Fermenting food is an art form. It can take a little getting used to. Particularly the smells and sights of the fermenting foods and the concern that you are making some very unappetizing fermented food. But eventually, you can learn to make some tasty sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles by just using simple fermenting crock.
A fermenting crock can be functional appliance that can also add an attractive decorative appeal to your kitchen. If you have the right capacity and features, a fermenting crock jar can be a great way to add some variety to your meals. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the right fermenting crock for your family.
What is a Fermenting Crock?
Basically, a fermenting crock is a jar made of either stoneware or ceramic that you use to hold vegetables while they ferment. Often found in farmhouse décor or in antique stores, these crocks actually serve an important purpose in the kitchen. If you want to use a fermenting crock, there are a couple of types to choose from and several features to consider.
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Types of Fermenting Crocks
If you are looking for a traditional fermenting crock, open crocks are the ones that you will find at your grandmother’s house or the antique shops. These old-fashioned crocks don’t have a lot of features and are very easy to clean and use. An open crock is basically a large crock that does not come with a top.
If you end up with your grandmother’s open crock or you buy one at the local antique store, make sure you check it over for cracks and other issues since you need a non-cracked pot for safe and proper fermenting.
Typically, open crocks will come in either five, three, or two-gallon sizes, which will allow you to easily place a whole vegetable inside it for fermenting. Once it is filled, you can use weights or anything long and heavy to hold the food down under the brine. You can then use a cloth or towel to cover the fermenting crock, or you could buy a new lid to use on your open crock.
Not always easy to find, a water-sealed crock is designed with a lip that holds water. These crocks come with a lid that can fit inside the lip preventing outside air from getting into the crock after you pour water into the lip creating a seal. It does allow carbon dioxide to escape that is created during the fermentation process. This type of crock also comes with weights that are made exactly for the crock to create a perfect barrier.
Considerations When Choosing a Fermenting Crock
When choosing a fermenting crock, it is important to think about how you will use the crockpot. Think about the types of fermented foods that you plan to make and what quantities you will be making. This will help you decide on the capacity you need, which is dependent on whether you will be making small or large batches. You want to make sure you have the right tool for the recipe you are making.
Keeping food submerged in liquid or brine is the key to fermenting foods. So you need to make sure you have enough headspace, which is where the weight object will sit to keep the food submerged. The headspace is important for the creations of safe fermented foods.
It’s also possible that the fermented foods you are making will swell, and you will need space for that process to happen. Plus, if you use the fermenting crocks for other types of projects, you will need to consider how you will use it and what the food requirements are that you want to ferment.
Many of these fermentation crocks are pretty large and can become very heavy when they are completely filled. Some people have a designated spot for their fermenting crock, but if you don’t have a specified area, you may want to think about getting a small fermenting crock. A small crock can be great for a fermenting project since it is easy to lift and move in comparison to larger ones.
If you happen to have a productive garden, you can ferment your vegetables in small batches. When you need to move your crock, you down want to drop it or hurt yourself by carrying the crock and all that food at once. However, it can be expensive to buy several small crocks instead of investing in just one large crock.
It can be worth the extra expense of these small crocks if you use you use them often. And the easy maneuverability of a small crock is a big benefit along with the ability to make many batches of various fermented foods at the same time. Plus, it’s important to remember that the fermentation process may take several months to complete.
Always make sure that no matter what size fermenting crock you choose, that the counter or table you put it on will be able to hold its weight when it’s full. Fluid can become very heavy, and you won’t want the table the crock is one to collapse and the crock shattering.
Many fermenting crocks don’t come with stones or lids. These two features have many benefits since you will have everything you need for the fermenting process, so you won’t have to go out and buy extra items to use during the fermenting process. Also, a lid will keep dust and other airborne objects from getting inside the crock. Having a crock with a lid designed for it that fits well is ideal. This makes it easy to use and set up.
It is always possible to buy stones or a lid for a crock that you found in your grandmother’s kitchen or the local antique store. If you do find a crock without a lid, you can always use a dinner plate that is close to the size of the crock’s opening along with a stone that can keep the food weighted down and submerged. The rock should be wrapped in cheesecloth or white cloth before placing it on the food to keep it submerged. Then, drape the white cloth or cheesecloth around the crock and cover it. This is a traditional method that has been used for decades that definitely works.
The Best Fermenting Crock – Reviews
This compact crock features a German-style and a two-liter capacity. Ideal for fermenting sauerkraut, pickles, or kimchi, the Humble House Sauerkrock comes with weights, a jar, and a lid. This crock is a good option for beginners and those without a lot of storage options.
Using water sealing, which is a traditional fermenting method, the Humble House Sauerkrock is easy to fill up with water and then cover the contents with weights. This process seals out contaminants and dust to keep your food fermenting without any issues. Only eight inches tall and six inches wide, this crock makes up to four mason jars worth of sauerkraut, pickles, or kimchi, which should last the average person quite a few weeks.
This is a thick-walled and high-quality fermenting crock that only weighs 4.4 pounds making it easy to lift, even when it’s full. The pot also features a glaze the is cadmium and lead-free. Perfect for apartments or small houses, this is an easy to clean crock with just warm water and soap.
- This is a compact crock that is great for beginners
- It is easy to lift and store
- It does not contain cadmium or lead
- It’s too small for some users
- It doesn’t have a warranty
With a five-liter capacity, the Humble House Kombucha Crock is a great way to start brewing kombucha at home. This continuous brew crock is equipped with a plastic-free spigot and is made with 304 stainless steel. It also features a silicone washer that is BPA-free.
Capable of making up to 10 mason jars of kombucha with each batch, the Humble House Kombucha Crock has a glaze that is cadmium and lead-free as well as food-safe. This is the ideal crock size for a family of two to four people that like to drink kombucha daily.
Weighing only 6.35 pounds, it’s not too heavy when it’s empty, but it can become heavier for some users when filled. When you aren’t using the Humble House Kombucha Crock for kombucha, it’s also a great way to ferment vinegar. It does not come with a cover, which helps with the fermenting process, but you can use cheesecloth as a covering to allow the mixture to breathe.
The included spigot is not dishwasher safe, and it is recommended to wash it once a month with vinegar and warm water. The Humble House Kombucha Crock does not come with a warranty, but they do have a good customer service department that will work with you on any issues.
- It’s a great choice for anyone that brews kombucha
- This is a cadmium, lead, plastic, and BPA free product
- It can make up to 10 jars of kombucha with each batch
- It is only good for fermented liquids or kombucha
- It doesn’t have a warranty
Formed out of one piece of crockery, the Kerazo Keramik-German Fermenting Crock is a premium quality, German-made crockpot with a seven-liter capacity. Featuring a beautiful copper-speckled glaze, this is a cadmium and lead-free product that includes a deep gully design that creates tasty fermented food.
With two handles found on each side of the pot, this is an easy to lift and carry crock. Weighing just a little more than 10 pounds, it is very portable and easy to move around the kitchen. The Kerazo Keramik-German Fermenting Crock is a little taller than a typical fermenting crock, so make sure you have enough space for storage.
The Kerazo Keramik-German Fermenting Crock comes with weights that help to keep food submerged as it ferments. This sized crock is ideal for a family of up to four people. You can make up to six pounds of cabbage in one batch that will make tasty sauerkraut or kimchi.
- This is an easy unit to lift and carry
- It comes with weights
- You can make enough fermented food for up to four people
- It doesn’t have a warranty
- It may be too tall for some countertops
Compact and lead-free, the Ohio Stoneware Crock is a great option for anyone on a budget or just starting out with pickling. This crock will easily store in your pantry or on a countertop during the fermenting process. Weighing 12 pounds when empty, this is an easy crock to move around.
With a two-gallon capacity, the inside of the Ohio Stoneware Crock measures 8 ¾ inches allowing you to ferment an entire cabbage if you want. Offering great craftsmanship, this product is food-safe and uses a chemical-free glaze.
- It has a chemical and lead-free glaze
- This is a compact unit that still has a large capacity
- It is a great budget option for a small family
- It’s not a good size for fermenting large quantities
- It doesn’t come with a lid or weights
Available as a complete kit, the Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock has a three-gallon capacity that also includes weights, a lid, and a recipe book. Using a water trough design, this crock will keep your food safe while it ferments. This is a high-quality crock that includes small knobbed handles for easy lifting and carrying.
This Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock has plenty of room for lots of cucumbers and shredded cabbage. With its large capacity, you can make up to 22 regular sized mason jars and up to 11 quarts of sauerkraut in one batch.
Weighing 22 ¼ pounds, the Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock is a heavier unit that is durable and stable. With its complete kit design, this is a great option for beginners that gives you everything you need all in one package.
- It comes with a lid and weight
- This crock has easy to grip handles for carrying and lifting
- You can make up to 11 quarts of sauerkraut in one batch
- The six-inch opening is not large enough for some users
- Handles are not as large as some users prefer
With a five-liter capacity, the TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock features a gorgeous burnt sienna glaze on it’s exterior. This high-quality glaze he outside. The glaze is high quality and it’s lead and cadmium-free. This is a high-quality fermenting crock that is pretty affordable.
Featuring cupped handles, the TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock is easy to pick up and carry. The crock also has a glazed lip that stops moisture from the brine or water trough from going inside the ceramic. Only weighing 11 pounds, this is a lightweight crock when you consider how large it is.
The TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock uses a water trough design that ensures your food will stay safe. But, it does have a five-inch opening, which can make it difficult to get larger items or an entire head of cabbage inside the crock. However, it is able to make five mason jars of sauerkraut in one batch.
- It includes a lid and weights
- The crock has easy to grip cupped handles
- It’s a pretty affordable and lightweight crock for its size
- It has a small opening
- It doesn’t have a warranty
Equipped with a water-seal lid and weights, the Kenley Fermentation Crock Jar has a five-liter capacity and can hold up to eight pounds of cabbage. The included 12-inch tamper has a 1 ½ inch diameter that helps you pound down your spices and cabbage. This crock jar also comes with an informative user’s guide that is helpful to both beginner and veteran fermenters.
Weighing 11 pounds, the Kenley Fermentation Crock Jar has knobbed handles that help with carrying and lifting. The base is unglazed, so be careful that it doesn’t scratch your countertop. The manufacturer also offers great customer service if you have any issues.
- It comes with a tamper, weights, and a lid
- The included handles make it easy to lift
- It’s a great choice for beginners
- The unglazed base can scratch your countertop
- The handles can be hard for some to grasp
Nice quality and budget-friendly, the Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar comes with a pickle tamper, weights, and a lid. This is a great crockpot for those that want to create small batches or test out recipes. You can use it to pickle and ferment kombucha and vegetables or use it to make a sourdough starter.
This easy to use crockpot can be lifted from the bottom or with the included knobbed handles. It’s also small enough to sit on a trivet as it goes through the fermentation process. Using a water trough design, you won’t have any odor issues with this crockpot as long as you keep the trough full. The Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar has a great seal that lets out gas from the fermentation process as needed.
Only weighing five pounds, this is an easy pot to lift when full. It has a ½ gallon capacity and a natural glaze that is alkali and lead-free as well as non-toxic. Plus, the glaze on the Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar makes it super easy to keep clean in either the dishwasher or by hand.
- It can hold two mid-sized head of cabbage
- This crock jar uses non-toxic, high-quality glaze
- It comes with weights and a pickle tamper
- It’s not big enough for some users
- It doesn’t have a warranty
Large with thick walls, the Kerazo Keramik Fermenting Crock has a 10-liter capacity. This is a strong and durable crockpot that is well-worth its price. This high-quality pot has .4 inch thick walls and a .6-inch base that adds to its stability.
Offering a firm grip, the included handles make it easy to carry and lift the crockpot when it is full. With its large capacity, the Kerazo Keramik Fermenting Crock is able to handle up to 20 pounds of cabbage or eight entire heads. The included weights are a nice size that allows everything to stay submerged without needed cabbage leaves to sit under them.
This cadmium and lead-free crockpot also include a lid and a pretty speckled brown glaze that will add some style to your countertop. This is also a dishwasher safe product that is super easy to hand wash. The Kerazo Keramik Fermenting Crock is a well-made pot that does not have any places where food or mold can become trapped.
- This is a dishwasher safe crock
- It has a great build quality
- It can hold eight heads of cabbage
- There is no warranty
- It needs a large area for storage
Featuring a gorgeous brown design, the TSM Products Fermentation Pot has a five-liter capacity and only weighs 11 pounds. This lightweight crockpot is equipped with knobbed grips to make it easier to lift and carry. Its beautiful brown color is painted on instead of glazed making this a hand-wash only product.
The TSM Products Fermentation Pot comes with a lid and stone weights that you can place in the oven for up to 30 minutes using a temperature of 350 degrees or lower. This way the brine can rise up to the stone’s surface, which ensures they are cleaned. This process may have to be done several times to make sure the brine has been removed.
Perfect for families of four, this is an affordable fermenting crock that is also a good choice if you are a beginner or a veteran at the fermenting process. The TSM Products Fermentation Pot also comes with a one-year warranty that protects against defects.
- It has a one-year warranty
- This is a good option for a small family of four
- Both beginners and veterans’ fermenters will like this crock
- It isn’t glazed, so you can’t expose it to heat
- Over time, it develops small cracks
- Some may find it difficult to use the knobbed handles to lift the crock
How to Use a Fermenting Crock
An easy way to start canning, using a fermenting crock is not a difficult process to learn. First things first, though, make sure you learn safe preservation and safe canning methods before you start. Then, find the right type of fermenting crocks for the recipes you plan to use. Always wash your vegetables and clean out the crocks before you get started.
Dependent on the food that you are fermenting, you may want to ferment them completely whole, sliced, or chopped. The type of brine solution that you use will also depend on the amount and type of vegetables you want to use.
It is helpful if you find a good fermentation recipe book. Find an easy one to start with, and then make sure to follow the measurements. After you have the vegetables and brine in the fermenting crock, you can then place the weights on top of the vegetables to make sure all the vegetables are submerged completely.
When you use a water-sealed crock, you will need to add water to the lip before placing the lid onto the top. The water that keeps the seal will eventually evaporate, so you will need to check on it each day to see if you need to add more water to maintain the seal. When you use an open crock, just use a dish towel over the top as a lid. Also make sure to check on it every day to look for weight-shifting, mold, or moisture problems.
After a few weeks, the food should be fermented and ready for you to eat. Depending on the level of tanginess that you like in your fermented food, you may want to leave it in the fermenting crock longer. Try and taste the food to test it out after about 12 to 14 days to see if you want it to go longer or if it’s done depending on your own personal preferences!
Using a fermenting crock can be a game-changer when it comes to family meals. Just make sure you have the right type of crock jar, features, and capacity that can handle the recipes you plan to make to ensure that you can make those delicious pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut that your family loves.