Food fermentation supplies and equipment are more variable than jars and glasses. Move beyond your everyday jars. Historical pickle equipment, such as wooden barrels and antique earthenware crocks, are very useful.
Wooden pickle barrels
Wooden pickle barrels was popular and now many peoples want to try these barrels again. They have been used to make pickles for centuries.
In Japan, the okeyasan, or cooper, was an artisan who would fashion wood and bamboo into everything from small pickle barrels to towering soy sauce vats.
In Poland giant 5-foot-tall wooden barrels stored sauerkraut during the long cold winters. Slightly smaller barrels or crocks farmers used for cucumber or tomato pickles.
Commercial pickle companies in North America began replacing the old wooden barrels with new leak-proof plastic barrels during the 1970s. Many traditionalists will argue that pickles made in the wooden barrel were more flavorful. But to those in the industry, there are quite a few practical advantages to using plastic.
I am not a fan of using plastic barrels for pickles or plastic bag filled with brine to weigh down the plate. I try to keep the amount of plastic in my life, particularly around acidic foods, to a minimum.
There is evidence that the risk of botulism is exacerbated when a plastic container is used for fermentation fish and meat instead of the old-fashioned, traditional method, a grass-lined hole. Clostridium botulinum bacteria thrive in the anaerobic conditions and plastic containers are ideal for it.
Fermentation crocks – Food Fermentation Supplies
A fermentation stoneware crock with a gutter in the rim which is then filled with water also known as gärtopf crock or Harsch crock. When the top is put on and the rim which is filled with water an airlock is created. It prevents surface molds. With this crocks also use ceramic weights.
Earthenware or stoneware pickling crocks in North America were very popular. Many of us have at least seen a photograph of the multi-gallon earthenware or stoneware crocks used for home pickling. Before refrigeration, these crocks could be stored in cool root cellars away from contact with heat or light. It protects them from over fermentation or cooking. The mouth of the lid was often covered with gauze or linen and tied with a string to keep pests from creeping in. A plate was set over the mouth and a heavy can or stone kept it all in place.
You can find earthenware crocks at antique shops and occasionally if you are lucky, at flea markets and garage sales, or buy them new. Pickle crocks generally hold at least 1 gallon. Before you use the crock, make sure it is completely clean and free of cracks.
Victorian pickle castors
In the Victorian era, prior to refrigeration, condiments such as sweet pickles and East Indian relishes or chutneys were very popular in both England and the United States. Traditionally one or two beautiful glass or crystal containers were filled with homemade pickles and set in silver dishes. Pickle castors are a very beautiful food fermentation supplies.
They were passed politely at the dining table from guest to guest —just as salsas and ketchup are today. Victorian pickle casters are now an antique collector’s item.
Some are true works of art engraved with idyllic nature scenes, rimmed in silver, or with gold-plated handles and sometimes serving tongs or pickle forks attached.
An important fall tradition in Korea is gathering people together to make huge quantities of kimjang kimchi.
During this important social event, the kimchi is prepared and layered into celadon-glazed earthenware or wooden vases. Once the vessels are filled and covered, they are buried underground and left to ferment for at least a month in order to preserve the flavor throughout the winter months.
To make more common, everyday kimchi, it is not necessary to bury the kimchi or even use a specific kimchi pot—although there are some beautiful ones. Nonreactive glass bowls or earthenware pickle crocks will work just as well and take up less space in the refrigerator. If you have access to one, a Korean food retailer will sell every ingredient necessary for making kimchi.
And if you are ever in Seoul, visit the Kimchi Field Museum which has an extensive exhibit on the history and art of Korea’s most well-known and important food, and even a hands-on kimchi-making workshop.
Japanese pickle press
The tsukemono ki or pickle press is an indispensable kitchen tool in Japanese kitchens and famous food fermentation supplies for pickles and tofu. Once the vegetables are salted, the platform is screwed down, pressing the moisture out and away from the vegetables. Pickle presses are inexpensive and can be purchased from Japanese food retailers or from a variety of online stores.