9 Best Tools For Fermentation
Fermented foods are not just delicious and filled with digestion boosting probiotics, fermentation is easy and fun to make at home. At times, fermenting vegetables, dairy products and beverages at home can feel like a stinky and potentially dangerous science experiment. Not to mention how weird it can seem to want to eat a food that you know, without doubt, has been sitting out on your counter for almost a month.
Despite all your (and my husband’s fears), fermentation is a natural yet scientific process, a process that human beings have relied on to preserve nourishing food in times of plenty, for thousands of years. Fermenting food at home is safe and beneficial when you use the right tools and follow the proper steps.
When fermenting at home, a little information, some basic cookware and containers, plus some easy cooking techniques are all you need to ferment like a pro. Add in some courage, because sometimes it is not easy to try to do new things. The fact that all over town: the grocery store, farmers markets and restaurants, fermented foods are in does not always help things. Trendy food can seem a little intimidating to try and replicate at home. However one of the most rewarding things about cracking open your own jar of fermented hot sauce is knowing that you did it, you created it, plus you know exactly what was is in it.
The secret here, what we really want to let you know, is that fermenting food is easy. While fermenting at home may seems too gourmet, way too salt of the earth, farm-y, or in clear violation of health code; to a lot of us. The real issue here is that fermented foods are some of the most beneficial additions to the modern diet.
Revivalist Kitchen wants you to know that you can make your own pickles, kefir, yogurt and kraut, in your own home! Especially since the price tag on some of the commercially available versions of these probiotic powerhouses are down right expensive. If you have an abundant garden or fresh, affordable, local produce then fermenting foods at home becomes an even more economical way to add truly traditional, deeply nourishing and powerful healing foods into your life.
Below is a list of our favorite fermentation tools:
- Food Processor: One that includes a shredding blade. It pays for itself quickly by saving you a lot of sweat and time spent grating vegetables.
- Onion Goggles: These are so necessary when slicing and shredding onions to avoid tears.
- Ball Jars: You don’t need anything fancy to start fermenting. Glass jars with the lid and ring of all sizes come in handy when fermenting at home. We suggest the wide mouth mason jars, because most fermentation tools fit and work with the wide mouth mason jars.
- Scale: With dry salt & brined ferments, it is important to know precisely how much salt to add so you will need to know the weight of the vegetables you use.
- Glass or Stone Fermenting Weights: These are for holding food under brine. This can easily be hacked: with small ramekins, vegetables and toothpick combo, or plastic bags of water, but if you find yourself fermenting often it nice to have an easy to clean glass weight that fits right into the top of a jar. Fermentation crocks often come with stone weights just for this purpose and they are great for larger quantities.
- Funnel Filler: A large funnel like cup that sits perfectly into the top of glass jars. Keeps your countertop and jars tidy, plus makes filling your jars easy. This is kind of an old school tool, look for it in the canning aisle at a hardware store or at Sur La Table.
- Pickle Pipe: This allows the fermentation gas (remember it’s alive) to release without letting oxygen in. This tool will give you more successful krauts with no mold. You can totally ferment without a pickle pipe, but you will have to babysit your ferments without one. Meaning you will need to burp your jar daily, plus it will spillover so there will be a mess to clean up as well. Not to mention…if you don’t burp it, that ferment could potentially explode in your kitchen!
- Kraut Pounder: One of the best vintage finds out there, kraut pounders are often made of wood and shaped a bit like a giant muddler (for the bar) or tiny baseball bat. The idea of the kruat pounder is that it is heavy with a flat surface on the bottom so you can beat up your shredded veggies and release all our tension, easily and extract even more precious liquid for your brine.
- A Fermentation Diary: Record your process and recipe. Then note the results, as your ferments mature. It is easy to think you will remember exactly what you put in your amazing fermented salsa, yet we can testify that it is way easier to forget. After awhile, you will have your own fermentation cookbook with all your successes and lessons in one place.
As mentioned above, when getting into larger batches of fermented foods, it may be time to invest in large fermentation vessels or crock. All kinds of vessels exist just for the sole purpose of fermenting, from large plastic buckets (not necessarily Revivalist Kitchens first choice) to the Harsch five-gallon crock, Erin bought off craigslist and counts as a prized possession!
As much as we love our crocks, weights and onion goggles, the above tools are not all needed to start fermenting at home. If you do start getting really into fermentation though, some of these items like the food processor and scale will not only save you a lot of time, but they will help you maintain consistency in your ferments. You can start fermenting with a box grater and a washed out mayo jar, so don’t let any lists or anyone get in your way, but success does favor the prepared.
Find a recipe you like, weigh your produce at the store and notate and trust the process. Fermentation has been transforming foods for the benefit of human beings for thousands of years, so go ahead and rediscover what these foods can do for you. There are so many great resources on fermentation online, in books and maybe even classes in your local community, plus a lot of the time people who ferment foods are really cool, and love to share and talk about what they are making.
Revivalist Kitchen wants to hear all about your fermentation adventures, so tag #BFFDiet on insta with your creations. Check out some of our fermented recipes below. Happy Fermenting!
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