here’s a glimpse into my earring collection! 🦋
I currently own 487 pairs, most of which I made myself.
I have disney/pixar earrings, some retro inspired stuff,
and other fun things from teddy bears, to flowers, to food.
you can see my entire collection here!
AKA why it’s fun to have a bunch of bubbling jars and you should try it
Y’all really seem to like my DIY Cheese stuff post, so I’m doing another one for general fermenting equipment. I don’t think you should have to buy special equipment in order to try out a new hobby with no idea if you’ll like it. I also think that DIY solutions are better than commercialised options in general because they reduce waste, can be cheaper, etc. Personally, I’d rather not buy anything new unless I’ve got to.
Each section will have one paragraph explaining what the equipment is used for, and a second paragraph with suggestions for DIYing your own. Fair warning, the first paragraph is mostly just so I can explain the science behind what’s happening because I think it’s really cool. As always, if you’ve got any further questions, drop me an ask or send me a message! I love sharing what I’ve learned!
I’m as big of a fan of the mason jar aesthetic as much as the next witch, but there’s nothing inherently special about mason jars. They’re conveniently shaped, and the lids are designed for canning, but that’s it. What’s useful about mason jars for fermenting is that they’re made of glass. Fermenting typically increases the acidity of whatever it is that you’ve got, and that can react poorly with certain materials. Acidic substances can leech bad things from plastic and metal containers. Certain plastics or coated metals can be used to hold fermented and acidic things safely, but glass is non-reactive and a much safer option.
Glass jars are super easy to come by, and you’ve probably already got at least one. Tomato sauce (because it’s an acidic food!) is often sold in glass jars. Same thing with pickles, jams & jellies, olives, sauerkraut, etc. Tomatoes and jams are the most frequent sources of glass jars in my household, so that’s what I usually use. I will say, if you’re a pickle person, those glass pickle jars with the wide mouth are really nice to have. Whatever glass jars you already have, just give them a good wash once you’ve emptied them, and they’ll be ready to use!
Fermenting weights are often used in canning recipes. Carbon dioxide gas is a common by-product of fermentation, and that can cause whatever veggies you’re trying to ferment to try to float to the surface, which exposes them to the risk of contamination and spoilage. The brine that is used to ferment pickles, sauerkraut, olives, beets, etc, prevents mold from being able to grow because of that acidity. Weights sit on top of the fermenting veggies, right at the surface of the brine, and keeps everything safely submerged. The fermenting weights should be like the fermenting vessel, non-reactive. They should also be non-porous, and easy to clean. Kahm yeast is a harmless white film that frequently forms on the surface of fermenting brines, and it’s kinda ugly so you’ll want to be able to scrape it off the surface.
There are a lot of options for DIYing fermentation weights. You can use glass marbles or ceramic pie weights, wrapped in a cheesecloth bag. You can use a smaller glass jar that can fit inside the rim of your fermentation vessel, slightly filled with water. If you’re using a large crock to ferment things, you can use a ceramic plate to hold the contents down. I’ve personally never tried it, but I’ve seen several people use a cabbage leaf, tucked around the sides of the jar just underneath the rim, with a couple apple slices on top. My personal favourite is to simply use a rock. You’ve got to boil the rock for a bit to make sure it’s clean, and you want to be sure that it’s not going to react with the brine (example, don’t use a limestone rock if you’re making vinegar pickles). I usually stick my rocks in a plastic freezer bag because there is a lot of limestone where I live and I don’t want to accidentally make a pickle volcano.
Airlocks are generally used in homebrewing when your goal is to make booze. They can also be used in place of fermentation weights. You’re trying to create an environment without oxygen, since oxygen can spoil the flavour and allows contaminants to grow on your booze/veggies. The basic idea behind an airlock is that it allows carbon dioxide, a natural and harmless by-product of fermentation, to escape from whatever you’re fermenting, while not allowing any oxygen to come back in its place. It may seem a difficult thing to do, trying to figure out how to keep an invisible gas away from your precious booze, but the real challenge here is in creating an environment that can regulate pressure changes. If you give the pressure some way to adjust for the gas that will be constantly released from a good ferment, the carbon dioxide will actually do all the work for you in keeping oxygen out. Oxygen in our atmosphere is diatomic, meaning it has two atoms. It’s shortened to O2, which you will notice, is only one letter away from CO2, which is carbon dioxide. That extra atom in the CO2 molecule means it will be heavier than oxygen, so it will sink and force oxygen to the top of the container, far away from your precious booze.
I know I really talked it up in the first paragraph about airlocks, but DIYing this one is actually super simple. There are a couple ways you can do it for a more “professional” look, such as drilling a hole into the lid of your fermentation vessel, fitting a straw or tube to the hole in the lid, and placing the other end of the tube in some sterile alcohol solution so that bubbles can escape but no air can get back in. But, you can also just use a balloon. They’re cheap to get, they can be stretched over the mouth of almost any bottle, and they’re designed to expand to equalise pressure. They can look a little silly, sure, and you do have to check on them periodically to let gas out so they don’t pop, but they work really well. I would recommend securing them to the mouth of your bottle with a bit of twine, a rubber band, or a hair tie to ensure it doesn’t go flying off.
Ok, so now you’ve fermented some stuff in your old jam and tomato sauce jars. For things like sourdough starter, yogurt, kefir, and ginger bugs, those jars are the perfect size. If you like pickles, but don’t love them, then making pickles in pint sized jars is probably just fine. I, however love pickles, and would prefer to make them by the gallon. Also, brewing enough mead for you and your friends is tedious as hell to do in a bunch of little jars. If you can’t make enough mead to share with your friends, then what’s the point of making mead at all??? So, you’re gonna want something that’s big enough to hold everything you want to ferment, and that’s where carboys and crocks come in. Carboys are big glass jugs with narrow necks that are designed for making booze. Crocks are big ceramic containers, usually wide-mouthed and designed for fermenting vegetables. Ceramic and glass are both non-reactive and therefore safe to use in fermentation.
This is probably the most difficult equipment on this post to DIY, but that makes sense. If you’re looking to ferment things in the quantity that would necessitate a crock or carboy, you’ve hopefully already tried fermenting and decided you liked it. As far as crocks go, I personally use the lining of my slow cooker. I got a crockpot from a Goodwill for $4 when I first got to college, and I’ve used the lining of it for several batches of homemade soda and lightly alcoholic raspberry lemonades. It’s a ceramic lining, designed to hold and cook food over a long period of time, so I know it’s not going to react with acidic contents. Plus, it comes with a lid that I can use to keep pesky fruit flies out. For a carboy, the best method I’ve found is to buy a gallon of that fancy organic unfiltered apple juice that comes in glass jugs from the grocery store. It’s usually around $8, yeah, but the cheapest 1-gallon carboy I’ve found online is about $10. Buying the glass jug of apple juice saves you $2, plus you get a gallon of apple juice that the enterprising person could potentially turn into cider. That’s what I did :)
New video up now! Happy bi visibility day everyone ♡
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Made some wreaths for the front door! :D
Few mistakes - but i love em !!.
Part of the reason I haven’t been drawing a lot (besides video games… ;;) is because recently I got into making hanging mobiles. This was the first one I made, which turned out pretty nice for my first try. :)
The small colored rectangles and the stars are actually Shrinky Dink paper I colored with painting-pens, connected by small jewelry-grade chain link, and fishing wire (and a bit of coat hanger) to make the hanging bars. I’ve discovered a couple things I can do better so the next one I make will hopefully have some improvements. I’ll post a video of it in motion next!
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Clarification on using Mercon V in a 1998 Ford Contour for automatic transmission AND power steering fluid.
Playing with blowtorches and doorframes
Helper called in sick today. Set the lower cabinets first and replaced him with some scrap lumber and a couple of airbags.
Time swap out some things on the Jetta
Unos Fantasmaniacos con sus playeritas o sudaderas del #LegadoDelFantasma 💗🏆👻🙌
Vaya que estoy batallando!!!… Pero la imagen va a quedar…. Ya lo verán!!! 😊