have acquired the taste, it might be hard to stop at the first spoonful!