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Canning, Freezing and Drying: Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock - Anyone using this?

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Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

June 17, 2011
9:08 AM

Post #8636283

I purchased a Harsch Gairtopf fermenting crock to make sauerkraut only to find out using it in the summer here in Texas is out of the picture, I can't maintain the cooler temps required during processing - some 72 degrees max and I don't have a root cellar.

Has anyone used this crock and have advice on making sauerkraut and other pickled foods? Would love to hear from you!!!

Ms. Jo

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 17, 2011
10:32 AM

Post #8636431

I have two of them, and love them. But, I'm in a much cooler zone and have a root cellar so I have no suggestions.

You might experiment by making an evaporative cooler around it... find a larger container that's porus, put the Harsch crock in it (filled with just water for the test), fill the void between the crock and outer container with sand, and wet the sand. If you put it in a spot that gets some moving air, the air blowing across the outer walls will draw moisture from the sand and cool down the interior Harsch crock. You'd have to monitor the crock temps for the trial, and keep an eye on the moisture amount in the sand...
Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

June 18, 2011
4:37 AM

Post #8637927

Darius...what an innovative approach - sort of a portable root cellar! I've thought about trying to find a wine cooler that could just house the crock, or a small fridge modified to maintain a higher temp range...

2 crocks - what veggies do you ferment and what are your temp ranges in your root cellar? Must admit I'm a bit jealous - it was 104 here yesterday and no rain for 9 months.

Jo

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 18, 2011
5:20 AM

Post #8637964

My root cellar is a separate small building, with the back side partially built into the hillside. It stays about 32-34 most of the winter, and temp in summer varies from about 60 right on the concrete floor to about 68 at eye level. That's this time of the year when outside runs 80-88 in the hot afternoon sun although we had 2 unusually hot weeks in the mid- to high 90's recently. (I lived in Wichita years ago... I'm familiar with hot.)

Right now the root cellar is non-functional because I have the door propped open to dry it out where I moved some water pipes from the spring water I use for the garden. I make cheese and charcuterie, and the aging temps need to stay around 55 so I bought an old refrigerator to put in there for summer use. I'm getting a Johnson Controls temp. control unit for it that's plug and play. I do have a mini wine cooler I use for blue cheese, which have to be kept separate or the blue mold will spread to other cheese. It's hard to keep the temp. stable in it, perhaps because it's a cheapie. Here's the control I'm ordering: http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Controls-Digital-Thermostat-Control/dp/B00368D6JA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308399077&sr=8-1

I don't use my crocks as much as I use quart and half-gallon canning jars now that it's just me to eat the ferments. (I do use the Harsch crock in late summer to do a huge batch of half-sours which I share with my neighbor who grows the cukes.) I ferment nearly every thing I can grow (not fruits). I just put a jar of the last of the asparagus spears fermented with some carrot sticks in the refrigerator.) This year I'll be fermenting ketchup, and maybe some other condiments because ferments are so much healthier. Who knew you could actually increase the nutrition in vegetables by lacto-fermenting?
Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

June 18, 2011
11:10 AM

Post #8638467

Darius...you keep very busy indeed, what an inspiration! Thanks for sharing...

Jo

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