I though I’d post about my two fermenting tools. You can spend a lot of money buying ceramic crocks for hundreds of dollars. And yes, I’d love to! However you can get started more easily with some cheaper gear. The Masontops Fermentation Kit is an excellent way to get started. You get 4 plastic breathing lids (pickle pipes) that fit on the top of a large Mason Jar – the kind that you can buy in Spotlight and other places. The lids have cross-cut that acts as a valve to release gas as the food ferments. The kit also contains four glass weights (pickle pebbles) to hold the fermenting food beneath the liquid, and a wooden tamper for crushing your vegetables before you pickle them.
The best thing about this is that you can buy standard Mason jars. I’ve used this kit to pickle all kinds of foods. And you can buy additional pickle pipes and pickle pebbles to pickle your peppers! Or get just a single pipe/valve and glass weight. Amazon sells it too. The kit comes with some recipes to get you going.
The second bit of gear is this fermentation tub from Green Living Australia, from whom I also get cheese supplies. While the kit comes with some culture to assist fermentation, you don’t have to use the culture. The tub has an inner removable grate that holds the food beneath the liquid, and a valve on top to release gas. There’s a second flat lid so that when the food is ready, you can remove the valve lid and put the food into the fridge.
Again, I’ve used this for fermenting various vegetables – cabbage, carrots, onions, chillies, cucumbers, squash.
The website tells you how to get started.
My recent lacto-fermented chillies were made in this tub in just over a week.
I now have three books about fermentation:
Asian Pickles – brilliant and an easy place to start. Many of the recipes don’t require special gear.
The Noma Guide to Fermentation – hard core and good recipes
The Art of Fermentation – also hard core and more theory than recipes