Preserving food through fermentation is one of the oldest preservation methods and has made a big comeback over the last few years. Fermenters and homebrewers need fermentation jars, crocks and other equipment to practice their craft. Here’s a list of fermentation supplies that also make great gifts.
Supplies for Vegetable Fermentation
To successfully ferment vegetables you need a fermenting container, salt, and water. There are several different types of containers that can be used for fermenting; the most popular are fermentation crocks and mason jars.
Traditionally, vegetables were fermented in fermentation crocks. These are large ceramic crocks specifically designed to allow the gasses that accumulate during fermentation to escape while not allowing oxygen into the crock. They come in many sizes and are a great choice if you are going to ferment large amounts of one vegetable – sauerkraut for instance.
Fermentation Jars with Airlock
If you like to ferment a variety of vegetables, fermenting in mason jars is probably more practical than having multiple fermentation crocks. Mason jars are easy to come by and the wide mouth jars are perfect for fermenting vegetables. If you use mason jars, you’ll need a weight to keep everything under the brine and something to cover the jar.
I’ve tried various things over the years and have found that the Easy Fermenter lids from Nourished Essentials make my ferments much more consistent and easy to manage. The kit includes airlock lids, ferment weights, and a user guide with recipes – all you need is wide mouth mason jars.
One of the great things about fermenting in mason jars is that you can store the ferment in the same jar that you made it in – just change the lid to a storage lid. Now the fermentation lid is ready to use on another ferment.
A kraut pounder is a helpful tool to have when making sauerkraut. You can use it when mixing the shredded vegetables with salt to smash the vegetables to help them release their liquid. It will also help you firmly pack the vegetables into the fermentation container.
Books on Fermenting Vegetables
Books always make great gifts. Some of our favorite books for fermenting vegetables are The Rootsy Guide to a Year of Fermentation which has fermentation recipes for each season of the year.
Fermented Vegetables by Christopher and Kristen Shockey has a wealth of information and recipes on fermenting vegetables. They have another book, Fiery Ferments which focuses on hot sauces, kimchi, and other spicy ferments.
The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables has section on fermenting and quite a few recipes for fermenting vegetables. This book also covers canning, freezing, and dehydrating vegetables making it a fantastic go-to resource for preserving vegetables.
Supplies for Kefir and Kombucha Brewers
Brewing kefir and kombucha can be done in mason jars and you don’t need special lids for them. However, you do need starters.
Kefir starters are called grains and you can brew milk or water kefir. Milk kefir is similar to yogurt but it’s not as fuzzy. Water kefir is similar to natural sodas. Cultures of Health sells grains for both milk kefir and water kefir.
Kombucha starters are called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). You can get just the kombucha SCOBY or an kombucha kit that includes the gallon size mason jar you’ll need for fermenting.
Equipment for Mead, Hard Cider, and Wine Brewers
Just like with other ferments making mead, hard cider, and wine at home can be done with minimal supplies, especially if you want to make small batches.
A gallon jug with an airlock system and champagne yeast is a great way for beginner brewers to have successful brews. You could add some local raw honey and they would have everything they need to make a batch mead.
Do you have any favorite fermenting supplies or equipment that would make good gifts? If so, leave your suggestions in the comments.