DIY Airlock for Fermentation

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Using an airlock for fermentation is a reliable way to keep air out of your fermentation vessel while still allowing gases to escape. Learn how to make your own at LearningAndYearning.

Gasket Hole Punch

Do I Need an Airlock for Fermentation?

I have been fermenting vegetables in a beautiful, old crock with success. The problem is, having only one vessel, I can only ferment one vegetable at a time. Canning jars are an option, but both the crock and the canning jars are less than ideal in terms of letting air in, as gases escape.

I considered purchasing a Pickle-Pro Fermenting Lid, but in the meantime I stumbled upon this post at GNOWFGLINS. Yay!  Mike could make an airlock for fermentation for me.

Punching the hole.

I purchased 4 – 1/2″ Fermenter Lid Grommets and 4 Airlocks at a wine shop. The grommets were $.80 each and the airlocks were $1.29 each. The grommet creates a seal between the airlock and the fermenting jar lid. The airlock allows CO2 to escape during fermentation, and prevents air from going back into the  jar.

Mike used a gasket hole punch, rather than a drill as in the post we read, and punched a 1/2″ hole in 4 wide mouth canning jar lids. He had no trouble inserting the grommets (as in the post), and then pushed the airlocks down through the grommet. Voila! For $8.86 (I paid $.50 tax), I had 4 fermenting lids.

For a good article on the safety of Mason Jar Ferments, read here. For more information on fermenting, I recommend The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods by Wardeh Harmon.

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    • susanv says

      I think the veggies are much better than pickled! Fermenting is a way of preserving that has a lot of benefits. It keeps the vegetable raw, for one. Many vitamins are increased through the process and there is a great increase in good bacteria like lactobacillus. Canning, on the other hand destroys nutrients through heating and does nothing to make the vegetable healthier. Fermenting is how foods were preserved up until a hundred years ago or so.

  1. says

    Does it taste like it’s pickled? I don’t think I like anything that’s pickled so I’m not sure I would like it fermented either. I’m just wondering what the taste difference is.

    • susanv says

      Nancy, you are ALWAYS so encouraging! Thanks for the opportunity every week to share a little of what’s up in my life.

    • susanv says

      Hi Becky! I’ve only been fermenting vegetables this way so far. I hope to try fruit one of these days. I know it’s a little trickier since it can turn to alcohol. Hence, your mom’s nickname for it!

  2. says

    That’s amazing…I’ve been getting into Sally Fallon’s NT, and understand the benefits of fermentation, but was overwhelmed about all the crocks and such. This is a neat idea…thanks so much for sharing it!


    • susanv says

      Glad to help – of course, the idea is not my own. I thought is was worth sharing anyway for those who didn’t see the older post at GNOWFGLINS. It took me almost a year after first learning about it to give it a try. Honestly, it’s quite simple, even in a crock. We just didn’t grow up learning these things and it can be a struggle when you don’t have a mentor.

  3. Kirsten says

    Love this. I can’t afford the “fancy” ones, so this will do nicely. And will help prevent explosions that happened between my red kraut, my Indian shirt & kitchen sink this morning.

    • susanv says

      Oh my! I avoided using canning jars for just this reason. Hope you can make some of these and avoid that problem. No one was hurt where they?

  4. says

    What a good post! I love fermenting foods. Another way of doing it, if you want larger containers (one or more gallons) is to buy the very inexpensive plastic buckets (food grade) they made for brewing wine. They come with a hole and grommet already in the lid for the airlock!

    • susanv says

      Hmmm. I guess I was under the assumption that you shouldn’t use plastic for fermenting. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Kirsten says

    Ok, so this is probably my first question of many: the airlocks I see online are BPA, plast what I buy at Walmart. However, they aren’t airtight. Has anyone tried doing this with one of those and adding a rubber gaskwt? Or am I going overboard with th BPA thing?

    • susanv says

      The airlock does not in any way touch the food, so I think it’s ok. I did see glass airlocks online, but of course they are much more expensive. The wine shop where I purchased mine only had plastic.

    • susanv says

      Well, thank you, Happy Mrs Bass!!!!! And thank you so much for hosting the link-up. I sincerely appreciate it.

  6. says

    You know, I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything with fermentation. I really should though. I know nothing about it though, so I will definitely have to check out the idiots guide. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul!!

  7. Cheryl says

    I just purchased the airlock and a cork for it from the local hardware today. But my husband is concerned that there will still be air in the jar after we put the food in there and leave 1″ space at the top. Is there a way to get the air out, or should I not be concerned about it? Also do I fill the airlock with water or something? Sorry, this is my first time making naturally fermented foods, so I am trying to figure it all out.

    • susanv says

      Hi Cheryl, as gas is formed in the ferment, it will release through the airlock. This should take any air left in the jar with it. Yes, you put a small amount of water in the airlock. If yours are like mine, they should have a line on them that indicates how much to fill. Hope your adventure is successful!

  8. Monique says

    I was wondering if you tried doing with this with the bpa free plastic tops? I heard the metal ones are tight fitting, but still have bpa.. :/

    • Susan says

      Hi Monique, no I am sorry I have not tried this with anything other than regular metal canning lids. The food inside of the jar touches only the glass jar and not the lid at all since the jar is filled to an inch below the top of the jar.

  9. Diana says

    Thanks for the great information. Got all my stuff together and bought two ginormous jars of pickles that are just about empty. They are at least a half gallon and were only $4.00 with the pickles! My neighbor eats them. Anyhow I’ve used a crock but would like to expand my fermenting and am looking forward to getting this thing in gear. Your photos are great and your information so complete. Appreciate it.

  10. kristy says

    I am so excited I found this site! I have not started fermenting but I can’t sleep at night thinking about it. I am in the works of getting started. I was having a really hard to bringing myself to shell out money for the Pickl-it system. I just can’t afford it. I have tons of canning jars that I can use and this is just perfect. Thanks so much for this!!

  11. says

    In order to fit a 1/2″ grommet, you need a 11/16″ hole. Either your hole size is larger than indicated, or your grommet size is smaller than indicated. Important when purchasing supplies.

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      Hi Ryan,

      The package for the grommet said 1/2″ and our hole punch says 1/2″. The tube that goes through the grommet is 7/16″. It all works beautifully.


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