Fermentation Vessels

Posted on Saturday, August 29, 2015 | By Nicole Easterday |

Lactofermentation can be done in almost any type of vessel. Here are some options:

Open Systems:


Traditional Crock:

The traditional way to ferment is in a large crock. The produce is submerged under a brine and held down by a weight. The brine keeps the produce safe under the salt solution but anything that floats to the surface will fall prey to mold, which needs to be skimmed regularly from the top. A mesh cover should be secured over the top to keep out flies or other pests.

Mason Jar:

People have begun using Mason Jars or similar glass jars in place of the larger crock to allow them ferment smaller batches. Smaller batches are great because they allow you to test recipes or experiments that you might not have wanted to do in a full-size crock. Because this is still an "open system" (with no airlock) you'll need to apply a weight to keep the fermentation below the brine level at all times. Just like in the crock, anything that sticks up above or floats on top of the brine will be subject to mold so you have to be very cautious about keeping everything submerged.

Closed System:


Airlock System:

The FARMcurious Fermenting Set is an example of an airlock set which attaches to the top of any size mason jar. The airlock with a water barrier allows the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation to escape but keeps yeast and mold from the environment from spoiling your creation. Because this is a closed system it reduces the chances of yeast and mold entering your food and takes out the yuck factor.

In this type of system, it's not actually imperative to keep all pieces below the brine level. As long as you keep the head space - the space between the top of the brine and the very top of the jar - around 1", the carbon dioxide produced fermentation will rise up to the top pushing out any oxygen that remained in the headspace. Because yeast and mold need oxygen to grow, they will not be able to develop in an airlock system, allowing you to forgo using a weight. The only exception is if you're fermenting shredded vegetables. You can read more about that here.