Friday, May 8, 2020

Learning to Ferment with Fermentools {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I had heard a while ago that probiotics were important for being healthy. I had been working on losing weight, but was still having gut issues, and I wasn't sure the best way to add probiotics into my diet. I do believe it was a part of the reason I was stalling on my weight loss, and sadly I ended up getting discouraged and gaining back my weight. But, I know I have to get back on track. However, this isn't the only reason I was interested in reviewing the Starter Kit from Fermentools. My girls had taken a class at our homeschool co-op where they learned about the importance of probiotics and gut health and fermentation. This was just a few weeks prior to this review coming available, so I thought it was perfect timing. 

Let me tell you, I am a complete newbie when it comes to fermenting. I would have had no clue how to go about it. But the Fermentools Starter Kit we received made it so, so easy. 

The starter kit comes with:
  • a Stainless Steel Lid which is made from 304 surgical stainless steel. It is corrosion resistant and should last a lifetime. 
  • a Glass Fermentation Weight that fits inside a standard wide-mouthed Mason jar
  • Airlock System
  • 2 Rubber Stoppers (one with a hole, one without)
  • Rubber Gasket
  • Himalayan Powdered Salt with over 80 trace minerals
  • Instruction Guide
What you will need to supply:
  • a Mason jar (I used a quart size for the recipe I used)
  • the metal ring to secure the lid
  • non-chlorinated water
  • the food for the recipe (obviously)
  • tools for cutting the food 
  • wooden tamper for pushing the food down into the jar. 
  • fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth 
To me, this sure sounded easier than the expensive, bulky crock that they mention on their site. I honestly have no clue what that even means. But Mason jars aren't hard to come by (especially when you have several friends from church who can). We actually have a box of Mason jars, but they are not the wide-mouth variety, so I asked around and was instantly offered a loan of a jar by more than one friend. 

The Instruction Guide includes a recipe for Basic Sauerkraut, which I had planned on making first. But then I discovered they have quite a few recipes on their site. 

I decided to see what sort of vegetables I could ferment. Because honestly, while I do enjoy sauerkraut on occasion, I had a feeling it wouldn't be something I would want to eat a whole bunch of. And no one else was interested at all. So, I clicked on the "Vegetables" menu and scrolled down. I was thrilled to find a coleslaw recipe.

It seemed simple enough, so we bought some cabbage and carrots and I set to work. Luckily I have a decent food processor which made quick work of shredding the cabbage and carrots. 

I then got the Fermentools supplies and Mason jar out.


Harold wanted to help me mix the powdered Himalayan salt and water.

Then we spooned the vegetables into the jar.

We tamped the veggies down. Then the instructions said to add a cabbage leaf as a follower, which just meant covering the chopped vegetables with it.

I honestly wasn't sure if it I should have cut more veggies. The recipe had called for a gallon sized far, which I've never even heard of, and definitely had no way of finding. So, I had cut the recipe in half. I decided I was just going to leave it as is and added the glass weight.

I poured in the water, making sure the vegetables were under the water. Then I attached the Fermentools system. It was very simple. First I had to add the rubber gasket, then add on the stainless steel lid, into which I added the rubber stopper with the hole. The airlock system went into the hole after adding some of the salted water (brine) to the line and attaching the plastic lid)

All that needed to be added was a towel to keep the light out, because light would kill the good bacteria that was needed for the fermenting process. We could have placed it in a cupboard or pantry, but our cupboards are really cold and we don't have a pantry.

Five days later we removed the towel and opened up the jar and we had coleslaw. Well, we still had to add mayonnaise and some pepper, but there is was ready and waiting for the extra ingredients.

I admit, I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure if the smell was "off" or not. But my husband didn't smell anything wrong. And there was no icky film on the surface. So, we chanced it. And it was so good. Even my hubby, who isn't a fan of coleslaw, enjoyed some with his meals. 

In fact, we enjoyed it so much, I am preparing more. I just wish the children would eat it too. But, they weren't a fan. I could eat tons of it, so that's okay. Definitely willing to eat a bunch of this over the sauerkraut. After this batch is done, I think I want to try pickles. If I can find the right spices around here that is. 

All-in-all, my first fermenting was a huge success. It was so easy. Though there were a couple of steps I had to reread in the recipe just to make sure I wasn't messing up, I would say the recipe was simple and easy enough to follow. The system itself was a cinch. And then all I had to do was let it sit for several days. Easy peasy. And the amount of salt that was supplied will make many, many more jars of tasty coleslaw. 

If you've never tried fermenting before, and are interested in trying, I would definitely recommend the Fermentools Starter Kit. If you have been fermenting for years, you might just want to give it a try. I'd hope you would find it easier than what you have been doing all these years. But of course, I can't speak to that for certain. 

You can find Fermentools on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about the Fermentools Starter Kit. I know at least some of them have fermented before, so they would be able to do a bit of comparison for you. But as a newbie to fermenting, I just have to say, this was definitely what the company claims, a tool "you need to ferment with success!"

Fermentools Starter Kit {Fermentools Reviews}

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