Getting Equipped For Pickling

A quick rundown of the equipment you need to get on the flavor train

By Tori Fried

Jan 17, 2023

Any time is a great time to begin pickling. Whether you have a vegetable garden or like to take a weekend stroll through the farmers market, pickling is a great way to preserve extra vegetables and be able to enjoy them for months to come. 

To begin pickling you will need a series of tools to prep, contain, and ferment your vegetables. These tools can be very inexpensive and can last a long time if you treat them with care. You may already have most of them at home — use this list to sort out the tools you need to start you on your pickling journey.


Jars are one of the most important tools for pickling. I like wide mouth jars, but any jar that has a flat metal top with a screw ring will do. In the pickling process when we do the canning” step, the flat metal lid will create a seal. You know when you open a jar of tomato sauce and it makes a popping sound? That’s because it has been canned and sealed, just like our pickles will be.


Regular dish soap may work just fine! But if you really want to get serious you can pick up a bottle of Star San, a simple homebrewing sanitizer that will always ensure your jars have no other bacteria and yeast hiding in there. Follow the recommended instructions to make sure your tools are sanitized and ready to go.

Air lock, with lid 

Air locks are great, especially for a two-step ferment. Just like in brewing, an air lock is a little tool that goes on top of your jar that allows the gases released during fermentation to escape without allowing any outside air or bacteria into the jar to interfere with your fermentation. To use an air lock, make sure you have a compatible lid for your jars.

Fermentation weights

Weights will be good to have around if you are doing any kind of two-step pickling process or if you don’t plan to can and preserve your pickles. They sit on top of your jars and weigh the vegetables down so they stay submerged in the pickling liquid and don’t get moldy or exposed to oxygen. If you don’t want to invest in these weights, a resealable plastic bag filled with water will do the trick.

Salt, salt, salt

Salt is so important! Salt in fermentation creates a happy environment for growing bacteria. More importantly, it allows the growth of healthy, desirable bacteria and can kill other unwanted bacteria. You may want to purchase some special salt for this. We do not want iodized salt, or table salt. We do want crystalline or Himalayan sea salt, or a kosher salt (but check the label because you shouldn’t use salt that contains any anti-caking agents).

A sharp knife

Sharp tools are safe tools. You are much more likely to cut yourself while prepping veggies if your knives are dull because they will slip on the surface, while a nice sharp knife will make a clean cut. If you have old, dull knives, some hardware stores and specialty kitchen shops provide knife sharpening services for a low cost so you can make sure you are practicing safe pickling. Some people also like to use a mandoline for quick, consistent slicing rather than chopping by hand.


Round up those cucumbers, carrots, asparagus, cabbage, peppers, beets, radishes, the list goes on and on. We will start with a simple but delicious Lacto-fermented dill pickle recipe in our next post, but who knows — having other vegetables on hand may inspire you. The beauty of pickling vegetables is that you can try the same process with different veggies and discover tons of new flavors.

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