Guide To Choosing The Best Fermentation Crocks in 2022
For all the fermentation tools a person can choose from today, one of the essential items for every fermenter’s kitchen remains a traditional-style ceramic fermenting crock. If you do any fermenting at all, a fermentation crock a.k.a stoneware crock or fermenting pot will do a lot to make sure the fermenting process is a success and you get all the health benefits of probiotic-rich foods.
If you’re considering purchasing a fermentation crock, our buyers’ guide is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know during the buying process. We review water-sealed crocks, open crocks, pots for bulk fermentation, sauerkraut crock best-value fermentation crocks, multi-purpose crocks, and fermentation crocks made for kombucha, all for the fermented food lover. Let’s get started!
Best Fermentation Crock: Water-Sealed Crock vs. Open Crock
A few things to consider before making a buying decision on a new fermentation crock. What kind of crock seal is best for you, a water-sealed crock or an open lid crock? What about the size of the crock and the price range you are willing to spend on a fermentation crock?
How Fermentation Crocks Work
Once you fill the ceramic crock with water and place the lid on it the water ensures that no outside contaminants, such as dust and bugs can get inside and contaminate the ferment. While at the same time, it continues to allow the carbon dioxide to release and bubble out creating optimal conditions for the lactic acid bacteria to do its magic.
Out of all the crocks, the water-sealed crock is my favorite!
- The water-seal crock process is so simple: you fill-up the moat with water, and it creates an airtight seal that keeps out contaminants, such as dust and bugs, keeping your foods fermenting without a problem.
- Because of this ingenious seal, there is little chance of mold or surface yeasts growing on your ferment.
- It takes the worry out of making sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.
- You must keep an eye on the water-seal crocks to ensure that the moat stays full of water. If the water in the moat evaporates, oxygen, particles, and bacteria can get into your brine solution.
- You cannot see inside of the crock to monitor it throughout the fermentation process.
- The opening is narrow, and that makes it a little difficult to pack in the vegetables.
- The narrow opening also makes it difficult to reach your hand in to clean it.
Best Water-Sealed Crock
- Quality and safe keramik pot which is fired at 1260 c
- Pot comes with thick base and wall which makes it stable and durable
- Natural lactic acid fermentation is one of the oldest and healthiest means of food preservation
- The base is 0.6” (1.5cm) thick for strength and stability, the walls are approximately 0.4” thick
- Lead free glaze
Most open crocks don’t come with a lid or weight to keep the vegetables held down below the brine, making it a cheaper purchase. This could be considered a positive because it saves you money.
However, it is up to you to find a suitable weight and cover. You can read the post, Fermentations Weights: How to Keep Veggies Submerged, for some clever ideas.
If you are using a cloth or paper towel as a lid, then be sure to closely monitor the batch to prevent Kahm yeast and mold from developing. Both can appear when the vegetables are exposed to the air.
There are some great benefits of using an open crock. The mouth of the crock is really wide which makes it easy to place several whole cabbages or other giant vegetables, such as cucks, in the vessel.
So if you are looking for a wide water trough to ferment in bulk, this crock will be perfect for you.
Depending on their size, open crocks are easy to clean since their bases and openings are the same diameters.
Furthermore, when not fermenting, open crocks are versatile vessels that can be used to store kitchen utensils and dry goods.
It is important to note that open crocks work better during colder periods of the year, i.e., lower temperatures because molds or Kahm yeast do not form as quickly in lower temperatures.
- Easy to clean
- Microwave and dishwasher safe
- Made in the USA
- High-quality and durable
- Cylindrical shape makes it easy to fit large pieces and whole vegetables.
- Need to buy or make a lid and weights.
- Prone to develop a layer of Kahm yeast if not covered properly.
- Easy to get bugs and foreign objects in the ferment if you don’t use a lid.
Whichever style crock you choose to buy you will still have to check on it to ensure the brine levels are not dropping.
Best Open Crock
Here is the one open crock I recommend because it comes with weights and a lid
- Size: 2 gallon
- Mouth Type: Super Wide Mouth
- Number in Package: 1 set
- Lead free, food safe, dishwasher safe, microwave oven, and conventional oven safe
- Packaging Type: Repackaged for shipping safety
Read reviews here.
Best Large Crock For Bulk Fermenting
Fermentation crocks come in a wide variety of sizes. If you are looking for a larger size crock, I recommend the Kerazo K and K Keramik German Made Fermenting Crock Pot, a 4-gallon capacity. This baby can hold multiple heads of cabbage at one time.
Just beware of the weight; this crock weighs in at 26 lbs when empty.
- High quality German hand-made ceramic ~fired at 1260 c ~free of lead and cadmium
- Deep gully - allows expelling of gas; prevents entry of outside air
- Handles on two sides for ease of lifting and transporting, 16l generally for 6-8 people
- Beautiful speckled, earthen brown and copper coloring with smooth, shiny finish
- K & k gärtopf bodies are formed in a single piece - thick .6" (1.5Cm) base walls
Best Budget-Friendly Fermentation Crock
The price range for fermentation crocks on the market can be hefty. However, there are a few companies that make high-quality crocks at a great price that will fit your fermentation needs and budget.
E-Jen Fermentation Crock
The E-Jen is a high-quality crock great for both large-scale and small batches of fermenting. It is an 8.4-gallon crock which is both lighter in weight and easy on the budget.
But you’ll want to make sure you have the room to store it. E-Jen crocks are plastic and come with an ingenious inner seal that makes them quite versatile because you can easily push down the seal to ferment a smaller batch in any of their container sizes.
There’s typically no harm in leaving some extra headspace in the crock, but if you usually make smaller batches, you’ll likely be fine with one of the smaller crocks on the market.
- Easy to Use! Essential product for storing and fermenting kimchi, pickling vegetables, and making delicious sauerkraut.
- Simplicity! The combination of ancient Korean earthenware principles and modern technology with the highest quality polypropylene plastic makes the ideal fermenter.
- Healthy! Adjustable inner pressing plate minimizes air inside container, promoting an anaerobic state benefiting the growth of probiotics (lactobacillus).
- Odor free! Double lids (including inner lid) contains and blocks odor and smells better than most containers, keeps kitchens and refrigerators odor free.
- Safe! Food safe, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, microwave safe, heat and cold resistant. All materials are BPA, DEHP and lead free.
Mortier Pilion 2: Fermentation Jar
The Mortier Pilon is a two-liter fermentation jar with a transparent upper half. So you can see the vegetables going through the fermentation process. This crock requires minimal maintenance. The fermentation kit includes a silicone sleeve, an elastic band (for tightening purposes), a solid lid, ceramic weights, a wax pencil to mark your ferments, and a recipe book that covers around 45 easy-to-cook fermented recipes, including kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and many more.
- CONTENTS: 1 2L glass fermentation jar with silicone sleeve, jar lid and ceramic weight - 1 instruction booklet - 1 wax pencil - 1 45 fermentation recipe book (ENGLISH ONLY)
- EASY FOR BEGINNERS: Follow our easy step-by-step instructions & recipes from our booklet, Youtube Channel and free book. If you need help you can contact us on Facebook!
- HOW TO FERMENT? 1. Clean and sterilize the crock - 2. Place food in crock, pour in brine & cover with ceramic weight - 3. Affix ring, fill in water barrier and cover with lid – 4. Leave to ferment per recipe >> see more details in the product description below.
- HEALTHY & TASTY RECIPES: Our fermentation crock can be used to make all of your favorites at home; sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, vegetables etc. You can get inspiration from our 45 recipe book: how about making your own mayonnaise, red curtido or kimchi baechu? And don’t forget to choose organic and local ingredients.
- EASY TO CLEAN: Hand wash with liquid soap and a sponge, air dry. Effortlessly remove the silicone sleeve to wash, simply rinse the filter. DO NOT USE HOT OR BOILING WATER. DO NOT PUT IN THE DISHWASHER.
- Because it is seethrough it is an ideal pick for both absolute beginners and experienced fermenters.
- You can watch the process of fermentation take place
- Easy to ferment
- Easy to clean
- It does not have the traditional crock appearance
Best Multi-Purpose Crock
The E-Jen and Crazy Korean Cooking brands of fermentation crocks are the best multi-purpose and versatile crocks you can buy. Both brands are quality made and have many sizes to choose from. When not fermenting the crocks can use as food storage containers.
Great for storing foods requiring airtight storage, such as fresh vegetables, coffee beans, bread, seaweed, cookies, cereals, grains, nuts and even dry pet foods.
Easy to handle and clean
Fridge or freezer safe
Best Kombucha Crock
Lastly, this continuous brewing crock for kombucha and other fermented drinks made by Get Kombucha is perfect if you want to keep a crock just for fermented drinks.
Get Kombucha makes this beautiful sleek crock just for Kombucha lovers. Their kombucha crocks are 2.5-gallon white porcelain and come with a wooden stand. Don’t stop at kombucha; the crock can also be used to make jun tea, vinegar, and more.
It is designed with continuous brewing in mind, as the spigot makes it easy to fill up bottles and transfer them to the refrigerator, eliminating funnels and messy clean-up.
The glaze is food-safe and lead and cadmium-free.
This crock has thick walls and is sturdy enough for regular use. It is still possible to use a thermostat strip to monitor the temperature of your liquid, though.
The kombucha crock does not come with a lid. You must use a paper towel or piece of cloth secured with a rubber band to cover it and allow it to breathe. This is normal when fermenting kombucha.
Buying Fermentation Weights
I highly recommend you purchase these lead-free glass weights by Stone Creek Trading. The 6.5 ” Luna Glass Crock Weight weights 2.6 lbs. This is almost double the weight of most standard glass weights on the market today. This is great because I often hear people complain that their glass weights are not heavy enough to keep the veggies below the brine.
It is important to pay attention to the weight’s size, as their smallest size, 6.5”, will not fit into smaller 2-liter crocks listed in this article.
- Non-Porous Glass Weights for Fermenting Crocks
- Upgraded alternative to traditional porous ceramic weights
- Won't absorb anything, easy to clean, won't transfer flavor or smells
- Handcrafted in Poland, unleaded glass
- Protected by US Patents D812,426 and 10,034,483 B2
How do you clean ceramic fermentation crock and stone weights?
Fermentation crocks should be cleaned with warm water and mild dish soap. You can also use a water/vinegar solution.
To remove strong smells, apply soap for at least 15 to 20 minutes before washing it: rinse and air dry.
Clean the equipment right after you remove the fermented food. Do not let it sit for a long time with food particles.
If you are storing the crock for a while, then fill it up with a scrunched-up newspaper. Also, wrap the lid and stones in newspaper to protect the ceramic pieces and ensure they stay dry.
To prevent mold growth in a crock or on the weight
- Always dry the stones/crock thoroughly in a warm oven or the sun
- Never put the crock or weights away wet
- Never store your crock and weights in a damp room, such as a cellar or basement
If you notice the crock or weights, do have a little mold on them. They can still be saved by quickly cleaning them off before the next use.
How to remove mold
Sometimes, mold happens; here are some tips on how to remove mold from a crock or weight.
- Scrub the mold off as best you can
- Soak the weights overnight in a pot with a few tablespoons of vinegar and hot water (not boiling), or fill the crock with vinegar and hot water.
- Rinse thoroughly
- Lastly, place the weights or crock in the oven at a low temperature until completely dried.
Why Fermenting Crocks are Better than Mason Jars
When I started out making my own ferments, I took the cheap and easy route using glass jars. Like most people taking on a new hobby, I didn’t want to invest in expensive equipment.
But that all changed when I tried a batch of kimchi made in a water-seal style fermenting crock. The kimchi was so much better; I was blown away. It wasn’t just a matter of the recipe or expertise; ferments turn out better in a crock for two main reasons:
- Ceramic Materials: The thick walls of a crock are made with ceramic clay. The thick clay provides natural insulation and helps keep the brine temperature stable, allowing the bacteria to grow effectively.
- Naturally Blocks Light Out: Have you noticed that practically every fermentation recipe you come across recommends placing the jars in a cupboard or pantry away from the light? That is because UV light kills the healthy bacteria in the brine. The thick ceramic walls block out the light and help with a successful end product.
As with any product, it is important to buy quality only to have to buy once. That couldn’t be truer than when it comes to the purchase of a fermentation crock.
If you settle on a cheaper fermentation crock, you are going to be facing a short lifespan, along with wasting your time and vegetables. Nobody wants that, especially if you have been waiting all summer for harvest time.
I hope our Guide to Buying a Fermentation Crock serves you well. Happy Fermenting!