If you’ve scrolled through posts here, you probably know that most of my vegetables ferment in Mason jars. It’s a perfectly reasonable way to go about it, but I’ve had my eye on a bit of tech imported from Korea for a while, and finally splurged on the E-Jen Fermentation Box a month or so ago.
I’m so glad I did. It’s a plastic bucket, available in different sizes and shapes, including a round version for a more crock-like experience. According to the marketing, the plastic is some high-tech polymer incorporating 7-10% clay to achieve “optimal porosity.”
It’s also BPA, DEHP, and lead free. It probably won’t convince serious anti-plastic purists, but I think this is a pretty ideal fermentation box for the rest of us.
How the E-Jen Works
The E-Jen essentially uses a dual-lid system to maintain an anaerobic environment and limit fermentation aromas. Here’s what that looks like:
Basically, you prepare your batch the way you normally would, then pack it into the E-Jen. Next, press the inner lid down until it’s compressing the vegetables or brine is about to come out of the exhaust hole. Finally, you plug up the hole with the attached stopper. The inner lid is lined with what amounts to a gasket, so air isn’t going in or out once it’s closed up.
From there, the outer lid goes on and snaps snugly into place on all four sides. The E-Jen even has a convenient handle that folds down onto the lid when not in use. (The handle may not be present for all sizes, so check with the seller to be sure.) When you want to take your ferment out, the handle makes it easy to transport. After years of hauling carboys and wiping up Mason jar overflow, this system is a piece of genius.
E-Jen Tips & Tricks
A few notes on using the E-Jen. I made my wine kraut in it, and as with every brine ferment, the early stages will produce a decent amount of CO2. For the first week, I opened the outer lid daily, opened the exhaust hole, and pressed the inner lid back down. If brine came out, I made sure to meticulously dry the inner lid. The chamber above the inner lid but below the outer lid is basically airtight, and it felt like any dampness could invite mold or mildew.
I went with the 1.6 gallon size, which is roomier than expected. The box fits neatly into my fermentation station, which is a nice touch. Now that the wine kraut is jarred and in the fridge, I can’t wait to grab some more vegetables and let the magic happen.
I’m not usually a $30 fermentation gadget kind of person, but I’m really happy with this purchase. I suspect I’ll be transitioning to two or three of these for all my veggie fermenting needs.
Have you tried the E-Jen? What did you think?