Are you looking for an alternative to yogurt as your only source of probiotic food? Interested in learning how to ferment vegetables? Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables have long been associated with healthy eating.
Being solid sources of fiber, vitamins C and K as well as iron, they give a real boost to your immunity. Moreover, these probiotic foods powers our bodies up by raising energy levels. Picking the right fermenting crock is your next step.
Ohio Stoneware fermentation crocks come highly recommended from many an experienced fermentista, for their beauty, durability and design.
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Ohio Stoneware Fermenting Crock Types
When talking matters crock, there are two main choices from Ohio Stoneware:
Open Crocks and Water-Sealed Crocks.
These less expensive crocks allows for positioning and fermenting larger pieces (including whole vegetables). Weights and lids are usually sold separately. The crocks are more likely to develop the harmless yeast Kahm, whenever ferment is left exposed to air. It therefore requires to be skimmed frequently to prevent an off taste.
These costlier crocks make the entire process of fermenting a lot easier. With a tight-fit lid and weight, water-sealed crocks form a better fermentation barrier. Their water barrier ensures no air gets into the crock. Carbon dioxide however is allowed to escape as it bubbles away. Washing up after fermentation can prove to be more challenging due to their narrower mouth size.
Ohio Stoneware produces superior quality, multi-functional crocks that can not only be used for pickling, but can be used for pantry storage. Their crocks have a capacity of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 gallons. Some of the company’s top picks include:
Weighing 8 pounds, the 7.8“x7.8“x8“ crock is for smaller sauerkraut fermentation batches or even sour dough preparation. This sturdy open crock is great for fermenting your vegetables or food storage.
As with other products in the Ohio Stoneware line, this crock is lead-free and does not contain harmful chemicals - thus food safe.
To hit the ground running, buying the 20.4 pounds crock, sold as part of a crock set works best. Having a beautiful contrast of a brown lid and interior, with a bright white exterior and weigh stone, the set looks stylish.
The wide mouthed crock is probably the best home fermentation starter kit for your kimchi, pickles and other fermented foods.
Ohio Stoneware’s excellent craftsmanship allows the crock to expel gases that occur during the slow brining process.
Though quite huge, this water sealed, 3 gallon crock still manages to be more aesthetically pleasing than its smaller sibling.
When expecting company, this Ohio Stoneware fermentation crock can hold enough sauerkraut for a large group.
Thankfully, this Ohio crock ships as a complete set, with a lid and two semi-circular weights, essential to create a barrier once juices begin to flow out of your kraut by weighing vegetables down.
Its large size and wide mouth also mean the fermenting crock is much easier to clean. Its large size can also accommodate whole cucumbers for pickling
When in use, ensure that the crock is stored in a cool and dry area. The 11“x11“x15.5“ and 24.4 pounds crock can also be used in the oven at low temperatures, though I highly recommend looking elsewhere for cooking crocks. Ideally, only use Ohio Stoneware crocks for pickling or storage.
This 5 gallon crock is perfect for a family looking to produce a regular supply of fermented vegetables and pickles year round.
As with the 2 gallon crock from Ohio Stoneware, this model comes as a complete kit, with lid and stones included. It's not a water-sealed model, so it is important to ensure that all vegetables are kept under the brine level at all times, which is super simple with the stones provided.
This crock is made in the USA from lead-free materials and food safe glazes. It, as with the other models is dishwasher safe and also oven and refrigerator safe. That said, you'll need a big fridge to fit this bad boy in.
Weighing in at a hefty 28 lbs for the crock alone, this is a well-made, sturdy crock that should last a lifetime if cared for properly.
Many people would use a crock like this for fermenting or pickling in large quantities, but it can also double as a great storage container, or even a bread bin.
Due to it's weight, the 10 gallon crock is likely to be an item you leave in one place, rather than carrying around from counter to counter. Imagine the weight when filled with fermenting cabbage and brine, and the mess if you drop it....ouch 🙂
Other Fermentation Crocks To Consider
There are also other great fermenting crocks by other companies that are worth mentioning. For a detailed review on these models, check out my article on the best fermentation crocks here.
1. TSM 31060 German Style Crock
A great alternative crock by the TSM company, this affordable, 5 liter, water-seal crock is made from fine grained stoneware. Moreover, it too has a lead-free glaze. Not only does the combination make for a beautiful design, but it also makes the build robust.
Its design incorporates a deep water gutter that keeps air out. There is nonetheless a small opening in the lid to let out gases forming in your crock during fermentation.
The K&K German made 5 liter fermenting crock feels rather sturdy. Unlike most fermenting crocks mentioned above, this crock has actual handles. Based on trial and error, you will find out as I did, that the weight stones become more efficient in weighing down your vegetables when the crock is near-full. Success on this 9 pound crock is almost guaranteed once you learn the best way to place its weigh discs.
Made by the German company Gairtopf from neutral materials, this 5 liter crock will also work well with all types of vegetables. Gairtopf has been around for long. As such their crocks are much easier to find anywhere in the world.
Similar to other crocks, no special care is required in usage or maintenance. Weighing in at 12.1 pounds, the crock ships with a lid, weight stone and user guide to get you going quickly.
See my review of these, and more of the best fermentation crocks here, on the Better Homesteading website.
General Care Of Your Ohio Crock
- Crocks discussed above have been treated with a special glaze that makes them hard-wearing. If size is not an issue, the crocks can be cleaned in a dishwasher. If hand washing though, you are better off using plastic bristle brushes [https://goo.gl/N3pdSA] or non-scratch scrubbing pads.
- These crocks are also microwave and oven safe. The only problem would be to have them fit into your appliance. However steer away from cooking in them for a longer lifespan.
Fermentation, the age old method of food preservation is bound to remain with us for a long time. For all the beneficial microorganisms in fermented food, we all stand to improve our health by adding fermented vegetables to our meals. Vegetables have been shown to retain most of their vitamins using this method.
Too much of a good thing might also not be the best. So eat fermented vegetables in moderation. All that remains now is to get inspired and experiment.
All in all, an Ohio Stoneware pickling crock will serve you well. Other than their excellent quality, the crocks do not absorb any smells or tastes. This makes them easy to clean after the fermentation process.
Happy fermenting folks!
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