About this project
Just one more day to go!
Our campaign ends on Tuesday, August 26, at 3 PM, PST.
Kraut Source is Mason jar kitchenware for making fermented foods like sauerkraut, natural pickles, kimchi, kefir, and more. It's stainless steel, dishwasher safe, and easy to use.
If you are already buying live-culture fermented foods, you know how expensive that can get. Kraut Source encourages the DIY, artisanal spirit by enabling home chefs to create gourmet fermented foods, economically.
Kraut Source is designed for singles and families of all sizes. It fits on wide-mouth Mason jars, so you can make pint, quart, or 2-quart size batches. It takes up little space, so you can have several batches going at the same time. Its elegant, streamlined design means that it will look really nifty on your counter top.
Naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles are gourmet superfoods. Whether you are following a raw, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, or somewhere-in-between diet, eating fermented foods on a daily basis is good for you because they contain probiotics, enzymes, and vitamins.
We started fermenting the old-fashion way with a big crock and a rock to keep the vegetables submerged underneath the brine. The "crock-n-rock" method was inconsistent, as some batches turned out good, and some spoiled. The batches were so big that they could feed a whole village. Then we also had to transfer them into many jars that cluttered up the fridge. Plus they were all the same flavor. Boring!
We wanted to make different varieties, try different spices, but it wasn't possible with the big crock. We also tried other methods ( such as filling a big plastic bag with water to keep the vegetables submerged, or using an airlock, or a jar within a jar) but there was no solution that was simple, elegant, and consistent. That's why we created Kraut Source.
Successful lacto-fermentation requires 3 fundamental steps:
- Carbon dioxide produced by the fermenting bacteria must be vented. If not vented, the container can actually explode.
- Fresh air must be kept out because the health-promoting lactobacilli bacteria are anaerobic. Fresh air allows undesirable microbes to grow, tainting or ruining your ferment.
- The vegetables must be kept completely submerged in the salt-water brine because exposed vegetables can rot.
Kraut Source beautifully fulfills these requirements:
- Kraut Source uses a water moat to provide a one way seal that lets carbon dioxide escape.
- The same water moat keeps new air from entering.
- Kraut Source uses a compact spring press to push down and submerge the vegetables. The spring press works better than a weight (stone or glass hockey puck used in other fermentation systems) because the spring exerts several times more downward force.
Besides fulfilling the basic requirements, Kraut Source does more:
- Convenient. It fits onto a wide-mouth mason jar, so when your fermentation is complete, just remove Kraut Source, attach a regular lid, and place in the fridge for storage.
- Attractive. It has a sleek elegant design that looks good on your counter top.
- Durable. It's made from heavy gauge stainless steel.
- Food safe. Stainless steel and glass are two of the safest materials known.
- Consistent. Produces batch after batch of gourmet quality fermented foods.
How it Works
Watch the video below for detailed instructions on using Kraut Source to create tasty, nutritious fermented superfoods.
There are endless varieties of fermented foods. Nearly every culture has invented their own favorites. (German:sauerkraut, Korean: kimchi, South American: curtido, India: chutneys). Kraut Source opens the door to variety and creativity. Impress your guests with unique homemade gourmet fermented recipes that cannot be found in any store.
Please help us reach our goal
We spent almost 2 years designing and refining Kraut Source. Our mission is to make it fun and easy for everyone to make healthy and delicious fermented foods at home. Please support us by pre-ordering through one of the pledge/reward levels and also share our Kickstarter page with your family and friends.
FERMENTATING FAN - $5. Downloadable pdf booklet with 30+ recipes. Receive all project Updates and follow our fermenting advantage. (You can cancel or change your pledge at anytime during the campaign.)
EARLY BIRD - $25. 1 Kraut Source with Mason jar. Printed how-to booklet with 30+ recipes. (Be the first 100 to back us at this special price.) Domestic shipping included.
START FERMENTING - $30. 1 Kraut Source with Mason jar. Printed how-to booklet with 30+ recipes. Domestic shipping included.
GOURMET FERMENTER'S KIT - $45. 1 Kraut Source with Mason jar.
1 (4 oz.) Hand-harvested Celtic Sea Salt®. 2 Packets gourmet organic spice blends for making sauerkraut and pickles. Printed how-to booklet with 30+ recipes. Domestic shipping included.
KILLER KIMCHI KIT - $55. 1 Kraut Source with Mason jar. 1 bottle SOSU Barrel-Aged Sriracha Sauce (Please note that this is not available in stores, and is a hand-made, small batch item). 1 (4 oz.) Hand-harvested Celtic Sea Salt®. Printed how-to booklet with 30+ recipes. Domestic shipping included.
HARDCORE FERMENTER'S KIT - $65. 3 Kraut Source without jars. Printed how-to booklet with 30+ recipes. (Perfect for those who want to do multiple batches at the same time.) Domestic shipping included.
DOUBLE GOURMET & POUNDER KIT - $100. 2 Kraut Source with Mason jars. 2 deluxe wooden pounders. 2 (4 oz.) Hand-harvested Celtic Sea Salt®. 4 Packets gourmet organic spice blends for making sauerkraut and pickles. 2 Printed how-to booklets with 30+ recipes. Domestic shipping included.
FOUR FRIENDS WHO FERMENT - $110. 4 Kraut Source with Mason jars. 4 Printed how-to booklets with 30+ recipes. 4 individual deluxe boxes for gifting. (Perfect for Christmas gifts.) Domestic shipping included.
FEREMTATION FEAST FOR EIGHT - $5,000. Private 8-course, sit-down, Fermentation Feast dinner. Will feature organic, local, seasonal produce paired with artisanal wines for you and seven of your guests. Start the feast with appetizers and signature cocktails. Kraut Source Gourmet Fermenter's Kits for you and your guests. Gift of 2 containers of fermented goodies for each participant. Prepared by Chef Karen Diggs and her staff. Held in beautiful San Francisco. Includes a class on fermentation before dinner. (Airfare and accommodations not included.)
Special thanks to
- Bill Reibl for expert industry advice
- Food Guru for the featured video
- Hovin Wang for graphic design
Nona Lim for business advice
And the many others who supported us and believed in our project!
Risks and challenges
The designer's life has gotten a lot easier in the last few years with 3D CAD & 3D printing. We created several 3D printed versions, then looked for a manufacturer who could produce Kraut Source in stainless steel.
With help from a number of very generous advisers and financial supporters, we identified a manufacturer, then produced several steel versions that we tweaked until we were satisfied.
We've already produced a small production run of 100 units that we've sent out for testing and feedback.
One issue that we uncovered in our testing is that existing Mason jar rings can't stand up to the acidic brine solution. A goal of our project is to produce stainless steel rings. We'll either get our current manufacturer to produce them or find a company that already produces rings and get that supplier to run them in stainless steel.
You can use starter cultures if you want to, but it's not necessary.
Natural lacto-bacteria found on vegetable skin provides a ready made starter culture. This is called wild fermentation. Magic!
Some fermenters do use a starter culture. Why? Primarily 3 reasons:
1. Some aren't comfortable with wild fermentation.
2. Some feel that using a starter culture provides better, more consistent results.
3. Using a starter culture may speed up the fermentation process by a day or so.
The disadvantage of starter cultures is cost. Why spend $20 if you don't have to? For your 2nd and later batches, you can make your own starter culture. Just add a tablespoon of liquid from a previous ferment to the new one.
Well, it's a little complicated.
Pickled foods are foods that have been preserved in an acidic medium.
Fermented foods are those that have been preserved by microorganisms (lactobacilli) that convert sugar into lactic acid.
The two categories, pickled and fermented, overlap.
Pickles and sauerkraut that you buy off the supermarket shelf are produced by soaking vegetables in a vinegar solution under high heat and pressure. Vinegar pickled vegetables don't provide the health and taste benefits of fermented vegetables. They're pickled but not fermented.
Brine fermented vegetables create their own lactic acid as a by-product of fermentation. Lactobacilli convert sugar into lactic acid. The lactic acid pickles the vegetables. They're both fermented and pickled.
Kefir is a delicious, often effervescent, probiotic beverage made with a starter culture called kefir grains.
There are basically 2 types of kefirs: 1) milk kefir made with cows milk, goat milk, or coconut milk; 2) water kefir made with sugar water, certain types of juice, or coconut water.
Milk kefir made with cow or goat milk is like a drinkable yogurt. Kefir is actually considered to confer more probiotic benefits than yogurt due to the variety and types of microorganisms in the kefir culture. Even if you're lactose intolerant, you may still be able to enjoy milk kefir because most of the lactose is consumed by the kefir culture. Kefir made with raw milk is especially delectable (and healthful). Milk kefir is great in fruit smoothies.
Water kefir is bland unless flavored with fruit juice, fresh fruit, dried fruit, vanilla, etc. The flavoring can be added before or after fermentation, but if fruit is added before, care must be taken if you want to harvest the grains. Instead of water, you can use sweetened green or black tea to create a unique drink that can be served cold or over ice: Kefir iced tea.
Yes, Kraut Source works great for kefir. Kefir should be fermented in an anaerobic environment and produces CO2 that needs to be released.There's no need for the spring press, so it should be removed before starting the kefir.
Sea salt is a natural combination of sodium chloride and natural trace minerals. These trace minerals are essential nutrients, though some argue that the concentrations are too low to have any nutritional benefit.
Table salt is an artificial combination of concentrated sodium chloride and anti-caking additives like calcium silicate, sodium ferrocyanide, tricalcium phosphate, and sodium silicoaluminate.
Sea salt tastes better. In taste tests sea salt beats refined salt 10 to 1. After using sea salt for a while, table salt tastes harsh.
Sea salt is healthier. This is controversial, but it makes sense. Which would you rather consume, natural trace minerals or artificial anti-caking additives?
There also are differences in types of sea salt. Artisan produced sea salts show a huge variety of mineral compositions and crystal structures. These variations produce subtle taste differences. Industrially produced sea salts are purer sodium chloride, but at least don't contain anti-caking agents.
Our favorite artisan salt is Celtic Sea Salt. We believe it enhances the flavor of foods and provides a superior source of trace minerals.
Another type is Himalayan pink salt. Himalayan salt contains trace minerals and has no anti-caking agents. It's produced from underground mines rather than evaporated from sea water.
All the rewards (that include jars) will be shipped with quart size Mason jars.
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