Coming Soon – A New Fermentation Tool

Kraut Source Fermentation Tool - LivingHomegrown.com

Turning Mason Jars into Fermentation Crocks

Fermentation is not only a great way to preserve food. It is also a great way to add nutrition and probiotics to your diet.

Well last week, making small batch ferments just got easier.

You see, two friends decided to join forces and create a new fermentation tool. They set up a kickstarter campaign to help fund the building of it.

But what happened next went beyond their wildest dreams.

Surprisingly…They didn’t raise the $35,000 they were asking for.

No.

They raised over $184,000 and started a huge buzz among the fermentation community.

Here’s the story…

Kraut Source Jars - LivingHomegrown.com

Kraut-Source is Born:

Karen Diggs is a professional chef and nutritionalist who likes to ferment food. In fact, she likes to ferment a lot of food! And she teaches others how to do it too.

She was having trouble finding a fermentation crock that was small enough to sit on her counter and easy to use and clean.

So she turned to her engineer friend Eric Klien and together they designed a device that transforms any ordinary mason jar into a mini fermentation crock with a water moat and a cap.

Kraut Source - LivingHomegrown.com

How It Works:

The idea is so simple, it’s brilliant.

Take an ordinary mason jar, add a plunger with a spring and use the canning ring to hold on the lid (which is also a moat). Add water to the moat and BOOM!

You have a mini fermentation crock.

It is all stainless steel. No plastic.

The kickstarter campaign is over, but here is the short video showing how the Kraut-Source works:

Right after the kickstarter campaign ended (and I saw the astounding numbers), I contacted Karen to see if she was going to set up a way for others to order the Kraut-Source. She said they would start taking emails on their website. I waited until she had that all in place before posting here.

Karen says that they are going into production as soon as possible and they will begin shipping the finished product this fall. (Probably November)

How To Order:

They are busy working to fill the orders they already have and won’t be taking new orders for a bit. But if you would like to be notified about when they ARE open for business, go to their website and join their email list. They will keep you in the loop.

I ordered 4 Kraut-Source packages myself during the kickstarter. When Karen and Eric start shipping in a few months, I will write about it again here and I’ll also be doing a giveaway at that time. So stay tuned.

Do You Ferment Now? Do You Want To Learn?

Tell me in the comments!

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About the Author

Theresa Loe is the Co-Executive TV Producer and the On-Air Canning/Homesteading Expert for the national PBS gardening TV series, Growing A Greener World. She is a lifetime canner and a graduate of the Master Food Preserver Program. She studied both sustainable horticulture and professional culinary arts and she is a wrangler of chickens and two teenage children. (Not necessarily in that order.)

{ 43 comments… add one }

  • Sue Loucks August 30, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Fermenting always seemed to difficult. This new tool is going to make it easy for a novice like me to learn!

    Reply edit
    • theresa August 30, 2014 at 6:18 am

      I know it can feel intimidating Sue – like a crazy science experiment. But it can be fun once you know the basics. Yes, this tool will help a lot!

      Reply edit
    • Dawn August 31, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      I can never get my fermentations to work in a jar. I tried making sauerkraut 3 times and it has never worked. I wish I’d have known about this kickstarter too! I suppose I should start looking over there..

      Reply edit
  • Alisha L August 30, 2014 at 7:06 am

    This is a fantastic idea! I wish I had known about the kickstarter. I placed my name on the mailing list but I am hoping they are available before the holidays! I love kimchi and kraut…. Can’t wait to have an easier/attainable way to make it! My kimchi making has been hit or miss before and its always such large batches. I can’t wait to try this product!!!

    Reply edit
  • Judy August 30, 2014 at 8:17 am

    I like this idea and hope it catches on. I have been using airlocks from our wine making. I cut a hole on top of a canning lid the size of the airlock, fill the airlock with water and it starts to ferment. I would really like to try this new method, I need the airlock so I can make more wine.

    Reply edit
  • Jonathan August 30, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I’d like to see lab tests done showing that Lactic Acid Bacteria is truely being created which only grow in an anaerobic environment. The water seal is a great way of allowing that, but that’s not where I see the problem. The problem would be the connection sight between the mason jar and the stainless steel. It’s got nothing holding it with force or a seal to really keep oxygen out. That’s why I really like Pickl-it jars because they use Fido jars with the clamps and then add a water seal through the top.

    Reply edit
    • theresa August 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Hi Jonathan,

      I have pickl-jars too. Love them!

      I hear what you are saying, but having these tools is really a new thing. Fermentation has always been done with either crocks or just pushing down the food into the brine with something like a weighted plate and then covering the top with something like cheesecloth to keep the bugs out. The lacto-fermentation does take place in the anaerobic environment under the water. So the small amount of air under the lid of these mason jars is not an issue. Nor is it an issue that there is air under the lid of the airlock jars. But it is important for the food to be pressed under the liquid.

      Reply edit
  • Avis Peterson August 30, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I added to the mailing list, and I am totally jazzed to give this product a series of recipe tests. My two very heavy fermentations crocks did fine, but I do not like skimming the bloom off the surface. Also, I see the opportunity for much more variety of fermentations in a short amount of time! Ready to order ASAP!
    Cheers,
    izzi~avis
    http://looms4izzi.wordpress.com/category/blog-hop/

    Reply edit
  • Melody Canterberry August 30, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Looks very cool – I added my e-mail to their mailing list. How much do you think they’re going to cost?

    Reply edit
    • theresa August 30, 2014 at 9:39 am

      I’m not sure and they may not know for sure until they get them fully into production. But if I can find out, I will amend the post.

      Reply edit
  • Andrea August 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

    This is a perfect tool, that will hopefully reduce start up cost for new fermented food makers. I am the only one in my family who enjoys fermented foods so to make large batches means I have to eat large amounts or it goes to waste. I will invest in these when they become available!

    Reply edit
  • Virginia Jensen August 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I have never fermented anything (on purpose, at least). I just finished reading the section on fermentation in Michael Pollard’s “Cooked” and now I would love to try it.

    Reply edit
  • eleanorlebrecht August 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I am still a novice at fermenting foods on the counter top but I am enjoying the health benefits immensely. Do I understand that no matter what method we use, the product, kimchi, kraut, whatever has to be submerged under the water at all times even when using a jar top fermenter? Because I have been having to take the jar lid off with pickler top off skim and press down my kraut/kimchi. I am ready to just go it without the pickler top. Am I not making enough liquid?
    Any ideas on this?

    Reply edit
    • theresa August 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Yes, you want the food to stay submerged. On my other fermenters, I use some sort of weight: a little plate, a glass weight or even a plastic bag of brine will work.

      It could be that you need more brine. But I have found that some foods just want to float. So you just have to have something weight it down.

      Reply edit
  • Cheryl August 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I have not fermented yet because I feel I lack the space. Excited to see this product. I hope they ship to Canada.

    Reply edit
  • Cathy August 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    What a clever idea, I will wait for these and order. I hope they ship to Australia.

    Reply edit
  • Amber @ rick•a•bam•boo August 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try to make sauerkraut at home, but it’s intimidating. I think this looks amazing. I’m a bit bummed I missed the kickstarted, but I did join the mailing list so I can get one when they are available. This would make a perfect gift for my brother-in-law as well. I would love to know about canning fermented foods to be shelf stable.

    Reply edit
  • Alex August 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I thought stainless steel killed good bacteria?

    Reply edit
    • theresa September 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Hi Alex,

      Sorry for the delay in answering you – I have been filming in Seattle for the last week and this answer was too long to type into my phone while out in the field.

      I wanted Karen (the designer of the Kraut-Source) to answer this one.

      Karen says:

      First note that many beer makers use stainless steel vats in fermentation of their libations and beer making does depend upon lactobacilli proliferation. There are also many live-culture fermentors who use stainless steel vats to make sauerkraut and fermented beverages. (such as http://www.culturedpickleshop.com/ and many others)

      If stainless steel did kill off the good bacteria, then we simply could not have made any of our fermented food using Kraut Source. As the flavors, texture and lack of mold during the fermentation process (anywhere from several days to weeks), means that good lactobacilli microbes are at work to facilitate the transformation. Different strains of lactobacilli comes into play as the pH changes. If the stainless steel created a sterile environment, the vegetables would just become limp and would not have the incredible flavor profiles that we enjoy in lacto-fermented foods.

      So, no – the stainless steel does not kill the good bacteria. But that was an excellent question.

      Reply edit
  • Deborah Hill August 31, 2014 at 5:59 am

    id like to learn to ferment things

    Reply edit
  • Becky Neville August 31, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Yes! This is so wonderful!!!! Thanks for sharing :-D

    Reply edit
  • Caitlin August 31, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I was a part of the Kickstarter too! I can’t wait to get my tops. I’ve always done small batch, mason jar fermentation and I am so glad that someone finally came up with a simple tool to make it easier and more approachable. Maybe more people will try it out now!

    Reply edit
  • Dottie August 31, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Love it! Part of the 60s back to the land movement, I’ve been doing sauerkraut & pickles here on our homestead for decades , kimchi only for the past year. I’d like to try these lids out on 1/2 gallon jars ( quarts are too small around here). Getting my first real fermentation crock with a moat and getting away from plates & weights & cheesecloth was amazing! These should work great.

    Reply edit
  • Eleanor S. jenkins August 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Love this !! I will place an order.

    Reply edit
  • fire honey September 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    BUT ITS STEEL, WHICH WILL RUST IN SALT/VINEGAR WATER no matter how stainless! All fermentationists know that you can’t ferment in metal or allow metal to come in contact with your ferment… Excellent design, but it’s steel!!

    Reply edit
    • theresa September 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Hi Fire Honey,

      This is a common concern, so I am glad it was brought up. I wanted Karen of Kraut-Source to answer this one directly. Here is her response:

      Not all stainless steels are alike and this is where quality really does count. High quality stainless steel is okay in fermentation.

      Stainless steel pacifivates over time and will develop an even more corrosion free layer. As mentioned in the response to one of the other comments, wine makers and even beer makers use stainless steel vats for their primary fermentation. Wine is very acidic. In addition, practically all commercial restaurants store their foods in stainless steel containers.

      Here is a simple explanation on steel properties: http://metals.about.com/od/properties/a/Steel-Types-And-Properties.htm

      All of the Kraut Source parts are high quality stainless steel.

      Reply edit
  • j. debra halsmith September 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I grew up in a large family, the youngest, and my parents ALWAYS did sauerkraut, variety of pickles, other veggies and even crab apples!…EVERY Fall…fresh schtuff from our garden. My dad would take me when he made his yearly trip to the Wholesale Food Terminal to purchase several bushels of cabbage heads and onions. In the basement, my dad would shred the onions and cabbage on a large wooden mandolin, placing in huge crock pots, mixing in salt and some spices. Then place a wood board with a large rock on top to press it down. Then we waited. The smell in the basement of our old wooden bungalow seeped to the main floor. We certainly knew when it was ready! Oh my sure does make my mouth water just writing this down! ; )
    I’d ferment green & red peppers in mason jars as well as cabbage and cauliflower. After my kids left the house, my hubby passed away, I got a little lazy and would buy my fermented vegetables.
    Now living with my son and his family, they are into the fermentation process and are doing a great job. Even their 1.5 yo daughter, Reece, LOVES sauerkraut!!! Makes this grandma’s heart happy!

    Reply edit
  • Dea September 2, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I use a gallon jar with lid and wine bubbler system. I place it in a baking dish because as it ferments liquid comes out. Will I need to do this with your product as well?

    Reply edit
  • Pati Cook September 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Would love to see this type of lid for gallon jars too.

    Reply edit
  • Laura September 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I have not fermented before but have wanted to. I ordered 3 during the Kickstarter campaign. I hope you include these with you canning projects. I am really excited about it!

    Reply edit
  • Teresa Robeson September 3, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Hubby is from a long line (5th generation) of sauerkraut makers, so he does ferment, but this will be a very cool contraption to use for making small batches of kraut or pickles or kimchi (he currently makes kraut in 10 gallon crocks handed down to him). :)

    Reply edit
  • Jane September 3, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I am really excited about this idea, and I hope to see a larger size available soon! We eat a lot of kraut and like to make it in big pickling jars, so it would be fantastic if these were available in not only the wide mouth size (awesome), but also a large pickling jar size! TOO COOL!

    Reply edit
  • T Miller October 8, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I’ve been interested in trying fermentation for my health. Never sure if I had all the stuff to do it I think this would simplify the process a lot.

    Reply edit
  • Diane October 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I am so excited for this new product but have a question… I thought stainless steel inhibited proper fermentation?

    Reply edit
  • Diane October 8, 2014 at 8:55 am

    OOPs, I did not read previous comments before I asked my question…

    Reply edit
  • DMax November 2, 2014 at 5:02 am

    i would love to ferment small quantities of jalapeños!

    Reply edit

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