Food fermentation is an art form. It may take some time to get used to. The aromas and images of fermenting foods, as well as the worry that you’re preparing some unappealing fermented meal. However, with a basic fermenting crock, you may ultimately learn to create delicious sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles.
A fermenting crock may be a useful device that also serves as a beautiful element in your kitchen. A fermenting crock jar may be a terrific way to add diversity to your meals if you have the correct volume and features. Here are some recommendations and evaluations to assist you in selecting the best fermenting crock for your household.
What is a Fermenting Crock?
A fermenting crock is essentially a container made of stoneware or ceramic that is used to store vegetables as they ferment. These crocks, which are commonly found in farmhouse décor or antique stores, have a practical use in the kitchen. There are various varieties of fermenting crocks to select from, as well as several characteristics to consider.
Types of Fermenting Crocks
In open crocks,
To find an old-fashioned fermentation crock, you’ll need to go to your grandmother’s house or an antique shop. Although they lack modern conveniences, these vintage crocks are simple to maintain and use. An open crock is an extra big crock that does not have a lid attached.
A non-cracked pot is required for safe and proper fermentation, so be careful to inspect it for cracks and other faults if you end up with your grandmother’s open crock or purchase it from an antique store.
To ferment a complete vegetable, open crocks of five, three, or two gallons capacity are the most common. To keep the food submerged, you can use weights or anything long and heavy. The fermenting crock can be covered with a cloth or towel, or a new lid can be purchased for your open crock.
A water-sealed crock, which isn’t always simple to come by, has a lip that retains water. These crocks come with a cover that can be inserted into the lip of the crock to keep the water within the crock sealed from the outside. It does enable fermentation-generated carbon dioxide to escape. The weights that come with this sort of crock are also custom-made to ensure a flawless barrier.
WHY Use a Water-Sealed Fermentation Crock Instead of Jars?
Now that you know the key distinctions between open and water-sealed crocks, I’ll explain why the latter is preferable to a mason jar when it comes to the fermentation process.
I am a big fan of fermenting foods in mason jars, and I often encourage their usage when others ask for advice on producing pickles or sauerkraut.
Using a one-liter (quart) glass canning jar as a learning tool makes fermentation a manageable activity, and it provides rapid success and direct feedback on whether you are using the proper quantity of salt, maintaining your ferment under the brine, and what tastes of sauerkraut you prefer.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of fermenting in a jar and are ready to scale up production or simply desire the greater depth of flavor that develops in the more stable environment of a stoneware crock, you should make the switch.
Best Fermenting Crock
Humble House SAUERKROCK
With a two-liter capacity, this crock is small enough to fit in a purse or backpack. The Humble House Sauerkrock includes weights, a jar, and a cover for making sauerkraut, pickles, or kimchi. There aren’t many storage choices with this crock, so it’s an excellent choice for people just starting.
The Humble House Sauerkrock may be filled with water and then covered with weights using the classic water sealing procedure. This procedure keeps pollutants and dust out of your food while it ferments. This crock, which is just eight inches high and six inches broad, can produce enough sauerkraut, pickles, or kimchi to sustain the typical person for many weeks.
Despite its superb construction and heavyweight, this fermenting crock only weighs 4.4 pounds, making it simple to move about. Cadmium and lead-free glaze are included in the pot. This crock is perfect for tiny homes or flats because it only requires warm water and soap to clean.
Kerazo 7 L (1.9 Gal) K&K Keramik German Made Fermenting Crock Pot
The Kerazo Keramik-German Fermenting Crock is a premium grade, German-made crockpot with a seven-liter capacity that is formed from one piece of crockery. Copper-speckled glaze, cadmium and lead-free product, and deep gully design that provides delicious fermented food are some of the features of this product.
This crock is easy to lift and carry because it has two handles on each side. It weighs less than 10 pounds, making it easy to transfer from one place to another in the kitchen. Keep in mind that the Kerazo Keramik-German Fermenting Crock is higher than a standard fermenting container.
Weights included in the Kerazo Keramik-German Fermenting Crock assist keep food immersed during fermentation. An appropriate amount of food may be stored and served in this size crock for a household of four. One batch of sauerkraut or kimchi can yield up to six pounds of cabbage.
Ohio Stoneware 02436 2 gallon Bristol Crock
If you’re on a budget or are new to pickling, the Ohio Stoneware Crock is an excellent choice. During the fermentation process, this crock may be conveniently stored in your cupboard or on a counter. This crock is light and portable, weighing only 12 pounds empty.
The Ohio Stoneware Crock has a two-gallon capacity, allowing you to ferment a whole cabbage if you so want. This product is food-safe and chemical-free thanks to its excellent craftsmanship.
Ohio Stoneware 3-Gallon Fermentation Crock
The Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock has a 3-gallon capacity and comes with weights, a lid, and a recipe book as part of a full package. Your food will be safe while fermenting in this crock thanks to its water trough design. With little knobbed handles for easy lifting and carrying, this is an excellent crock.
Cucumbers and shredded cabbage will fit easily in this Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock. You can manufacture up to 22 regular-sized mason jars and up to 11 quarts of sauerkraut in a single batch because of the high capacity of this appliance.
Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock weighs 22 14 pounds and is extremely sturdy and solid. When it comes to getting started, this is a terrific option because it has everything you need in one place.
TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock
The burnt sienna coating on the outside of the TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock’s five-liter capacity is stunning. Using this high-quality glaze, the exterior of the vehicle is protected. It’s lead and cadmium-free, and the glazing is of good quality. An excellent fermenting crock is available at a reasonable price.
Cupped handles make it simple to lift and transport the TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock. As a bonus, the rim of the ceramic container has been coated to keep brine or water through moisture at bay. When you consider the size of this crock, it’s surprisingly light at just 11 pounds.
The water trough design of the TSM Products Polish Fermenting Crock assures the safety of your food. However, it has a 5-inch aperture, which might make it difficult to fit larger foods or a whole head of cabbage inside the crock. It can, however, produce enough sauerkraut for five mason jars in a single batch.
Kenley Fermentation Crock
In addition to a water seal cover and weights, the Kenley Fermentation Crock Jar can contain up to eight pounds of cabbage. Your spices and cabbage will be finely minced thanks to this 1-1/2-inch diameter tamper. In addition to the crock jar itself, this set includes an instructional booklet for both novice and experienced fermenters.
In addition to the knobbed handles that make it easier to carry, the Kenley Fermentation Crock Jar is 11 pounds. Be cautious not to scrape your countertop with the unglazed base. In the event of a problem, you can count on excellent support from the manufacturer.
Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar
There is a tamper, weights, and a cover included with the Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar. It’s a terrific crockpot for making little amounts or experimenting with new recipes. Pickling and fermenting kombucha and veggies, or making a sourdough starter, may be done with it.
Using the knobbed handles that come with this crockpot, you may raise it from the bottom to the top. In addition, it’s tiny enough to set on a trivet while fermenting. As long as you keep the water trough full, you won’t have any odor concerns with this crockpot. Fermentation gas may be expelled via the Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar’s excellent seal.
Even when it’s full, this pot weighs just five pounds. It has a capacity of half a gallon and natural glazing that is alkali and lead-free as well as non-toxic. It’s also very easy to clean the Seeutek Fermentation Crock Jar in the dishwasher or by hand thanks to the coating on the exterior.
Kerazo 10 L FORM K&K Keramik German Made Fermenting Crock Pot
The Kerazo Keramik Fermenting Crock holds 10 liters of liquid and has robust sides. Despite its high price, this crockpot is worth every penny. This sturdy pot has.4-inch sides and a.6-inch base for further support.
Because they provide a secure hold, the crockpot’s inbuilt handles make it simple to transport and lift while it is full. The Kerazo Keramik Fermenting Crock can hold up to 20 pounds of cabbage, or eight whole heads, thanks to its huge capacity. Everything can stay buried thanks to the generously sized weights that come with this kit.
In addition to the cadmium and lead-free crockpot, this one comes with a lid and a beautiful speckled brown coating. Also, it’s dishwasher safe and incredibly simple to wash by hand. There are no spots in the Kerazo Keramik Fermenting Crock where food or mold may be trapped.
TSM Products German Style Fermentation Harvest
With a five-liter capacity and a weight of just 11 pounds, the TSM Products Fermentation Pot is one of the lightest pots on the market. The knobbed handles on this little, portable crockpot make it much simpler to lift and move around. To maintain its lovely brown color, this item must only be washed by hand.
With a cover and weights, the TSM Products Fermentation Pot may be placed in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or lower. This allows the brine to rise to the stone’s surface, ensuring that they are thoroughly cleansed. The brine may have to be removed multiple times before this procedure is complete.
If you’re a novice or an experienced fermenter, this crock is a fantastic option for you. It’s also an excellent choice for families of four. The TSM Products Fermentation Pot is backed by a one-year guarantee that covers any problems that may occur.
Considerations When Choosing a Fermenting Crock
When selecting a fermenting crock, consider how you want to utilize it. The sorts of foods you intend to ferment and the quantity you intend to produce are important considerations. Depending on whether you’ll be producing little or large quantities, you may use this information to figure out how much storage space you’ll need. It’s critical that you use the proper equipment for the recipe you’re preparing.
Making fermented foods requires keeping the food in liquid or brine. This is why you must ensure that you have ample headroom, which will serve as the weight object. The quality of the fermented food depends on the quality of the environment in which it is made.
You’ll also need room if the fermented foods you’re producing expand throughout the fermentation process. As a result, it is important to think about how you intend to utilize the fermenting crocks, as well as what sort of food you intend to ferment.
Fermentation crocks may get rather huge and cumbersome when they’re fully loaded. If you don’t have a specific place for your fermenting crock, you may want to consider purchasing a smaller crock. Since it is easier to lift and transport a tiny crock than a bigger one, it is an excellent choice for fermenting projects.
You may ferment your vegetables in tiny batches if you have a productive garden. Your crock is heavy, and you don’t want to injure yourself by lugging it about with you. Purchasing many little crocks rather than a single large crock, on the other hand, can be costly.
If you plan on using these little crocks frequently, the extra cost may be well worth it. A tiny crock’s portability and capacity to create many batches of different fermented foods at the same time are further advantages. Also, keep in mind that the fermentation process might take many months to finish completely.
Make sure that the counter or table on which the fermenting crock is placed can support the weight of the crock when it is full, regardless of its size. You don’t want the table on which the crock sits to collapse and the crock to fracture because of the weight of the fluid.
Many crocks for fermenting do not have stones or lids. There are several advantages to these two characteristics since you won’t have to go out and purchase additional products to utilize throughout the fermentation process. Also, a lid will protect dust and other airborne particles from going into the crock, which is an important consideration. Having a crock with a lid that is specifically built for it is a great benefit. As a result, it’s simple to use and put together.
Even if you find a crock in your grandmother’s pantry or at an antique shop, you can always buy stones or a cover for it. If you come upon a crock without a cover, you may use a dinner plate and a stone to keep the food weighted and buried until you can find a lid. Cheesecloth or white cloth should be used to cover the rock before laying it on the cuisine. Then, cover the crock with a white linen or cheesecloth. This is a tried-and-true technique that has been in use for decades.
HOW to Care for Your Crock
Stoneware crocks, thankfully, don’t require much attention. But there are some things to keep in mind.
Ensure the Crock and the Weights are in Good Condition
Take some time to look over your brand new fermentation crock after you’ve gotten it home from the store.
Verify that the crock and the weights are in good condition by examining for signs of wear and tear (cracks, chips, broken handles).
For added peace of mind, fill the crock with water and let it rest in the sink for a full day before using it.
Test the crock by “pinging” it or “flicking” it with your middle finger peeled off your thumb. The crock is good if it rings like a bell when shaken. The ping indicates the condition of the crock, which is flat if it does not resonate.
Smooth Out the Edges
Run your hand along the base of your crock to check for damage.
A potter offered the following advice in the Comments section if any sharp corners stood out to you:
Many of the jars and containers had unpolished, unglazed edges that could harm a surface. If you want the edges of your crock to be completely smooth before you use it, all you have to do is get some wet-dry sandpaper (the black material), run it under running water for 20 seconds at 180, 200, and 220 grit, and finally run it under water for 20 seconds at 400 grit.
Raise the Crock Off the Floor and Ferment
A stoneware fermenting crock propped up on wooden blocks for ventilation. | MakeSauerkraut.com
Most crocks are not glazed on the bottom, thus condensation can leak out and cause damage to the floor.
Condensation from the crock’s fermentation process could damage the floor. Put some wooden blocks under the crock to keep it off the ground.
Make Sure Crock is Clean and Dry Before Storing
After fermentation is complete, make sure the crock is spotless and dry before storing it. Scrub it down with standard dish soap and water, paying special attention to the space under the water trough. Be sure to bring the lid and any heavy objects.
Use a dish towel to dry each component before setting it aside to air dry in its own designated dry location. Allow your unglazed weights to dry out for at least a week to prevent any mold or mildew from forming.
Make sure your crock and weights are kept in a dry place. To improve airflow, stuff the crock with scrunched-up newspaper and prop the lid slightly ajar.
Keep your weights in a cool, dry, and ventilated space.
In the beginning, I used my crock to keep my bare weights. What a terrible notion! When I opened my crock again, the weights inside were covered with mold.
Drying weights out in the open air for at least a week is recommended to ensure that all moisture has been removed. After doing so, I put them in a separate cupboard in my kitchen.
How to Remove Mold from Your Weights
Mold can grow on your weights and in the crock despite your best efforts to prevent it. They are simple to clean, saving you the trouble and expense of replacing a perfectly good set.
According to Mark Campbell of Mark Campbell Ceramics, as described in this podcast, mold can’t be eradicated with bleach. According to him, the bleach only changes the mold’s color but does not kill it.
Instead, he suggests using vinegar for cleaning and then rinsing the crock and weights. The next step is to heat the oven to 250 degrees and then leave the weights (not the crock) inside for 30 minutes. Once the weights have cooled to the point where they can be handled without burning your hands, you can take them from the oven.
Mold can be eliminated with the aid of heat and vinegar. Unglazed weights are more susceptible to mold growth. Glazed weights make it simple to remove mold by simply rinsing them in hot water.
Questions & Answers
Why does the exterior of my crock have a white layer and tiny cracks?
This flaw, known as “crazing,” lets the brine escape. When the brine dries, a white film of salt residue is left behind. If the crock had even the tiniest cracks, I’d send it back.
Does the brine have to be deep enough to submerge the weights AND the packed sauerkraut during fermentation?
The sauerkraut only requires enough brine to submerge it. It’s fine if the brine doesn’t reach the top of the weights.
Does a fermentation crock need to be full?
As a rule of thumb, a fermentation crock should be filled no more than three-quarters of the way. In doing so, you reduce the amount of unused volume in the crock. The more room there is in the crock for air, the more likely it is that mold and yeasts will grow.
Should I clean my crock or use it as-is?
No. Use some soap and water, and then rinse everything off.