Project Season—Fermentation Gear To Fuel Your Pickles

| Written by Margot Mazur
Project Season—Fermentation Gear To Fuel Your Pickles

Spring is here and fermentation projects are afoot! Sourdough, pickles, koji, kimchi, tofu—there are so many exciting projects to start. Depending on what you’re working on, you’ll want to use different types of fermentation gear. Between ceramic, glass, and wood, deciding your vessel and supporting cast of gear is a major step of your project planning.

Earthenware is literally made for fermentation. It’s clay fired at fairly low temperatures. Its porosity allows air to pass through and circulate, creating the perfect environment for fermentation. This special property has been recognized for thousands of years, with ancient civilizations in China and India using earthenware vessels to ferment a wide range of foods and beverages since 7000 BC, including bread, beer, wine, and cheese. 

In fact, we’re named after an earthenware vessel! Onggi are Korea’s answer to earthenware fermentation, with gorgeous examples in almost every family home. Major plus—earthenware vessels can be huge! Think about all the kimchi you can make and share. Some of our favorite gifts were lacto-ferments made in our very own onggi crock

Wooden barrels can impact the flavors of your ferments depending on the wood you choose. Oak is the most common, with a natural resistance to water, its ability to be heated and bent into shape, and its strength. Wood barrels are also porous, allowing for micro-oxygenation which helps develop the flavor and maturation of your ferments. 

Glass offers a bit more control. Since oxygen doesn’t pass through glass and glass doesn’t impart its own flavor to your ferments, you’ll have more say over your projects. Classic canning jars are easy to find, and offer a ton of flexibility—you can ferment in ball jars and add pickle pipes, tough tops, kefir caps, whatever you need to keep your ferments safe and sound in their glass jars. 

These are our favorite vessels for all things fermentation:

Adam Field Pottery Onggi

A traditional-style Korean earthenware crock, or onggi, is an absolutely beautiful way to start your ferments. Onggi have been used for centuries in Korea, thanks to their unique micro-oxygenation capabilities. This single gallon onggi, made by ceramicist Adam Field, is a stunning example of how fermentation projects aren’t just practical—they’re beautiful too.

Onggi Fermentation Crock

Our very own onggi! This porcelain (clay based!) onggi is a perfect size for a pickle-loving family of two. It’s made locally in Scarborough, Maine by our friends C&M Ceramics. It also has a water well airlock—handy! Thanks to the airlock, there’s no need for fermentation weights, oxygen stays out easy-peasy.

Komon Wooden Shoyu Barrel

Japanese cedar barrels have been used for fermentation, adding complexity to soy sauces, rice wines, and vinegars for thousands of years! This gorgeous shoyu barrel by Komon is one that you’ll have for many years to come, and its similar to the ones our favorite soy sauce makers use in Japan. The longer you use it, the more distinct and deep flavor you’ll get.

Pottery Farm Wood Fired Crock

It’s the big boy—a four gallon stunning earthenware crock made locally in Knox, Maine. No two crocks are alike. They’re handmade and come in beautiful blues and greens. This crock is sure to stay in your family for generations. It’s a treasure that gives back.

Kawashimaya Japanese Cedar Koji Tray

Fermentation—advanced edition. Making your own koji is a major step up. Koji is rich in vitamins and probiotics, and is the first step in making your own koji rice for mirin and sake. This project is one that will catapult your knowledge of fermentation and significantly grow your ability to ferment all sorts of products in style.

Stone Creek Trading Wooden Cabbage Shredder

Who has the time to finely shred two to three cabbages? This gorgeous FSC certified poplar-wood shredder makes it super easy. It’s a delight to use, easy to sharpen, and makes the job go by in a flash.

Half-moon Earthenware Fermentation Weights

Keep your pickles safely in their brine lessening the risk of spoilage with these beautiful fermentation weights designed especially for crocks! These beautiful half moons are made locally by C&M Ceramics. 

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