Fermenting vegetables is an easy task. But there are a few things that beginners need to know—especially regarding equipment. Keep reading for more discussion on what you need, and what you don’t need, when lacto-fermenting foods.
My first attempts at fermenting foods were disastrous. Many times, I ended up with slimy, moldy cabbage that was not only unappetizing but unsafe to eat. What was I doing wrong?
Having the proper equipment for fermenting vegetables is critical to success. Why? Because you need to keep your food submerged below the level of the liquid.
The first time I tried to make sauerkraut, I didn’t know that. Fail.
After I learned this truth, I tried to make fermented pickles. Keeping the cucumbers under the brine level with a plate was really tricky. I ended up with some moldy ends. Gross.
Then, I thought about getting a fermenting crock. My husband had picked a couple up from an auction and I used one to store kitchen utensils. I had a few more in the attic. But with those, I still had to weight down the food with a plate on top.
You can buy a new fermentation crock that come with weights. That sounded like a good idea. But they cost a lot of money. The cheapest I could find was $70. They are also heavy. And I am not a very strong person. I also have a tile floor and everything that hits it breaks into a million pieces. I would be heart-broken to drop a $70 crock on the floor and have it break.
Then I found Fermentools.
The glass fermentation weight we sell fits into a wide-mouthed canning jar. Canning jars are cheap and lightweight. If I drop one and break it, I have 50 more just like it in the cupboard.
Another important component of fermenting foods is keeping oxygen away. Oxygen provides the environment that bacteria need to grow, and you do not want that. So we sell airlocks that fit perfectly into the lid (with the help of a rubber stopper) to prevent that from happening.
Our specially designed lid fits inside a standard, wide-mouthed canning lid ring. You don’t have to worry about your lids and jars being compatible. Also, in our kits, we include rubber stoppers with holes to accommodate the airlocks and rubber stoppers that are solid. Once you remove the airlock, simply replace the stopper with a solid one before putting your product in the refrigerator. Of course, if you want to immediately start another jar of fermented goodness, you can replace the fermenting lid with a standard canning lid.
You can get a six-pack kit for about the same price as that crock I found. That kit will allow you to ferment six different recipes at the same time. With the crock, you are limited to one recipe. Me? I’ll take the variety every time.
What do you use to ferment your foods in?