Home made fermentation jars

Since starting the Paleo diet one of the things that has intrigued me the most is the importance of eating fermented foods. Up until starting Paleo I couldn’t tell you when the last time I ate something fermented was, sure alcohol is fermented – and most of us enjoy that every once in a while – but I couldn’t remember the last time that I actually ate food that was fermented. I occasionally bought sauerkraut from the supermarket but that is often Pasteurised after the fermentation process, thus killing the live bacteria that will be beneficial for us.

So I decided to make my own kimchi, a Korean dish of fermented cabbage, by following the recipe on Mark’s daily apple, so my gut could benefit from all the healthy live bacteria. The recipe is quite simple (so long as you can find a Korean supermarket to buy ingredients) and once made the kimchi is left to ferment for a few days in a jar covered with cling film. As food ferments it releases carbon dioxide and other gasses so it cannot be kept in an air tight jar; but we also need to stop any foreign particles from entering as that would cause spoilage and potential health risks – cling film is a reasonable compromise but it’s just that, a compromise. The obvious solution to this problem is some sort of valve system, so I started Googling to see what I could find. Well, It wasn’t long before I found instructions on how to make a home made fermentation jar which seemed both simple and inexpensive. All that is required is a Kilner / Mason style jar that has a two-piece screw lid, a brewers air-lock with grommit & some food grade lids that are suitable to be drilled (and the same diameter as your jar).

I already had the jars & I have a home brew shop within walking distance so the air-lock & grommit were easy to find. It was only the lids that proved a problem so it was back to the Internet again. Thankfully the people at Tattler, (who sell BPA-free reusable canning lids) were extremely helpful and sent me some over from the US – finally I had everything that I needed!

The procedure to make the fermentation jars is simple:

Firstly  – Drill a half inch hole into the lid with a ‘flat wood drill bit’

Secondly – Insert the grommit, this can be a little fiddly but patience is a virtue.

Finally – Screw on to the jar  and push the air lock valve into the grommit

For those who have any concerns about potential health aspects of the lids please have a look at Tattler’s web site for safety information. Also it is advisable to use a food grade grommit.


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6 Responses to Home made fermentation jars

  1. Marcus July 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Cool stuff. :)

    • Peter January 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Just the article I was looking for!

      I’ve read on another website someone referring to the Tattler lids but saying they don’t fit Kilner jars.

      A little confusion as your photo shows a kilner with the lid…Is there any particular sized lid I need from Tattler or is there any particular sized / age (new /old?) kilner jar I need?

  2. Andrew February 20, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Thanks for this! I’m currently using a Harsch crock – which is great for large quantities of sauerkraut, but this looks perfect to make smaller quantities – gingered fermented carrots, fermented garlic, dill beans etc.

    Do the Tattler lids come in a variety of sizes, or do they fit a Kilner jar OK?



    • Jase February 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Hi Andrew,

      I’ve just bought a crock as well, I’m looking forward to trying it out this weekend. The lids come in two sizes, the smaller size fits a standard sized Kilner jar just fine, I have a couple of wide-mouth lids as well but unfortunately I’ve not been able to find any wide-mouth jars for sale in the UK; also the bigger lids are slightly thicker than the smaller ones so I’m not sure if they would allow the lid screw down properly.

  3. Andrew June 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Hi Jase.

    My Tattler lids finally arrived today, and I found some Kilner screw top jars which they fitted just perfectly in Brighton. Now all I need is the grommets and the airlock. The airlock is easy – I now tow home brew shops which will have them.But any advice on where to find a grommet would be great.

    Can’t wait to get pickling in smaller quantities!!




  1. Sauerkraut recipes | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page - August 24, 2013

    […] a Harsch crock which is dead easy and makes excellent sauerkraut. I am also making two of these Homemade fermentation jar for use making kimch, saurkraut & kombucha And this is so worth reading too! The 3 Biggest Fermenting Mistakes You’re Already Making | […]

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