May 21, 2013 in The Cultures and Equipment We Keep
Note from Shannon: I am pleased to bring the voices of our lovely contributors to this space every Tuesday. Please welcome Erin, CFH Customer Service Rep & cultured kitchen-keeper.
I like to keep things simple. Although I do love my kitchen gadgets, I don’t like them hanging out on my counter at all times. Okay… that may be a lie… my husband doesn’t like them hanging out on the counter at all times.
Luckily, most fermentation is simple and pretty on the counter! With just a few key items, you can have a fermentation party on your counter top without having to have (too many) specific tools for each type of product.
Mason Canning Jar
This is my number one favorite fermentation tool. I like them in all sizes but my favorites are the wide mouth pint, quart and half gallon sizes.
- The pint- Best used for making counter top yogurts like Filmjolk, Viili, and Matsoni. These are also great for fermented condiments.
- The quart- Amazing for small quantities of cultured vegetables, milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha. Larger portions of fermented condiments are also great in these. In the past I have used these for keeping my sourdough starters in!
- The half-gallon- Awesome for larger quantities of fermented veggies and water kefir. (I love to take a few hours every few months to make 2-3 batches of different cultured veggies in these half gallon jars. The 3 brightly colored jars look so pretty on my counter top while fermenting and then I have a few different veggies to choose from at each meal stored in the fridge for the next few months!)
My Food Processor
If you make cultured vegetables, I HIGHLY recommend a food processor. I would suggest getting one that has a slicing and a grating attachment and can handle large quantities of veggies.
- The slicing attachment makes sauerkraut a breeze! Slice the cabbage, salt it, massage it and cram it into your half gallon mason jar, and Voila! Sauerkraut!
- The grating attachment is wonderful for beet, carrot and other root vegetable ferments. I also like to use it when adding other veggies to my plain sauerkraut (like onions, carrots or apple.)
- The regular S blade is perfect for making fermented chutneys.
This is one of my specific fermenting tools that I love. I really enjoy the fact that it requires no electricity at all and ferments my 1/2 gallon of yogurt perfectly each time. You could also use it to ferment your counter top yogurts if your house is too warm or too cool and kefir works well in it too!
A lot of people are concerned about keeping their yogurt in it for 20+ hours since it is not electric, and I have found that it does make a wonderfully thick and sour 20 hour yogurt. It does need to be filled to maintain the temperature for that long, so I just make 1/2 gallon once a week.
Plastic Strainers In Two Sizes
I have a 1.5 capacity collapsable strainer as well as this 4″ plastic strainer.
- The first one is perfect for straining your milk kefir when your grains have gotten large enough not to fall through the holes. The thick kefir strains really quickly through this strainer with a gentle stir. You can also lay a cheese cloth or tea towel in this strainer to make thicker yogurt or kefir, to strain off the whey or even make yogurt/kefir cheeses!
- The second strainer is perfect for straining your milk kefir in the beginning when the grains are still very small. It is also perfect for water kefir. I use this strainer all the time for adding lemon juice (it catches the seeds) to my water kefir or straining anything that needs a fine mesh strainer!
Rubber bands and Cotton Tea Towels or Napkins
These come in handy all the time when making anything from water kefir and kombucha to sourdough or soaking nuts, seeds and grains. Just snap a rubber band and tea towel or napkin over the top of your bowl or jar and you are good to go.
That’s it! With these simple tools, you can make all my favorite ferments: milk kefir, water kefir, yogurt, fermented veggies and kombucha!
What culturing equipment is essential in your kitchen?