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If I have $100, should I buy one crock or one hundred jars?  RSS feed

 
Travis Halverson
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I don't really know that I can get 100 jars for a buck apiece.

I just had a failed batch of fermented cukes in jars, now I'd like to splurge and get a fermenting crock. I had the cukes weighed down with another jar and a week during the process, there was mold throughout. Not just on top. I rinsed off the mold from the pickles and they taste a little okay. My wife won't touch 'em.
 
Jay Hatfield
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I would guess not enough salt. The salinity of the brineing solution is what keeps the bad bacteria from growing. That is why you should only have mold right on the top.

Yes a good crock is well worth more than a 100 jars. jack spirko over at thesurvivalpodcast.com posted a couple of really nice crocks in the show note of the show he did a fermentation last week. The one I remember was about $120 and was made in Germany I think.

Brand new Mason or Ball jaars are less than a dollar a piece. I would not bother with any of the other brands as my experience is they break far more often while canning than ball or mason's do.

I hope this helps

Later
J
 
Alex Ojeda
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Jay Hatfield wrote:I would guess not enough salt. The salinity of the brineing solution is what keeps the bad bacteria from growing. That is why you should only have mold right on the top.

Yes a good crock is well worth more than a 100 jars. Jack Spirko over at thesurvivalpodcast.com posted a couple of really nice crocks in the show note of the show he did a fermentation last week. The one I remember was about $120 and was made in Germany I think.

Brand new Mason or Ball jaars are less than a dollar a piece. I would not bother with any of the other brands as my experience is they break far more often while canning than ball or mason's do.

I hope this helps

Later
J


Hey, I just want to mention that Mason and Ball jars have BPA in their canning lids. There's a company that makes BPA free, infinitely reusable lids and seals called Tattler at http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/. I use these with my existing jars and so far they're living up to their claims.

So, I make raw sauerkraut in 64oz Ball jars and don't get any mold. I've gotten mold in the past and threw it all out only to hear other people say their great-grannies all the way to present just scrape it off and keep on going. You have to realize that cheese is covered with mold when they make it. Scrape it off and eat it.

So far, I just pack the raw thinly sliced cabbage in the jar and pound it in place with a long wooden piston. I then put a teeny bit of salt in before I pound each layer. I'm just trying to be sure that I have 2TBS in the jar when it's done and I do it in layers to be sure that it's evenly distributed. Then, I put a wee bit of water in the top to be sure it's all covered and don't bother with weights and stuff. I screw on lid tightly and put in a dark place for a week or two. So far, no mold and great kraut.

I'm guessing your issues are definitely salination levels and possibly light? Are you putting everything in complete darkness?
 
Jay Hatfield
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Hey Alex, thanks for the tip on the jar lids. I had no idea that they contain BPA. I have looked at several of the reusable canning lids in the past. Just never tried any of them.

I didn't think about the light but it might be a issue using jars. I would go with salinity first before light. Sounds like you are very precise in making yours. I literally just wash it chop it throw it in the crock measure out the salt and spices so I the right amount for the size of my crock and water. I give a stir or three and put the big leafs down and add the weight. It sits on the counter I wait a week before I start checking it to see if is soured enough before jarring it up.

I have enjoyed your podcast with Paul. Thanks.
 
Alex Ojeda
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Jay Hatfield wrote:Hey Alex, thanks for the tip on the jar lids. I had no idea that they contain BPA. I have looked at several of the reusable canning lids in the past. Just never tried any of them.

I didn't think about the light but it might be a issue using jars. I would go with salinity first before light. Sounds like you are very precise in making yours. I literally just wash it chop it throw it in the crock measure out the salt and spices so I the right amount for the size of my crock and water. I give a stir or three and put the big leafs down and add the weight. It sits on the counter I wait a week before I start checking it to see if is soured enough before jarring it up.

I have enjoyed your podcast with Paul. Thanks.


Thanks Jay!

So, my recipe requires pounding it down and keeping it in the dark. I'll try what you do and see what happens. I've never done the leaf thing, but I've just heard someone say something about putting grape leaves in their pickles to keep them crisp. I'm interested in this concept. I have lots of grape leaves!
 
Brenda Groth
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if you advertise you might be able to find crocks on craigslist or some other used ones, but I'm not sure about how you could guarantee what they had been used for. Maybe some people have some that have been passed down for a certain purpose.
 
Travis Halverson
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Light must have been the main reason. Maybe salt too.

I ordered a 5L crock for $96.99. Free shipping. http://www.harvestessentials.com/german-5-liter-fermenting-crock-pot.html

Thanks all.
 
Wardeh Harmon
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Personally, I'd go with jars. You can get glass weights on ebay, leaving enough room to seal your jars up tightly.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lacto-ferment-glass-jar-weights-canning-preserves-new-keeps-food-down-2-sizes-/110750934578

I am a fan of the Pickle Pro airlocks. They're modified Tattler lids, allowing you to turn any wide-mouth canning jar into a fermentation vessel.

http://www.homesteadersupply.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=183&products_id=1794

The mushy and moldy pickles are more likely from being exposed to the air than being made in a jar. The perfect brine for pickles (in my experience) is 6 T salt to 1/2 gallon water. And you need very fresh cucumbers, perked up in ice water, with blossom ends removed, and something for tannins in the jar (grape leaf, oak leaf, black tea).
 
Travis Halverson
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Dang. I already placed an order for the crock. I think I would prefer those glass weights. If my crock gets broken, bye bye $100 fermentor. Breaking a jar is way less of a bummer.

Thanks for the link. Maybe I just resell the crock.
 
John Polk
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Some of the best prices I have seen for crock pots is The Sausage Maker

His are imported from Poland, where fermentation is a fine art.
I have dealt with them, and they are good to deal with.


 
Amy Leonard
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Alex Ojeda wrote:
Jay Hatfield wrote:Hey Alex, thanks for the tip on the jar lids. I had no idea that they contain BPA. I have looked at several of the reusable canning lids in the past. Just never tried any of them.

So, my recipe requires pounding it down and keeping it in the dark. I'll try what you do and see what happens. I've never done the leaf thing, but I've just heard someone say something about putting grape leaves in their pickles to keep them crisp. I'm interested in this concept. I have lots of grape leaves!



I have had great experiences with the tattler lids - follow the directions. I had a failure when the rubber ring lost its seat and folded under, leaving a gap.

How dark is dark? My pantry is a series of cupboards - no direct light, but light all the same.
What is "room temperature" before packing up for the fridge? Our inside the house temps match the evening cool and a bit less then the afternoon hot, so is that temp swing anything to worry about? I mean I have't got a climate controlled spot like a root cellar.

We live in Northern CA (gold country USDA zone 7) and have really warm weather when I start to get excess from the garden. That makes canning unappealing but the is what I have done in the past. This sounds like a much better idea. I did try a batch up sugar peas and they were just toooooooo salty!

Amy
 
Joy Banks
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Those glass weights look awesome. This is getting better and better--using canning jars that are easily sterilized, that makes it do-able for me. Wow can't wait to try these new methods.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Are the jar airlocks necessary?? I thought that was for wine musts? I suppose even in cool storage you can't seal up the jars / weights without an airlock in case there is still a bit of fermentation going on?

Also, I was reading 'wild fermentation' (Sandor Katz) and he somewhat reluctantly suggests food grade five gallon plastic buckets as an acceptable compromise if you can't afford a lot of crocks....any thoughts? they are a lot more accessible...
 
Alex Ojeda
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Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:
Are the jar airlocks necessary?? I thought that was for wine musts? I suppose even in cool storage you can't seal up the jars / weights without an airlock in case there is still a bit of fermentation going on?

Also, I was reading 'wild fermentation' (Sandor Katz) and he somewhat reluctantly suggests food grade five gallon plastic buckets as an acceptable compromise if you can't afford a lot of crocks....any thoughts? they are a lot more accessible...


The stuff I do only has a tight fitting lid. I'd never use plastic for this. Not worth the toxins.
 
Wardeh Harmon
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Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:
Are the jar airlocks necessary?? I thought that was for wine musts? I suppose even in cool storage you can't seal up the jars / weights without an airlock in case there is still a bit of fermentation going on?

Also, I was reading 'wild fermentation' (Sandor Katz) and he somewhat reluctantly suggests food grade five gallon plastic buckets as an acceptable compromise if you can't afford a lot of crocks....any thoughts? they are a lot more accessible...


They're not necessary, but very helpful. They release the gases from fermentation so you avoid explosions or opening jars (which introduces more outside air).
 
Brenda Groth
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back in the 70's I had some spectacular wine explosions
 
Robert Ray
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I have one of the German crocks with the airlock lid and it's great. I do like the idea of the jars though since it would allow small batch experimenting.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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I just found a test someone did that compared a bunch of different jar options... final results are here

sauerkraut survivor

If you go back to day 1 you can find a link to 'introducing the jars' that describes all the different set ups...

i think i might try fido jars..
 
LaLena MaeRee
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Semi-old topic but I thought I would give my experience. I am new to fermenting, I usually do it in jars, and then this last Christmas the boyfriends grandparents bought me a 1 gal pickling crock, YES! Was so excited, and then greatly disappointed. First off, even the 1 gal is super heavy once full, so you need a prime location where it can be in the dark, out of the way, and accessible to skim mold off, or move it like I do, and hurt your shoulder if you are weak and small, as I am. Also, I may be doing it wrong, but I seem to get WAY better ferments of any kind (kraut, pickles, salsas) in glass sealed jars. I tried using jars that were not sealed one time, to mimic a mini crock, and got vomit smelling pickles, they were so disgusting my boyfriend wouldn't even take a second whif, let alone taste them. My only problem with doing it in sealed jars is they tend to explode sometimes, if you do not "burp" the jars regularly, and sometimes it still builds up too fast on you, I have worn salsa facials I am interested in the ferment lock lids, but I wonder about plastics and bpa and all that other toxic garbage. Sometimes I just find an old baby food jar that will fit just right down into the top of a jar to create my own air lock, it usually works, especially for krauts and salsa. I am currently about to give up on fermenting cucumbers, I agree with what I have read online that they just tend to go bad too often, you can do the same thing twice and get different results somehow. My crock is currently full of cucumbers from the garden, if they do not come out well I am switching to stuff like carrots, which I like to eat more anyway.
 
Judith Browning
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I like fermenting in quarts with a tight lid also. I haven't had any explosions but when I used a gallon jar instead it got too bubbly. We just ran out of the red tomato relish and had really tastey green tomato pickles but this year I only got a couple good batches of cucumber pickles...no mold just not crisp...the flavor was ok.
Mine are done in two days...I use Nourishing Tradition's recipes....i haven't tried the salsa and want to try thr black bean dip sometime. I keep looking around for something else to ferment.
 
Robert Ray
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I purchased some "tattler lids" a bit ago and saw where someone had drilled a hole, put in a grommet and then used a fermenting check valve in the grommet I'll see how that works. No BPA and much lighter than my Harsch crock.
 
Alex Ojeda
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Robert Ray wrote: I purchased some "tattler lids" a bit ago and saw where someone had drilled a hole, put in a grommet and then used a fermenting check valve in the grommet I'll see how that works. No BPA and much lighter than my Harsch crock.


Robert, that is assured to work, but you can also just get some latex or plastic tubing and run it from the tattler lid into a soda bottle that's half-filled with water. The gasses that escape from the jar go into the soda bottle and bubble out never allowing oxygen back into the jar. Very cheap and able to do without specialized parts.

Word of warning. Even plastics that say they are BPA free still have a chance of having a list of other toxic ingredients! Watch the movie Plastic Planet or do a bit of research on the web about this issue. I'm thinking that TATTLER LIDS are still better than the BALL lids, but I believe that even TATTLER doesn't know the full contents of their own lids!

Good Luck with everything. All we can do is do our best!
 
Tom Kozak
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neither!
just get a FREE food-grade plastic bucket (ask around, restaurants, grocery stores, delis, bakeries, pizzerias etc. are trying to get rid of them). make your kraut, kim-chi, pickles, whatever in that and go spend your hundred dollars on something else!
 
Devon Olsen
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awesome thread, the one problem that i see with the tattler lids is that they are plastic, i just dont like plastic, even if it is food grade, though i wasnt aware that "normal" lids had BPA, anyone know of metal lids without the BPA?
 
Vicki Boliard
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I've started making my own airlocks. Just use aquarium hose and silicone.I poke a hole in the top of the metal lid.Then I insert about a foot long piece of tubing.I just put it in about an inch and leave a "tail". I also use the silicone to seal the two pieces of the ball jar lid together. After this is all cured I fill quart or half gallon jars with my ferments using a 19 grams of salt per 2 quarts of filtered water brine solution. Then I fill a plastic bag with about 1/2 to 1 cup of solution and tie that off. I use that as the weight for the fermented veggies. Then I install the lid with the hose contraption I've made. I have a main quart sized jar that I've poked as many holes as hoses. I then make a solution of water and bleach(very weak). This is what's in the quart jar. Now all of the hoses from the ferments are inserted in the bleach jar. As the veggies ferment they "burp" in the bleach solution. As soon as they no longer are burping they are ready to eat. I love watching these little guys burp all day. I use this for my kiefer and whatever other veggies I'm fermenting. Right now I've got garlic cloves, sourdough,cauliflower and kiefer burping away on my counter.I'm tired of everyone trying to sell me something. I've spent hours on the "pickle-it" website and every other site trying to sell me some kind of airlock. This is cheap and easy and best of all IT WORKS!
 
John Saltveit
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I tried to order a crock from Harvest Essentials. I paid the money and never saw a crock. They said they delivered it. I asked them to check on it. They keep delaying. They say, we'll get back to you tomorrow. Then they don't contact me for a week or two until I contact them. AT THIS POINT I WOULD NOT ORDER A CROCK FROM THEM.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Saltveit
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Super weird twist in this story.

A man came to our house with the original crock. He said it was at his sister's house. The delivery company delivered it to the wrong house. She had left it in her house for 2 months! I verified that it is the original brown crock. She is disabled, possibly also mentally and didn't do anything about it being there. He was just visiting for Christmas, noticed it, and asked her about it. They actually did send the replacement green crock. The company lady seemed rather blase about me not getting the crock but they actually did try to replace it, even if it wasn't their fault. It was the delivery company and the people who accepted it for two months that messed up. Harvest Essentials never did anything wrong. It was a delivery problem.
I was upset, but now the mystery is solved!
John S
PDX OR
 
Deb Rebel
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No contest. If you can get a good big crock for $100, the crock is the better score.

My family used to salt their own pork, cure hams and bacon, etc, plus ferment stuff in crocks. Your number one issue is enough salt in the brine. For curing pork we would mix the salts in until an egg sized-after peeling potato would float in the brine (we would mix it right in the crock) and whoever was doing this, the salt would be crystallizing out onto their arm hair, we are talking a high saturation brine. Get the salinity high enough and you shouldn't have mold throughout. The other is to make sure the food going in is CLEAN overall. And you too. (we would surgical type scrub hands and arms for playing in brine and handling the food) Now on especially the pork and pickles, we could and would occasionally get some mold at the top where the plates and weights were, and pickles tend to get this... scum. We would clean the mold off as we found it, and the top (usually bacon for the pork) used first as soon as it had finished curing up. Pickles we would descum periodically.

I'd love to find a few big crocks (25-30 gallon or bigger) and start doing that again.

Crocks, always worth it if you can find one, period. Friend has a 30 gal without chips or cracks and they want to use it for a planter outside, I'm shamelessly begging them to let me adopt it because I want to use it. It's still in their garage. I hope they cave in soon...
 
John Saltveit
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I still think the free shipping on a big Ohio Stoneware Crock from Ace Hardware if there's one anywhere near you is the best deal going. Call them and see if it is. It's about half price with free shipping.
John S
PDX OR
 
Deb Rebel
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Just looked up, I can get a 10 gallon Ohio for $87 and change and 42 something ship. So I do have an Ace about an hour away, I'll check on what they want for one. Thank you. Not nearly big enough but a good start.
 
Robert Ray
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An addendum to my previous posts, as much as I love the ceramic german fermenting crock it has been moved to just a large batch pickle, kraut workhorse. I have something fermenting on the counter every day wether it's milk kefir, water kefir, salsa. or whatever. I could easily get buy with just jars.
 
Deb Rebel
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Robert Ray wrote:An addendum to my previous posts, as much as I love the ceramic german fermenting crock it has been moved to just a large batch pickle, kraut workhorse. I have something fermenting on the counter every day wether it's milk kefir, water kefir, salsa. or whatever. I could easily get buy with just jars.


On my veggie and related fermenting, jars are good enough for the batch size. I want and need large crocks to preserve meats. There is an omnivore in my house, and I would like to be able to do that sort of work again. Growing up we had a very large crock that would take most of a whole hog, and we put one in every fall. You can do similar preservation with beef too (corned beef). I have a pretty large jar collection and am still on the prowl for those (I prefer widemouth up to a quart then after that take whatever I can get for half and gallon) but. If I had a choice between a larger crock or jars, I would go crock. It looks like I can get an Ohio Stoneware 10 gallon for under $100 through the nearby Ace Hardware (an hour away). (they will ship to store free). I still vote crock, but it's because of what my needs are. (most jars I get for free to 25c each whenever I run into them, or as a byproduct of food that I purchased).
 
Roy Hinkley
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Keep your eyes open for glass vases. The ones that are a simply a tall cylinder. They're the same diameter top to bottom so your weight (whenever you find the right size) will work for small or big batches.
They impermeable, no cracks hiding bacteria. Clear so you can monitor your ferment.
Tall and narrow keeps a good head of CO2 above the ferment, excludes air and molds.

Usually inexpensive, around $20. A little harder to find higher quality/thicker glass and more expensive.
Buy a couple of these and 50 jars as well.


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