to educate, inspire and equip the urban homesteader

Using your FARMcurious Fermenting Set

June 2, 2013

ReCAP Fermenting Set with Stopper and Airlock300Thanks for purchasing a FARMcurious Fermenting Set!  These instructions will help guide you through using and enjoying your set.

1) Wash the ReCAP lid in warm, soapy water and rinse well.

2) Open the flip-top lid on the ReCAP and insert the rubber stopper into the hole. Insert the narrow end of the airlock into the top of the stopper.

3) Remove the airlock lid to fill the airlock to the etched line (or about halfway) with water and replace the lid.

4) Wash with warm, soapy water any canning jar with the size opening that matches your ReCAP lid (regular or wide mouth).

If using non-shredded vegetables like carrot coins or coarsely chopped or whole produce…ad the produce to the jar and pour over it 1 cup water with 1-3 tsp sea or kosher salt dissolved into it.

If using shredded produce (like cabbage for sauerkraut)…add the salted chopped produce that you’ll be fermenting and pack down tightly. If the brine extracted from the produce by the salt doesn’t rise up to cover the produce you can add brine made up of one 1 TB Kosher salt to one cup of water. Please see this note about using a weight with shredded produce.

5) Leave one inch of space between the top of the brine and the top of the jar. Screw the ReCAP Fermenting Set to the top of the filled jar and leave in a cool dark place for several days to several weeks to ferment.  Within 24 hours you should usually see bubbles rising to the top – this is carbon dioxide produced during fermentation.

6) Wait 4-7 days then taste the product periodically to get a sense of how long to ferment it – it will become more sour and less crunchy with time. The key to excellent fermentation is cool and slow, which is why many people keep fermentation vessels buried in the ground or in root cellars. When the acidity and texture have reached your preferred level, remove the stopper and airlock, close the ReCAP lid and store in the refrigerator where it will keep for many months.

In warmer temperatures, fermentation will go faster (taking 3 days to 4 weeks) while it will go more slowly in cooler temperatures, taking 4-8 weeks.


Onions in ReCAP300Process for Basic Fermenting:

Here is a basic recipe that you can use and adapt to your taste.

1) Slice 1 lb produce to the thickness you prefer and add to a mason jar.

2) Combine 1 cup water with 1 TB Kosher salt and pour over the produce, leaving 1″ of space between the top of the brine and the top of the jar.

4) Optional: Use a large piece of produce like a whole cabbage leaf or onion layer to keep the veggies submerged under the juices (read this note about weighting shredded produce).

7) Apply ReCAP fermenting top using instructions above

8) Store in a cool place or at room temperature & taste after several weeks.  You might prefer it after 5 weeks or more!  Cooler temps ferment more slowly & create more mellow flavors and crisper texture

9) Eat or refrigerate once it reaches your preferred level of sourness and crunch


Preserved Lemons300Some particularly tasty combinations:

  • Carrots with ginger
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots with garlic and basil
  • French breakfast radishes with carrots
  • Mixed red with green cabbage
  • Apples with cabbage and ginger
  • Beets, radishes, carrots
  • Red onions with one or two bays leaves and four peppercorns
  • Green cabbage with seaweed (cut up small and soaked in warm water at least 30 min)

See our growing collection of recipes here.

Purchase more FARMcurious Fermenting Sets here.

Read this note about weighting shredded vegetables.


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  • While it’s true that the basis of fermenting is adding salt to cut up meat or produce, submerging under brine then weighting and waiting, there are lots of ways to finesse the process to yield superior results. Here are our recommendations.

  • I have never ordered coleslaw in a restaurant or made it myself at home, and cabbage is definitely not at the top (or even at the bottom) of my grocery list. Cabbage is like the Ugly Duckling of the vegetable kingdom; the socially awkward kid you used to say hello to in the hallways at school just to be polite; the stinky and inexpensive last-resort foodstuff; the least glamorous item in the produce aisle. No seriously, Dana– tell me how you really feel.

  • I purchased one of these gizmos at the makers fair In San Mateo. Right now I’m fermenting cocoa beans with it. First time it does not look like a moldy yuckiness. I just ordered of a few more, so I can run some experiments and I’m not limited to one gizmo.

  • This looks great. I’m wondering if there’s something inside the jar to help weigh down the fermenting ingredients? Thanks.

    • Hey there Reb! That’s the beauty of this set – because the airlock keeps the nasties out of the ferment, you don’t actually need to keep the produce submerged under brine. Think of the airlock as functioning as your brine!

      • Ah got it! Thanks for explaining that. I have a lot to learn about fermentation.

      • How high up can you fill the jar with vegetables and brine? I did the method today where you put the cabbage in a bowl with the salt and squeeze until the juices have come out and is reduced by half. I filled the jar up to within an inch of the top. Could I have filled it higher? Does water need to be put in the air lock right away? Thanks.

        • Depending on the size of the jar I think between 3/4-1″ is about right. Yes, definitely put water in the airlock right away.

          • I forgot about putting water in the airlock and remembered several hours later. Should it be okay, anyway? Do I need to put a folded cabbage leaf or plate on top of the brine? I tried that but the cabbage came right to the top of the reCAP lid. It didn’t seem right so I took it out. The cabbage is covered with brine. Would brine be better to use than water or is there no need for that? Sorry for all these questions but it is my first time and I am unsure.

          • Several hours won’t make a difference with the airlock – several days would. Sauerkraut is the only thing I’ve had mixed results with as far as keeping it under the brine – sometimes I use a cabbage leaf if it will fit and that seems to help. If your shredded cabbage is mostly under the brine and there’s not more than an inch of space between the top of the brine and the jar rim, you should be fine without the leaf.

  • I tried my first two two ferments, neither produced anything but salty soggy cabbage and gherkins, which i was afraid to even try because they were exuding streamers of white nastiness.
    any suggestions? i hate throwing money away and would hate to throw even more away by not using these sets.

    • Hi Bradly,

      I’m so sorry to hear your first try didn’t work out well. If you’re a super beginner, I can’t recommend enough starting with one of the recipes in the included booklet. They’re super simple and there’s not much that can go wrong. The two things you chose to start with are two items that can have some issues. Here are some trouble-shooting thoughts:
      1) Cucumbers need to have the blossom end trimmed to avoid getting soggy. It’s also a good idea to add something with tannins like a grape leaf or black tea bag to keep them crisp.
      2) If your cabbage was shredded, please read this post about why shredded vegetables should be treated a little bit differently than others in an airlock system:

      Again, try the recipes we provided and see how those turn out first. They’re a great leaping off point for other ferments.
      Thanks and good luck!

    • I’m trying shredded cabbage and kale right now. From what I read online, if it tastes salty, it isn’t done. The Lactic Acid Bacteria basically “eat” the salt, so, if you taste salt, they’re still eating. Also, shredded cabbage apparently takes much longer than other veggies.

      • It’s still going to taste salty, but the acidic taste and the other complicated tastes will mostly overpower that. (Unless, of course, you use way too much salt, like I did in my first batch, because I got overconservative about the bit of white mold I was seeing :-) But even then, my first batch of sauerkraut definitely tasted like the real thing, just with too much salt, rather than tasting like raw cabbage. We’ll see how the next batch does.

  • I’m making my first attempt at fermenting and have a question about the airlock. The instructions state to replace the little cap on the airlock after adding water, but should the cap be a little loose so the gas can escape?

    • The cap has some little holes in it so you shouldn’t need to loosen it–gas should be able to escape. Good luck!