I’ve been promising to continue my series on lacto-fermentation for the last few weeks, but somehow got waylaid by desserts and sweets! I thought it was time to get back into this important topic (for more information read, Benefits of Lacto-Fermentation and Methods).
When I discussed the different methods of fermentation, I didn’t talk a lot about the different equipment you can buy and use, so I thought I would do that next. If you have had any experience using any of these products, please tell us your experience!! I know that there are many ways to lacto-ferment and I will only be touching a few of them. So please feel in the gaps!
First, one of the easiest and cheapest items to buy is a simple mason jar. I like the wide mouth ones especially.
You can use this for whey, salt, and saltless ferments.
For a more traditional method (and one which I prefer for taste), you can use a crock. Truthfully, I have been using a bowl with a plate. You can also use a food grade plastic bucket with a plate (and some type of weight), which I’ve also done. But I hate using plastic, even “food grade”. I feel that my bowl and plate method works okay, but for long term use, I want to buy a real crock. There are a few options out there.
A Traditional Open Crock
You can buy and see what they look like here . You need to make sure that you buy a lead free crock, as ferments are preserved in a very acidic environment which would leech out lead from your crock (in years past, there were several women who got lead poisoning from making kombucha in a crock which contained lead). For this reason, you may not want to buy a crock used.
Advantages include the fact that they aren’t too expensive (about 25 dollars for the smaller size). You will need to find a plate that fits neatly inside to hold the ferment under the water, or buy a specially made wooden board. This is how ferments have been made for hundreds of years.
However, I’ve been tempted to go ahead and buy one of the most wonderful crocks out there!
The Harsch Miracle Crock
These crocks use an innovative system by creating a water seal which allows gas to escape without exposing the ferment to air. This eliminates the needs to wash the plate/board everyday that you use in the traditional crock, and you don’t have to skim any scum off the top of the ferment (something you also have to do with a basic crock). Basically, you just fill it up, use the weighted plates to hold the ferment down, put on the lid and you are done! You check back in a few weeks, and you have lovely sauerkraut. We are seriously considering buying one of these, so I would love to hear your feedback on them.
And finally, there is one more item worth mentioning, which is a contraption made out of a gallon glass jar with a water seal put into the lid. See one here. They are significantly cheaper at only $25-35 dollars and are supposed to only take a few days to ferment (though you will probably remember that I don’t like the taste of short ferments). I do wonder if they are a bit overpriced, as it’s simply a gallon jar (which I buy for a couple of dollars) and a simple water lock seal that also only costs a few dollars. I wonder if you could make it yourself?
So there are a few of the options that I am interested in. I would love to hear what you like and use. Please share!
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday!