How to Keep Your Fermented Vegetables Submerged
Many different kinds of vessels may be used for fermenting vegetables, and everyone has a favorite. The most common is the affordable and versatile mason or canning jar. These jars can be found easily at hardware stores and big box stores alike, and quite inexpensively. With some creativity, fermenting produce can be kept below the brine, no matter what type of container is used, resulting in wonderful cultured foods!
Choose a jar with a wide mouth opening, free of cracks or chips. Then experiment with different methods to find the one that works best.
Tips for Keeping Vegetables Under the Brine
Use a fermenting vessel with a mouth wide enough to allow a weight to be inserted easily. With a convenient opening, you can choose a variety of methods of submerging or weighting the vegetables inside the vessel.
These weights are designed for fermenting, so are made of safe materials. Check the size of the fermenting jar and the diameter of the weights to make sure they will fit.
A Cabbage Leaf or Other Large Vegetable Pieces
Tuck a cabbage leaf over the top of the prepared vegetables. Often this leaf alone will be enough to keep the vegetables in place under the brine. Thin wide strips from zucchini or carrot can be placed over the vegetables as a mat.
A Small Ceramic or Glass Dish
Mini jelly jars, condiment dishes or small dessert ramekins that fit inside the mouth of the jar work very well. Partially fill the jar with water for extra weight.
A Small Dish Plus an Additional Weight
Place a small dish on top of the prepared vegetables and weight down with a rock or other heavy object.
A Plate Inside a Large BowlIf none of the above options is available, ferment in a large bowl, and use a plate to press down the top of the vegetables. Add weight to the top of the plate to keep the vegetables submerged. Once the vegetables are fermented, transfer them and their brine to storage jars, still attempting to keep the brine over the veggies.
Make sure any fermentation weight is clean and appropriate for contact with food. If any vegetables slip away from underneath the weights, simply discard them after the fermentation process is complete. Anything underneath the brine should be fine.