Disclaimer: I received a starter kit to review from Fermentools and they sponsored a giveaway of this product. However, all opinions are my own.
Fermentools Starter Kit Makes Fermenting Easy
I recently tried out the Fermentools Starter Kit created by Matt Gross, founder of Fermentools. I made one quart of Spicy Carrot-Kraut using the starter kit, along with my own quart-sized canning jar. It was super easy to do and I liked using this system better than my large crock or glass bowl that I’ve used in the past.
- The Fermentools fermenting system allows you to make small batches in canning jars that are easy to transfer to your refrigerator or a cool spot when the food is ready to eat.
- The stainless steel lid works much better than a regular canning lid because it won’t react with the brine solution. It will not create a metallic flavor in your food and it won’t oxidize as the fermentation process is underway.
- The rubber ring allows for a tight seal between the jar and the lid and can be washed and reused indefinitely.
- I really liked the heavy glass weight for keeping food under the brine solution. In the past, I have had difficulty finding a weight that is the right size and made of non-reactive material, so the glass weight is a great addition to the kit.
- One of the really neat things that I found helpful in this kit is the conversion charts included on the package of salt. One chart tells you how many grams of this salt you will need to create a 2%, 3.5%, or 10% brine solution. The other chart gives the number of teaspoons or tablespoons of salt in a gram. This is great news for people who don’t have a food scale and are concerned about getting the brine solution correct for their recipe!
Fermentools Starter Kit – Contents
The Fermentools Starter kit comes with a one pound package of Ancient Himalayan Salt, airlock, stainless steel lid, rubber stopper, rubber gasket, rubber ring, and glass weight. A handy booklet is also included with instructions for assembling the kit for use, instructions for fermenting your foods, and recipes.
- You will need your own wide mouth canning jar for your fermentation vessel. You may use a pint, quart, or half gallon glass jar. I found the quart size worked great with this kit. Wash the jar thoroughly in hot, soapy water before using.
- Prepare your food by chopping, grating, or pounding to help release the juices. Add the required amount of non-iodized salt and mix well. (The Ancient Himalayn Salt included in this kit has two very valuable charts that will make your life much easier when figuring out the amount of salt to use. It is important to note that the charts apply only to this particular salt. If you are using salt that you have supplied, you will need to weigh the salt on a food scale if your recipe uses grams or a percent solution.)
- Spoon the prepared food into your jar. Press the food down until the brine solution is covering the surface of the food. Add the clean glass weight from the kit and press down so that all food is below the brine solution.
- Wipe the rim clean. Place the Fermentools fermenting system on the jar in the following order: Rubber ring, stainless steel lid, screw band from canning jar to hold lid in place, rubber gasket into hole in the lid, and air lock into rubber gasket. Fill the air lock half full of water.
- Place your fermenting jar at room temperature in a dark place. Sunshine can kill the bacteria and prevent fermentation. Allow to ferment for a week or more. When food reaches the flavor you like, move it to a cool place to slow the fermentation process.
- Some Notes: If you need to add water to your vegetables to produce enough brine solution to cover the food, be sure you are not using chlorinated water straight from the tap…it will kill the bacteria. It would be best to buy bottled water or boil the chlorine off for 10 minutes before using.
Thoughts on Using the Fermentools Fermenting System
I will admit that I wasn’t sure if I would use this kit for fermenting foods on a regular basis. After all, I’ve been fermenting without any special tools for a couple of years with good results. However, now that I have used this system, I can say that I like it much better than a DIY jar set up, crock, or a glass bowl…and here’s why:
- Saves Space – I don’t always want a big batch of fermented foods and the quart size is easier to store than a big glass bowl. Plus, these kits take up very little space when they are not in use, unlike a big crock or many of the other fermenting systems on the market.
- Less Mess – My glass bowl handed down from my Mother in Law fit a nice sized batch of pickles or other fermented food, but I always ended up with brine solution wicking out of the bowl from the plastic wrap under the weight. With this kit I don’t have to clean up brine solution every day!
- No Worries – With the old crock or glass bowl I was checking several times a day for veggies that had worked their way to the top and were coming in contact with the air. With this system I could see through the jar easily to make sure the handy glass weight was keeping all the veggies tucked safely into the brine solution.
- Easy to Store – Now, I love my old crock and glass bowl…but when I had a finished batch I had to dip the veggies out into a canning jar to store them in the refrigerator or a cool spot in the basement. With this system, all you need to do is remove the fermenting kit from your canning jar, put a new lid on, and store it!
- Reasonable Price – When you compare this fermenting system to the cost of a crock or some of the specialty fermenting jars available online, you will see that the cost is much more reasonable. You probably already have some canning jars on hand to complete your fermenting set up and you’ll be up and running after making a small investment.
- Longer Lasting – I had a comment on Facebook about making your own fermenting kit with canning lids and an airlock from the homebrew store. Sure, you could do that. But you will find that those canning lids will rust and may cause discoloration and off flavors in your foods when they start to oxidize. The stainless steel lid in this system will last forever without causing any off flavors or unappetizing colors in your food.