How to Ferment Vegetables at Home

By guest blogger: Darin Ingels, ND

This article was sent to us by  Dr. Darin Ingels. Dr. Ingels is a highly respected leader in natural treatments for Lyme disease.

Here is a message from him:

Hi, I am the author of this article, Dr. Darin Ingels. I’ve walked in your shoes and know what it’s like to go through the roller coaster of Lyme. I am to share a message of hope with you. I’ve treated thousands of Lyme patients and my goal is to share the most practical, cost effective and safe therapies that will help you regain your health. 

Think you might have Lyme disease? Find out here:


Once you get the hang of it, fermenting vegetables is a simple process.

While it does not require particularly specialized equipment, there are certainly tools that can certainly make preparing and fermenting so much easier and efficient!



  1. A quality knife or a food processor for grating, chopping, or slicing, a good quality knife or food processor is a must have tool.
  2. When fermenting sauerkraut or vegetables that ferment in their own juices, you will need some sort of pounding tool to help break apart the vegetables and compress them together in the fermenting jar. 
  3. Stick in thermometers are a hassle-free way to keep an eye on the temperature of your fermented vegetables.



What you use ultimately depends on what vegetable you’re fermenting and your personal preferences

Glass Containers: Easy to Find

Glass is one of the best options for fermenting vegetables because it doesn’t scratch easily, nor does it contain chemicals such as BPA. 

 Glass containers such as canning jars are relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain. Glass containers use a specially designed lid with a water barrier to help protect vegetable ferments against unwanted bacteria.

Basic Sizes: Half-Gallon Fermented Vegetable Jar / Gallon Fermented Vegetable Jar

Ceramic Containers: Good for Large Batches

German Ceramic fermentation crocks are common and are a good choice for making large batches of fermented vegetables. 

Porcelain Containers: Generally Safe

Food-Grade porcelain is generally safe for fermenting vegetables. 

Avoid Plastic Containers


How you cover your fermenting vegetables can be the difference between a perfect batch of crunchy pickles and moldy cucumbers. An ideal cover will keep oxygen away from your vegetables but still allow the gases produced from fermentation to escape.

Whether you decide to use a cloth cover, tight lid, or lid with an airlock is up to you, though some options work better than others.

Fermenting vegetables with an airlock lid greatly reduces the chance of mold or kahm yeast formation, no burping required!

Lid with Airlock: The Popular Choice

Using a jar with an airlock in the lid is a popular option for fermenting vegetables, and many designs are available.

For use with wide mouth canning jars, Pickles Pipes and the Perfect Pickler are great choices! Wide mouth canning jars come in a range of sizes, from half-pint to half-gallon. The Pickle Pipe attaches snugly under the ring of the jar. 

For larger batches, try our half-gallon or gallon-size Fermented Vegetable Master. These glass jars come complete with airlock lid, storage lid, and ceramic fermentation weights.

Fermenting vegetables with an airlock lid greatly reduces the chance of mold or kahm yeast formation, no burping required!

Tight Lids: Less Chance of Mold, More Burping Needed

A disadvantage is that the jar requires more attention. When using a tight lid, you will need to burp the fermenting jar daily. As vegetables ferment, carbon dioxide can build up. You’ll need to burp the jar to release excess pressure and avoid overflow or explosions.

Cloth Covers: Sufficient but may lead to mold. Butter muslin is a very tight weave cheesecloth; perfect for draining soft cheese and straining yogurt or milk kefir. Also works as a breathable jar cover.

For smaller jars, a paper coffee filter secured with a tight rubber band or canning lid ring works well to keep pests out and allow fermentation gases to escape.

  • One advantage of using a cloth cover is that it is easy to peek in or sneak a taste of the fermenting vegetables at any point.
  • The disadvantage is that mold or kahm yeast forms more often on the surface of the vegetables. This surface formation is usually harmless and can be removed and discarded


Even when using a lid with an airlock, keeping the vegetables submerged under the brine during fermentation is important to help reduce exposure to oxygen.

Between pounders, containers, and airlocks, you have a lot of options when it comes to fermentation equipment. If you’re just starting out fermenting, choosing a kit can help simplify the process.

We hope you enjoyed this guest blog. If you have any questions or need a consultation, our office is ready to talk to you and schedule your appointment either in person or with a Virtual Visit (Telemedicine). Contact us: or call us at (907) 435-3070

Seaworthy Functional Medicine offers you an opportunity for lasting movement forward to feeling very well and being healthy. 

Seaworthy is unique in that it combines old-school sweat-the-details family medicine compassion and training with cutting edge telemedicine, specialized testing, and an energetic, responsive team. We deliver a refined and effective way of working together.

Dr. Rob Downey

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Rob Downey, MD, IFMCP

Dr. Rob Downey is a family practice MD and IFM Certified Practitioner. He grew up in Montana and has practiced medicine in Montana and Alaska for twenty-plus years. He loves living in Alaska. He takes joy in family time, whole food, mindfulness, running, skiing, cycling, fishing, rafting, reading, poetry, road trips and listening to music (with an everlasting soft spot for loud alternative/rock-and-roll). He finds functional medicine endlessly fascinating for its ability to transform lives into radiant vitality. If you don’t find him at his clinic, or by a window at home, with a hot beverage and a book, you will find him out-of-doors.