Fermentation, a centuries-old way of preserving foods like vegetables, fruit, meats and spices, has become a popular trend for many home cooks. It’s easy to see why. With readily available fermenting crocks and lots of recipe books and instructional videos, making kimchi, sauerkraut and other favorite fermented foods is easy for anyone to do.
Fermented foods are also healthy, adding probiotics to our stomach to promote gut health, which is vital to our overall health and wellbeing. Fermenting crocks, sometimes called fermenting jars or containers, come in a variety of sizes and are made from different materials, so there’s something to suit most taste and needs.
We feature five fermenting crocks you can purchase online. Read on to find the one that suits you best.
Top Pick Best Overall: Humble House SAUERKROCK Fermentation Crock
You’re a traditionalist at heart and like to follow old-style techniques, especially when it comes to cooking and food prep. Recently you’ve been considering making your own fermented food and have been researching various methods.
If you’re looking for a traditional way to begin your fermenting journey, then you may want to consider this fermenting crock from Humble House. From sauerkraut to kimchi, this water channel crock jar will produce excellent results.
This fermentation crock is 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide, enough to ferment vegetables to store in up to 10 standard-sized mason jars per batch. The 1.3-gallon capacity jar is constructed of thick quality ceramic, is finished with a lead and cadmium-free food-safe glaze, and a water channel feature that seals foods from outside contaminants.
Versatile and easy to use, you can fill your fridge with German-style sauerkraut for layering on a bratwurst, kimchi, pickled cucumbers or any other vegetable. And for the truly adventurous soul, it’s possible to brew kombucha or grow a sourdough starter by swapping out the lid for a clean cloth.
This fermenting crock also comes with a solid Beech wood cabbage tamper and two heavy glazed weights.
- Traditional style ceramic fermentation crock
- 1.3-gallon capacity
- Lead and cadmium-free
- Comes with a wood cabbage tamper and two heavy glazed weights
- Water channel feature
- Top opening could be larger to fit larger hands
- Heavy at 10 pounds
Top Pick Best for Beginners: Mortier Pilon Fermentation Kit with 2L Glass Fermentation Crock
Most cooking and food prep techniques take time to learn before they can be done to perfection. Sometimes it’s a friend or family member who shows us the ropes, or it can be a book or YouTube video. If you’re just starting out on the home fermentation journey, then you may want to consider this fermentation kit that is perfect for beginners.
The kit contains a two-liter glass fermentation jar with a silicone sleeve, a lid for the jar, one ceramic weight and most importantly, a step-by-step instruction and recipe booklet plus access to a YouTube channel, free book and support help through Facebook.
The recipe book has 45 recipes on how to ferment a variety of foods, so this fermentation crock can be used to make sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and even mayonnaise, red curtido and kimchi baechu.
The steps to fermenting are easy: clean the crock with water and vinegar and dry overnight. When you’re ready to start, place the chopped food in the crock, pour in the brine and cover with the ceramic weight. Then put the ring in place, fill the barrier with water and cover with the lid. Leave the vegetables to ferment according to the recipe directions and when it’s done, enjoy right away or transfer into a mason jar and put it into the fridge for later.
When it’s all done, the jar is easy to clean; remove the silicone sleeve, hand wash with liquid soap and a sponge, then air dry.
- Comes with instruction booklet and recipe book
- Includes 2-litre glass jar, lid and one weight
- Small capacity
- Does not come with a tamper
- Do not use hot or boiling water
- Do not put into the dishwasher
Top Pick Best Versatile: E-Jen Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Container Probiotic Fermentation with Inner Vacuum Lid Round
You’ve watched your friends make delicious fermented foods but found the ceramic crocks they use to be too heavy. With this lightweight plastic fermentation container from E-Jen, there’s no need to worry about being able to carry it while it’s fermenting kimchi, pickling vegetables or making sauerkraut.
The makers of this fermentation container combine Korean earthenware principles with modern technology in the construction of this crock, using the highest quality polypropylene plastic. The adjustable inner pressing plate acts as a vacuum to minimize air seeping inside the container, promoting an ideal anaerobic state that benefits the growth of the probiotic lactobacillus.
While using this fermenting jar, you won’t have to worry about the odor from the interior infiltrating your kitchen or fridge, since the double lid-design contains and blocks odors. So versatile, this fermenting tool is food safe, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, microwave safe, heat and cold resistant and all materials are free from BPA, DEHP and lead.
- Lightweight at only 3.9 pounds
- Adjustable inner pressing plate reducing air from entering jar
- Double lid prevents odors from escaping
- Is BPA, DEHP and lead free
- Is made from plastic
Top Pick Best Fermenting Lids: Nourished Essentials Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit
If you have spent years using a fermenting crock or fermenting vegetables directly in mason jars, then you’re familiar with how messy it can get. With mason jars, it’s the need to burp the lids to release oxygen. With a crock, sometimes water can drip from the crock lip, or when oxygen sometimes seeps into the container, ruining the final product.
We included this product in the list because although it doesn’t include a fermenting crock, container or jar, it provides air-tight and foolproof lids that fit on standard mason jars for anyone who prefers to ferment foods in smaller quantities directly into the jars.
The lids in this fermenting kit have a waterless airlock valve that lets carbon dioxide out, but stops oxygen, mold and bacteria from getting in and are made from stiff, durable plastic with a thick, leak proof gasket. They let gas escape but keep mold and bacteria out. These lids never have to be burped and you won’t have to deal with messy water airlocks.
There is also a built-in date dial on the lid to keep track of the fermenting time. No need for labeling; just set the dial and go. As well, purchasing this package gives you lifelong access to a fermenting club where you can find recipes, detailed e-books and video guides, and even ask questions to fermentation experts.
The kit comes with a vacuum pump, or oxygen extractor, so you can test the ferment without disturbing the anaerobic environment or risking contamination of the food, plus you can remove air if necessary. The three lids are compatible with wide mouth mason jars from makers such as Kerr, Bernardin, Kilner, Orchard Road, Jarden, Quattro Stagioni, Golden Harvest, Atlas, Legacy and more.
- Airtight lids for foolproof fermenting
- Lifetime access to fermenting club
- Food-grade material and BPA free
- Built-in time tracker
- Integrated easy-release tab
- Does not include jars
Top Pick Best Glass: iFlower Fermenting Jar
Heavy ceramic fermenting crocks are great, but you can’t see inside to see how the fermenting process is faring. And while using mason jars gives you that see-through ability, the smaller sizes can limit the amount you can make at one time.
This one-gallon traditional fermenting jar is made of soda lime glass that is durable and won’t easily crack or break while being beautifully transparent so you can keep an eye on the contents.
This traditional design uses a simple water airlock system so there are no plastic or rubber gaskets to fuss with. The water creates an airtight seal around the base of the cap so naturally occurring gasses can escape, but air cannot enter the jar.
The spacious, wide mouth is convenient for packing a large quantity of fruit, vegetables, meat, herbs and spices in the jar. It’s also easy to fit your hand inside the jar to clean the interior with soapy water and cloth or a brush after each use.
- Made from durable soda lime glass
- Transparent to see the progress of the fermentation
- Uses a simple airlock system
- Large, wide mouth
- One-gallon capacity
- Some foods may need a weight, which is not included
Things to look out for:
Consider these factors when choosing a fermenting crock:
Type: There are two main types of fermenting crocks, or containers – open crocks and water-sealed crocks.
Open crocks: These are more traditional-looking crocks, often made from ceramic, and are just a large, open crock with no top. It’s easy to put food in, and it’s easy to clean. They are usually heavy and come in two, three and five-gallon sizes, so you would choose the size that suits your specific needs.
An open crock requires a lid or cover and weights, which you would purchase separately. So, after filling the crock with whatever food you are fermenting, you need to put in a weight. You can use an actual fermenting weight, or anything from your kitchen as long as it’s clean and heavy, since the food needs to be kept under the brine. As for the lid, you can purchase one to fit the crock, or you can cover it with a towel or a cloth.
Water-sealed crocks: These fermenting containers are constructed with a lip to hold water, and a lid that fits inside to prevent outside air from entering the crock after you pour water into the lip and create a seal. At the same time, the carbon dioxide that is created during fermentation can still escape. These crocks usually come with weights that are made specifically for the crock, which can be an advantage.
Size: The size of the fermentation crock you choose will depend on how much food you want to ferment at a time. Some people who are making small batches prefer to use wide-mouth mason jars, but if you are going for bigger batches, the general rule of thumb is if you are fermenting five pounds of fresh veggies, you’ll need a one-gallon crock; 10 pounds of food, a two-gallon crock; and 25 pounds of food, a five-gallon fermenting container.
Accessories: As mentioned above, depending on what kind of fermenting crock you choose, you may or may not need some accessories. For example, for an open crock, you may need a lid and a weight, while a closed crock already has a lid. It may not have a weight, so consider that when looking at different products. As well, some products include a wooden tamper that can be really helpful when compressing the vegetables in the crock or jar. While this accessory is not vital, it is a useful tool that you can buy separately, or have included in a kit.