Fermentation needn’t be an equipment intensive undertaking, unless of course you are producing at a commercial scale. All you generally need is a fermentation vessel and some salt and some sort of weight to help keep the contents of your fermentation submerged. That said, I am also a huge fan of having the right tools and equipment in the kitchen when working on ferments and making meals.
Here is a list of all the items you can find in my kitchen which I find helpful in the preparation and storage of fermented foods.
Items Used for Fermenting
- Fermentation Crock – This is the one I use on a regular basis in my kitchen. Works very well. Food safe glaze, water lip around the top to create a seal which prevents molds and other microbes from entering, a split set of weights.The 5 liter size is great for making decent-sized batches of tastyness that you can share while not dominating your counter space. Having a good crock can help to minimize the occasional contamination problems that can pester fermenters. I also was recently gifted a fermenting crock handmade by a local ceramicist. If you have the chance near you, support your local artisan and buy a one-of-a-kind fermenting crock.
- Anchor Glass Jar – I used these for years for my fermentation projects and still do occasionally. They work fine. You’ll need to improvise weights (plastic bag with water, large bottle of water, marbles, etc.) to keep your fermentations submerged but that’s not difficult. I use the 2 gallon version for my kombucha.
- Air Locks – these Kraut Kaps work well. They attach to mason jars to create a fermentation environment free of harmful microbes. See How Do I Ferment with an Airlock?
- Glass Weights – I prefer glass for my followers (another term for a weight used to keep your ferment submerged), as they clean very easily and remain free of contaminant growth between uses.
- Ultimate Pickle Jar kit – This kit makes it easy for fermenting small batches in mason jars. Once on their site, look for either the SIngle Pickle*Pushing No-Float Jar*Packer Fermentation Kit or the set of 3.
Items used for Preparation of Fermented Foods
- Cuisinart Food Processor – aids in speedy shredding of various vegetables such as in Shredded Purple Curtido or Kale Curtido Salad. Also aids in the making of spicy pastes such as Fermented Horseradish and Traditional Korean Kimchi. Useful for Misos as well. I make a ton of hummous with this kitchen workhorse, although not necessarily fermented.
- Vitamix 5200 – useful for making fermented batters such as Dosa or Quinoa Dosa. Of course I use it for smoothies and soups too.
- Shun Knife Set – I love these knives so much. Beautiful folded steel, lifetime free mail-in sharpening and they keep a brilliantly sharp edge. A splurge, but if you love spending time in the kitchen as I do, these are to be seriously considered. Your foodie friends will spot them as soon as they walk into your kitchen.
- MicroPlane / Zester – These are great, especially for grating ginger into very fine pieces and removing lemon/orange zest.
- Kitchen Scale – as the salt used in fermentation is often utilized in direct relation to the weight of the primary vegetable ingredients, having a good kitchen scale can be very helpful. I recently upgraded my scale to this one and I LOVE it. It works great, is easy to use and the display is easy to read. In this day and age of “planned obsolescence,” it surprising and very welcome to find a Lifetime Warranty! I paid $36 for mine and it is so worth the investment.
- Thermometer – It’s old-school, but it does the trick. Helpful for testing temperatures when making breads, Yogurt, and Kombucha.
- Bamboo Cutting Board – Couldn’t find the one I have any longer, but this seems like a nice larger one with good reviews
- Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner – this is a nice product which contains food grade mineral oil and a mix of beeswax and carnuba wax. Not only protects the wood but helps repair knife marks.
Items Used to Store Fermented Foods
- Ball Jars – These are the workhorses of fermentation storage in my kitchen. I generally use two sizes, 1 pint and 1.5 pint and like the ones where the mouth of the jar is as wide as the jar itself. You can get these at your local hardware store too.
- Mini-Fridge – Once your fridge fills up with all of your ferments, you may need a little extra storage space. I can recommend this model. I’ve had mine for about 4 years now and it hasn’t missed a beat.
- Fermented Vegetables
- The Big Book of Kombucha
- The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz – very in depth. A great reference tool for the avid fermenter
- Wild Fermentation – also by Sandor Katz – this is the book that supported my first ventures into the land of fermentation.
- Mastering Fermentation by Mary Karlin – a nicely illustrated guide for fermentation including recipes. Extends beyond vegetables into vinegars, condiments, meats and fish.
Foods, Ingredients and Starters
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