I've made sauerkraut several times in the past, but I struggled with it. The cabbage (or other foods to be fermented) have to be kept below the brine while fermenting, but things always tend to float. I've tried a crock with a plate, a water-filled baggie, and a cabbage leaf covering with slits in it to let the carbon dioxide escape. I never tried glass weights, as I think sometimes they tend to work their way out of position and sink as the ferment bubbles. Mostly, I tended the kraut a lot during the process, which is not convenient for me and not really good for the product, as it's supposed to have as little exposure to air as possible (preferably none at all). I did have one batch recently that made a quart and a pint, and the pint molded on top, so I had to toss it. I'll admit I didn't tend that one as religiously, since I figured it might fail anyway for lack of enough brine on top. Every other batch I made worked out, except that when I first started, I had read it would be ready in 3-5 days, but mine always came out just salty, not tangy. I didn't realize it should go at least 10 days, probably 16 at the least. And the longer it sits, the tangier it gets. It also takes longer in cooler temperatures, but works faster in slightly warmer temperatures.
Anyway, to the point...I discovered what I think might just be the most perfect solution for fermenting. There is this relatively new (2015) product called The Pickle Pusher, developed by a couple in Port Lavaca, Texas. It's a green, food-grade, sturdy silicone insert with flexible "fins" all around it that is inserted into the jar and keeps the food under the brine. It has a stainless steel opening in the center that a rod screws into to keep the insert from tipping sideways. It comes with what they call a launcher that slips over the green insert to hold the fins closed so you can push it into the jar. As the insert gets inside to the shoulder of the jar, the fins spread out next to the jar, sealing it all around. The insert is also vented with little holes to let the carbon dioxide out as the ferment is working. And the kit comes with a lid equipped with an airlock that lets the CO2 escape while keeping oxygen out of the jar (if the jar were airtight and the CO2 couldn't get out, the gasses building up would cause the jar to explode.
It comes in sets of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. I ordered just one first. IT WORKED GREAT!!!!!!!!!! As soon as the kraut (with garlic and dill) was done and tasted, I promptly ordered the set of 2. After I pulled the pickle pusher out of that jar, I started another jar with giardiniera in it. My order of the set of 2 came in yesterday, so today I made a jar of kraut from red cabbage, and I'm planning to do Brussels sprouts next (which have to sit 5-6 weeks at room temp or 11 weeks refrigerated).
I may break down and order another set of maybe two or three. I want to do a recipe I found of grated beets with cinnamon, allspice and cloves. And a jar of just fermented garlic. And a jar of onion. Maybe even broccoli. Oh, the possibilities!
Anyway, raw ferments (no heat involved in any of the process) are very probiotic, billions of little Lactobacillus bacteria in there, more potent than yogurt. And I love pickled products, so it's right up my alley. And now it's so much easier. I'll have more confidence in the procedure from now on.
Oh, and I ordered it through Amazon.
So that's it.