How To Start Fermenting At Home With IKEA

Fermenting at home is both sustainable and delicious. Here's the kit and know-how you'll need to get going. Glass jars are, unsurprisingly, essential.
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I’m a sucker for anything pickled. Pickled gherkins. Pickled onions. Pickled beetroots. You name it, and there’s a very good chance that I’ll love it if it's been pickled or fermented. While I’m great at buying pickled things in jars and eating all kinds of funky ferments when I’m out and about, one thing I’m not very au fait with is fermenting and pickling things myself. I know full well that it's a great thing to do, though, and an excellent way of making the most of leftover food waste. You can pickle everything from carrot tops to cucumbers on the turn and it's those small behaviour changes that we can all make in our day-to-day life which can help us live more sustainably.

I used to live with someone who made kimchi all the time and regularly reaped the benefits of that without ever making any myself. Kimchi is actually one of the perfect ferments to start with. Fermenting and pickling at home isn't just easy but it's actually pretty sustainable too. Pickling your leftover veg means that you can directly extend the shelf life of your food. Those carrots that were just about to go off? Pickle them and you've just another week to their lifespan. It's a super-easy way to reduce your food waste and add some more interesting flavours into your diet.

If you are looking to set your very own Brad Leone-esque fermentation station at home then it’s probably best that you stock up on a few essentials. Namely, lots and lots of jars. IKEA’s KORKEN jar is a reliable and affordable option if you're looking for an aesthetic storage option. And I’m not just saying that because I’m getting paid to. Purchasing these jars is the perfect first step to take in becoming a pickle expert and is a little change you can make to help lessen the impact you have on the planet. That obviously won't happen overnight but it's a good place to start. I know that making your own pickles rather than going to the store and buying some single-use jar seems like a small thing, but it's those little changes that can add up to make a big difference.

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Oh, and did I mention those KORKEN jars are sustainable, too? Because they are. By using recycled glass in the product (a minimum of 40% in each jar, I’ll have you know), IKEA consumes less new raw materials as a company and lowers their environmental impact while giving old glass a new lease of life. If you’re into fermentation, you’re probably into that feel-good ethos, too.

Yes, they’re better for the earth and all but the main reason you should get yourself some KORKEN jars is that they’re ideal for making yourself everything from classic dill pickles to homemade hot sauce. Every jar has an aroma-tight seal, which makes it perfect for preserving your favourite homemade jams and jellies as well as getting down and dirty with some more unconventional ferments. That seal also helps food retain its flavour and aroma longer. An essential factor.

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Having all the gear and no idea isn’t perfect but it’s better than having no gear and no idea. To get some inspiration on how to start fermenting at home, check out our guide to pickling like a pro and fermenting for life. They’re packed with top tips on everything from lactofermentation (which uses naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria and involves bunging a jar on your kitchen counter) to how to expertly bring out the best of a stone fruit with Szechuan spices. The next time you've got a hankering for something acidic, stop yourself from making that order on your favourite grocery delivery app and have a go at making your own instead. Every little bit helps, MOB.

And I don't know about you but I think it’s high time I stopped being a passenger and started fermenting for myself. I hope you’ll join me on that journey.

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