Hello FermentingInVT, :)
Thank you--this is very helpful and I understand better now.
Your welcome. I'm glad to be of help. :D
The ball jars I've used are not with lids, but the weight was such a tight fit that there was not much space for anything to get in there. I guess this is why it has turned out better.
This could very well be. Interesting to know. Thank you for explaining your process.
I wonder if you use the half gallon size ball jars--can you pack the cabbage down well? The neck is not as wide as the body of the jar, so I thought it would not be the right shape for a ferment. What do you think?
Yes, I am able to. The lid diameter is the same size as the one quart jars. They use the same lids. My hand just barely fits in. If your hands does not fit, goto your local lumber store and purchase a large diameter hardwood dowel that is longer than the length of the half gallon jars to use to pack down the vegetables. And actually having a jar where the opening is smaller than the body of the jar is useful. Because as the ferment expands, the shoulders, where the jar narrows for the opening, helps hold the vegetables down below the brine level.
And here's a good tip. When I do a closed (anaerobic) ferment, even if some vegetables break the surface of the brine, which does happen, I've never had any mold or spoilage. Likely because the head space is almost pure CO2 after a few days of fermenting. So I've stopped worrying about needing a weight in these jars. You're on your way! Happy fermenting! :D
Peace & Love from a vegan :)