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Fermentation Equipment: Choosing the Right Supplies

Fermenting vegetables is a simple process, once you get the hang of it, and it does not require a lot of specialized equipment. However, there are some tools that make preparation and fermentation even easier

Tools for Preparing Vegetables for Fermentation

A good quality knife or food processor for preparing vegetables is key. Vegetables can be sliced, chopped, grated, or left whole.

Cabbage Crusher Cabbage Crusher or other pounding tool is handy for making sauerkraut and other vegetables that will ferment in their own juices.


Fermentation Container

There is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a container for fermenting your vegetables, fruits, or condiments. Fermenting vessels range from wide-mouth glass jars to ceramic crocks.


Container Material 

Glass 

Glass is a good option for fermenting vegetables.  Glass doesn’t scratch easily, nor does it contain chemicals such as BPA. Glass containers such as canning jars are relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain. 

Fermented Vegetable Master Our Fermented Vegetable Master Kits are made of glass and come in half-gallon and gallon sizes.


Plastic

Although technically plastic can be used for fermentation, we do not recommend it for several reasons. First, plastic can be damaged, and scratches in the plastic can harbor foreign bacteria. Second, plastic (even food-grade plastic) often contains undesirable chemicals that can affect the vegetables. 

Ceramic

Ceramic fermentation crocks are fairly common and are a good choice for making large batches of fermented vegetables.

German Fermentation Crock   The German Fermenting Crock ranges from 5-20 liters in size and comes complete with stone weights and lid.

Porcelain

Food-grade porcelain is generally safe for fermenting vegetables. Avoid porcelain pieces such as vases or decorative pottery that are not food grade.


Lids and Airlocks for Fermenting Vegetables 

Using cloth covers, tight lids, or lids with airlocks is a matter of personal preference.

Cloth Covers 

For smaller jars, a paper coffee filter secured with a tight rubber band or canning lid ring works well to keep pests out and allow fermentation gases to escape. For small or large containers, a tight-weave dish towel or butter muslin, secured with a rubber band is sufficient.

One advantage of using a cloth cover is that it is easy to peek in or sneak a taste of the fermenting vegetables at any point. The disadvantage is that mold or kahm yeast forms more often on the surface of the vegetables. This surface formation is usually harmless and can be removed and discarded. Learn more about kahm yeast and how it can affect fermenting vegetables.

Tight Lids

Using a canning jar or other glass jar with its lid tightly closed is another option when fermenting vegetables. 

The advantage to using a tightly-sealed lid is that exposure to oxygen is reduced, so the chance of mold or kahm yeast forming on the surface is reduced. A disadvantage is that the jar requires more attention. When using a tight lid, burp the jar daily to release excess pressure and avoid overflow or explosions.

Lid With Airlock

Using a jar with an airlock in the lid is a popular option for fermenting vegetables, and many designs are available. 

For use with wide-mouth canning jars, the Perfect Pickler is a great choice! Wide-mouth canning jars come in a range of sizes, from half-pint to half-gallon.

For larger batches, try our half-gallon or gallon-size Fermented Vegetable Master. These glass jars come complete with airlock lid, storage lid, and ceramic fermentation weights.

Fermenting vegetables with an airlock lid greatly reduces the chance of mold or kahm yeast formation, no burping required!


Fermentation Weights 

Even when using a lid with airlock, keeping the vegetables submerged under the brine during fermentation is important.

Ceramic Fermentation Weights Use objects such as ceramic fermentation weights, glass jars, plastic bags filled with water, or any other object that is clean and free of glues or other chemical coating.

Or read our list of ideas on how to keep vegetables submerged during fermentation.

 

So many options! Which method will you choose?

 

                                                
 SMJ  
Pickles in ceramic crock


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