Do you wish you could make smaller sauerkraut batches? Are fermentation crocks out of your budget’s reach? Then mason jar fermenting might be more to your liking. These glass canning jars have gained popularity as options for fermenting vegetables and fruits over the recent past with the advent of fermenting lids for mason jars.
The technologies each fermenting lid uses varies from company to company, leaving us spoilt for choice. Each however implements the same basic concept. An airlock.
Mason jar airlocks for sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables allow these versatile jars to be used as fermentation chambers by creating an anaerobic environment. Lids have valves that allow gases inside your mason jar to safely escape whenever the build up, while keeping air out.
This ensures that yeast or mold does not form atop your ferment. Introduction of spores or yeast to your ferment, may not only impact taste, but may cause it to go bad, and even make you sick.
Table Of Contents
- Fermenting Lids For Mason Jars: Top Picks
- Water Seal Fermentation Lids
- Ferment’n Home Mason Jar Fermenting Kit
- Kraut Source Fermentation Lid
- Multi-Component Airlock Fermentation Lids For Mason Jars
- Year of Plenty - Set Of 4 Airlock Fermentation Lids
- Fermentology 3-Piece Mason Jar Airlock
- Water-less Fermenting Airlock Valves
- Masontops Waterless Airlock Fermentation Jar Lids
- Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Fermenter Lid Kit
- Galahome - 6-Pack Fermenting Lids
- Recommended Fermenting Accessories
Fermenting Lids For Mason Jars: Top Picks
There are 3 main airlock technologies for mason jar fermenting lids. I'll break these down into sections, and give you my opinion on some of the best options to choose, from a complete mason jar fermenting kit to standalone airlocks that you can adapt to create your fermentation vessel.
Water Seal Fermentation Lids
These lids have a troughed top that is filled with water. A cap is then placed on top of the lid. Inside your wide mouthed mason jar, carbon dioxide bubbles form and rise to pop above the brine.
As CO2 and gas continues to build up, enough pressure is created and the gases then escape by pushing their way through the water seal on your mason jar's fermenting lid.
This easy to use, screw-on airlock ships as a two-component system. The lid has a 5 ounce ceramic weight that keeps your fermenting vegetables submerged.
Designed to be a BPA safe plastic top, the lid is held in place by a separate tinplate metal band. It has a deep trough.
This ensures that once filled with water, chances of the water evaporating and finally drying out are relatively low, even over a duration of a few weeks.
All in all, it's a great little kit which you can grab on Amazon, a perfect start to your fermenting journey, or a great gift!
The all steel build gives this lid a reassuring heft. More comforting though, is the lids non-reactive nature when exposed to salt and acid from your ferment.
This fermentation lid setup includes an FDA food grade silicon gasket, cap, a spring loaded weight and the lid. As you can tell, some minimal assembly skills will be required. The lid is designed to fit on standard wide mouth mason jars.
The spring mechanism is quite efficient as it can adjust based on how high your ingredients stack up or the size of your mason jar. Keep an eye on your ferments though. The rather shallow gutter is likely to dry up in a couple of weeks.
Multi-Component Airlock Fermentation Lids For Mason Jars
Coming straight from the brewing industry, these fermenting lids for mason jars have an airlock cap partially filled with water acting as seals. Some do ship with lids but in most cases, the you might be required to drill a hole into your mason jar lids. To make your lid air tight, fit it with a mason jar silicone gasket.
Most airlocks have 3 components, an inner and outer cap and the water filled airlock. Gases from your ferment rise through a pipe and into the airlock. As the gases bubble up the airlock, pinholes on the outer cap then allow the gases to leave.
For all their efficiency, they have a few drawbacks. The multi-component system implies more pieces to keep track of. The added height on your mason jar might also not be for every shelf.
If you have a drill for your existing lids, creating a DIY fermentation airlock is not hard, but sometimes it's just easier to pick up a low cost, purpose made alternative....if you're a little lazy, like me!
By incorporating screw lids (white or clear) into their design, these sturdy sets get your going much faster. Each lid is accompanied by a silicone gasket and grommet to keep your airlock in place and your jar airtight.
I found the white fermentation lids to be better than the clear ones as they keep light out of the jar. Light causes ferments to discolor. Nonetheless, if your jar is kept in a light free room, you can use the clear lid as it gives you a better way to observe the fermentation process.
Built from robust materials, Fermentology’s airlocks feels premium and are designed to give you praise-worthy ferments for a long time.
The thoughtfully, angle-designed lid also makes it easier to release the lid when too tight. Another nice feature is the gasket channel on the lids. This ensures that there is no space left between your lid and jar.
Water-less Fermenting Airlock Valves
If maintaining airlocks and constantly checking water seal fermenting lid water levels is too much of a commitment, then you should look into using these easy to use airlock valves. The relatively new technology uses one of two designs:
1. A silicone lid with a slit:- As gas builds up, the lid bulges until the gas build up leaves your jar through the slit. It then seals up until the next build up. The lids require to be secured with mason jar rings.
2. - A silicone umbrella built onto a lid:- Whether built from metal or plastic, the lid allows for gases to push the umbrella up and escape. As the umbrella falls back onto the lid, the lid continues acting as a seal.
These colorful airlocks keep mold out without the need for a regular water seal checks or maintenance.
Made of only one piece, users need not keep track of components, as is the case with multi-component airlock systems. Their low profile design allows your mason jars to fit in even the tightest of spaces with ease.
These excellent easy fermenter lids, from Nourished Essentials, is the lowest profile lid in the list. It provides your jar with a one-way breathing valve. A silicone valve on the lid allows for gases to exit your jar while keeping oxygen from the environment out.
Thankfully, the lid has a projection that allows the lid to release a lot easier when too tight. The lid also incorporates a date tracker. This will help you keep track of when your ferments are supposed to be ready.
Galahome have hit a 'home run' here (excuse the pun! This 6-pack fermenting lid kit comes with a bonus pump, to create a vacuum to protect your ferment.
The basic setup is simple. The lids are designed to fit wide mouth mason jars (as well as Ball, KErr, Bernadin and other wide mouth jar brands), and use a silicon valve to allow the egress of CO2 gases, while keeping air out.
These lids come with a 60 day money-back guarantee, a 12 month warranty, are made of food grade materials, are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. Oh, and you get a fermenting recipe book too!!
Not bad er? These lids have some great customer feedback and are definitely an easy way to get into fermenting.
Many new to lacto-fermenting vegetables dislike the added equipment hassle. Regular lids can still be used. However, you will be required to burp your jar every so often. Left unchecked, gases can build up and leave you with an exploded mess to clean up after.
Not all metallic lids are well suited for fermenting either. Some are reactive with the ferments acids and salts. This leads to rusting.
For a successful fermenting exercise, aim to keep oxygen out. Yeasts such as Kahm yeast (though not harmful, it affects taste) and mold should also not be allowed to gain foothold in your ferment jar.
To keep them at bay, these listed fermenting lids for mason jars, fit the bill.
Have Fun Fermenting!
Recommended Fermenting Accessories
Here are a few cool things that you might want to consider if you decide to start fermenting. I love my cabbage pounder and also have a shredder similar to the one below. I've used a knife for a long time, but the shredder speeds the process.
Himalayan salt is the best in my view, check out my article on the best type of salt for fermenting if you'd like to learn more.