Different Glass Fermentation Weights being displayed to show the differences.

What are Fermentation Weights and How To Use Them?

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So if you haven’t already guessed it, I am a big fan of fermentation.  We spend so much time buying supplements like probiotics to keep us healthy.  We forget many times that food is medicine.  When we make our own live ferments, the probiotics are fresh and very alive.  The problem is fermenting has rules.  That’s where fermentation weights come in.

What Are Fermentation Weights?

Fermentation weights are simply a heavy, non porous object that weighs your food that is fermenting down.  Food that is exposed to oxygen breeds bacteria and mold.  So pushing your food under the brine or liquid you are using keeps it free from those elements.  This allows the healthy bacteria to do there job without exposing you to the nastys.

You could use anything for this job.  Something as primitive as a sanitized rock a plastic bag will work.  Many people use plastic bag filled with water as a weight.  I have tried them all and while they are mostly successful, they are not my favorite way.

Types of Weights

We are only going to talk about a few easy to find, easy to use weights in this post.  They are:

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Glass Fermentation Weights (No Handles)

Glass fermentation weights without handles look like glass hockey pucks.  They are a solid piece of glass with the edges smoothed.  The pros to this style are that they are extremely easy to clean.  They can be ordered in both wide mouth and standard mouth jars.  You can purchase in bulk so if you do a lot of fermenting like I do, you can save money by buying more at once.  These have come down quite a lot in price since I purchased them years ago.  So a bulk pack of six fermentation weights without handles is under $20. 

Glass Fermentation Weights flat

The cons to this style is that they are very slippery.  I mean very slippery.  It’s like trying to grab a fish out of a pond.  Also, they are not dishwasher safe as my husband can attest to.  But other than that they work well.

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Glass Fermentation Weights (With Handles)

Glass fermentation weights with handles come in several designs.  They are made so that they can be easily picked up out of the jar without too much difficulty.  The kind I have are made with grooves in them for easy pick up.  But they also manufacture ones with a little handle.  

Glass Fermentation Weights handle

Here’s the problem I have with these.  First, they are no more easy to get out of the jar than the flat disks.  Once, they are wet it’s still a slippery piece of glass.  Second, they cost more and are not significantly more effective.  Third, maybe i am the only person to have this happen to them but I find the grooves get mold trapped in between them.  I have lost several ferments this way.  I find myself turning them upside down to make them flat like my weights without handles.  This prevents the mold but completely defeats having the handle.  Fourth, due to the grooves it’s more challenging to keep clean.

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Stoneware Fermentation Weights

Stoneware fermentation weights are designed for crocks.  They usually come with two half moon shaped pieces that sit inside the crock.  They can be used in any container so if you have one already but don’t have a crock, don’t stress.  The biggest drawback to these is that they are usually quite large because the crocks are bigger than mason jars.  They may not fit a standard size canning jar.  Also these are very expensive because they are made of stone.  They cost on average the same price for one as a pack of six of the glass weights.

Stoneware fermentation weight

Final Thoughts

If I had to choose just one type of fermentation weight, I would choose the plain glass fermentation weights without handles.  They are inexpensive, easy to clean and reusable for as long as you take care of them.  These work perfectly inside any of the airlock jars or mason jars.  If you haven’t heard of an airlock jar make sure to read my post on them HERE.  While they are a little difficult to remove from their containers, it’s a small price to pay for how well they work. Just make sure to have the right size weight for the right size jar.  Let me know what kind of weights are your favorite.

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