Best Fermenting Starter Kit Out There! (Makes a Great Gift for the Health Conscious, Too!)
Oh, no! That Mason jar lid on my latest ferment looked pretty "bulgy," like it just might blow off! Or explode the glass! When I touched it to see if I could press it down at all, that was a big fat, "NOPE." It was as hard as a rock. NOT good.
You see, as I walked into the kitchen that afternoon after a long day away, and I noticed this bulging lid on one of my ferments, I knew I had to take action quickly. The gas has built up in that jar to the point that there could potentially be a dangerous explosion and most definitely a messy problem.
When you don't have some kind of airlock on your fermenting vegetables, fruits, beans, etc., you must take the time to "burp" your jars. At first, you may need to burp them two or even three times a day. Then as the fermentation process continues for several days, you'll not need to burp them as frequently. Burping your jars simply means that you open the lid slightly and allow the pent up gases from the ferment to escape from the jar.
But with an airlock, this is not necessary! The airlock allows the gases to escape while not allowing any oxygen into the jar. Lacto-Fermentation is a process that requires absolutely NO air get to the fermenting foods, or you risk the "bad guys" getting into your ferment (molds, killer bacteria, etc.).
I have been fermenting foods for a very long time. Most of the time, I just use a Mason jar with it's normal lid and burp it several times a day....BUT what a PAIN that is! First off, you have to be home to monitor it. Second, if you forget, you could have a problem. So, I have been planning on getting a proper airlock set up for some time, now. I've just been putting it off.
When Matt over at Fermentools sent me his fermentation starter kit, I was thrilled! What's this? An airlock? With a stainless steel Mason jar lid made to fit on a wide mouth Mason jar? I was in HEAVEN! What this meant for me was....NO more burping! NO more worries about exploding glass Mason jars! NO more messes as the fermenting liquid foams over the container while burping. YES! My day was made!
I immediately set out to use that cabbage I had picked out of the garden earlier that day to make sauerkraut (because I LOVE my sauerkraut) and get started testing out my new Fermentools starter kit!
Note: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article, and if you click through and make any kind of purchase, I'll receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping Healing Harvest Homestead--Heidi
In the spirit of full disclosure, I was given a Fermentools Starter Kit in exchange for writing this article. All opinions are my own and are my honest feelings about this kit. Heidi
What I Love About the Fermentools Starter Kit
1) It comes with almost everything you need
The Fermentools starter kit comes with salt, a sturdy glass weight, an airlock & bung, and a stainless steel lid and gasket made for a wide mouth Mason jar. The only things you'll need to add are the Mason jar and the veggies you want to ferment.
2) The airlock & stainless steel lid
OK. I am officially spoiled. No more burping my jars! Hallelujah! Besides that, the stainless steel lid will not rust and is not affected by the acids in the ferments.
3) The salt
This salt is SPECIAL. First of all, it's mineral rich pink Himalayan salt, with over 80 trace minerals! But on top of that, it is so finely ground it pretty much dissolves into your water for the brine right away. This makes it easy to make a stronger brine, if you wish. I'm used to just adding regular finely ground sea salt, which is fine---but it doesn't always dissolve easily. The salt that comes with this kit is really nice to use.
The other thing I love about the salt is the packaging. On the label, there are directions for how to make various strengths of brine with both standard measurements and metric measurements. So, if you are scientifically inclined to do your ferment with mathematical precision, you have some excellent guidelines here.
4) The weight
This sounds silly, but I love the weight, too. It fits perfectly into the wide mouth of the Mason jar, and you get the head space just right, it's pretty impossible for any little floaties to get to the top of the liquid between the jar and weight. Plus, it's pretty. It's made of soda lime glass and is the perfect weight and thickness.
The weights I've been using are varied. I use boiled rocks (pretty primitive, I know), and some ceramic weights I purchased years ago. They have a little hole in them so you can easily get them out, but what often happens is I'll have small particles of vegetable matter floating up through the hole as the ferment bubbles. Not ideal. That doesn't happen with this glass weight.
5) The price
The price for the starter kit is between $22 and $26, depending on whether you purchase it on Amazon or from the Fermentools website on a special. If you were to purchase all the pieces separately, you would spend more than that amount. It's a great price for a gift to a person who may be interested in beginning their fermentation journey and a healthy life style.
If you wanted to buy the perfect gift set for the new fermenter, you could get this starter kit, along with a great resource like Sandor Katz's The Art of Fermentation or Wardeh Harmon's Idiot's Guide to Fermentation (or both!). If you added a few Mason jars and package it up in a nice basket, it's a great gift!
What Could Be Improved
Honestly, I just think this is the perfect starter kit for lacto-fermentation. With my makeshift experiences in the fermentation realm as a beginner many years ago, I can see where having this kit to start out with would give the person new to fermentation some real advantages, and they'd be more likely to stick with it!
If you want to give a caring health conscious gift to a friend, or if you are new to fermentation yourself, I really think this is a great way to get started!
I'm so glad Matt at Fermentools sent me this starter set to try out. I feel that my own personal fermentation skills will actually improve simply due to using the airlock and improved salt. I'm excited to start experimenting with the brine percentages too!
OH! And by the way, that sauerkraut I fermented with this kit? It turned out BEAUTIFULLY! :-) It's time to make some more!
Have you ever tried fermentation? If not, you might be interested in taking a look at these articles: Fermentation: What is It and Why Do It?; How to Ferment Cranberries; How to Make Green & Red Fermented Tomato Salsa, and lots more on the website! Just search "ferment."
Hey, if you have any questions, comments, or want to share your experiences with the community, please leave a comment in the comments section! I appreciate you!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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