The Complete Guide to Selecting the Best Fermentation Crock
In recent years, fermentation crocks have become increasingly popular tools that home chefs and food hobbyists use to ferment vegetables, fruits and grains like sauerkraut, pickles and beer. But, with so many different types of fermentation crocks available, what really is the best one for the job? Here, we will guide you through all the important characteristics to consider when selecting the perfect fermentation crock for your needs.
What Is a Fermentation Crock?
A fermentation crock is a large, sealed container with a lid that is used to essentially pickle fruits, vegetables, and grains. The fermenting process happens in this vessel, which is usually made of clay, stoneware, plastic or wood. This anaerobic fermenting process creates a diverse range of probiotic-rich foods. By submerging the ingredients in water and locking out any air, the crock creates an airtight and moisture-rich environment that is ideal for lactic acid bacteria to thrive in.
Types of Fermentation Crocks
- Clay Crocks: Clay crocks have a beautiful aesthetic and add a rustic charm to your kitchen. Clay pottery is also an ancient tradition that has been used to preserve and ferment food for thousands of years. They are lightweight and durable, and come in a range of sizes to suit any need. The downside to clay crocks is their cost, since they are usually more expensive than other types of fermentation crock.
- Plastic Crocks: Plastic crocks are a more cost-effective choice and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They are lightweight and easy to handle, making them a great choice for those who are just starting out with fermentation. The downside to plastic crocks is that they tend to be less durable than other types of fermentation crocks.
- Stoneware Crocks: Stoneware crocks are the most popular and traditional type of fermentation crocks. These are the most durable and heavy-duty options and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While they are thicker and heavier, their extra weight helps to keep air out and moisture in. Stoneware crocks are an excellent choice for large batches of fermenting food.
- Wooden Crocks: Wooden crocks are also popular and come in a variety of designs and shapes. Their light weight makes them easy to handle and they have natural anti-bacterial properties. Wooden crocks are beautiful and have a rustic charm, but they need to be well-seasoned in order to create an effective seal.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Fermentation Crock
- Size: When selecting a fermentation crock, size matters. Depending on your recipe and the amount of food you’ll be fermenting, you’ll want to choose a crock that’s the right size for your needs. Look for a crock that increases in size as the volume of your ingredients increases.
- Weight: Lighter crocks are more convenient, as they are easier to move around and handle. But, if you are fermenting a large batch, it is best to opt for a heavier, denser crock that will keep air out and moisture in.
- Water Barrier: Fermentation crocks with a water barrier creates a seal which creates an anaerobic environment that is ideal for fermenting food. Look for crocks with an attached water basin or lid-activated water seal for the best results.
- Price: When it comes to fermentation crocks, there’s a wide range of pricing. Clay crocks are usually the most expensive, followed by stoneware, and then plastic and wooden crocks. Pick the one that best fits your budget but offers all the features and benefits you need.
So, when selecting the best fermentation crock for your needs, consider the factors above and decide which type and size of crock best suits your recipe. Keep in mind that more expensive crocks don’t necessarily mean better quality, so make sure to compare all the options available before making your decision.