Fermenting Crock Pots are also known as sauerkraut crocks. These beautifully crafted stoneware fermenting crock pots from Germany produce sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables very simply. Their use of ceramic weight stones eliminates mold while their clever water sealing system allows fermentation gasses to escape without allowing air to enter the crock pot. Simple instructions for use and recipes are included.
About Crock Pots
The patented original Harsch crockpot is stoneware. It is fired at 1200 degress C and finished with a leadfree glaze. It is suitable for almost all types of vegetables like cabbages, pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, beans, celery, onions and peppers. Stoneware does not require special storage or use and is neutral for all fermenting vegetables. In just 4-6 weeks you can have delicious sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.
The fermentation crock has a special cast gutter in the rim, and includes a ceramic cover which fits into the gutter which is filled with water thus creating the air lock. Gases from the fermentation can escape, but air can not enter the crock from outside. The pasty, white “kahm yeast” which develops on the sauerkraut in ordinary crocks does not develop with the Harsch crocks. The Harsch crock comes with a 2 piece stone that it used to weigh down the lid and apply pressure during the fermentation process so there is not need for you to use your own stones.
Fermented vegetables are important for healthy nutrition
Natural fermentation is one of the oldest means of preservation. Lactic acid bacteria subject the vegetables to a fermentation process. The vegetable becomes preserved, it develops a pleasantly sour taste, and it is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Sauerkraut is among the healthiest foods, writes pastor Sebastian Kneipp. James Cook introduced sauerkraut into navigation. A world-circumnavigator, with the help of sauerkraut’s high vitamin C content, he protected many men from the pest of the seas, scurvy.
Nutritionists recommend fermented vegetables. Not only are they durable and taste delicious, but they also prevent numerous illnesses.
Correct handling of the crockpots
The first rule is cleanliness. This does not only apply to the vegetable but also pot and lid. This is where the remarkable traits of the stoneware pay off. It can be cleaned easily and without much trouble. It only needs to be wiped, scrubbed or rinsed off and then left to dry. Since stoneware absorbs virtually no water, the formation of mold, that is common at the surface of other materials , is eliminated. Mold formation affects taste, ingredients and preservation of the fermented vegetable.
The cover stones are replacing the previous board with cloth to weigh down the fermenting vegetable. They’re made from stoneware and come as two pieces for easier handling and better contact with the fermenting vegetable’s juice. They also provide the necessary pressure on the vegetable for fermentation. The stones should be covered by one to two inches of vegetable’s juice. When there’s too little juice, add cool boiled salt water (15 g [.5 oz.] salt in 1 liter [1 qt.] water). A normal crockpot requires that one cover the vegetable with a clean, washed cloth. This is not necessary with this crockpot. Here it is sufficient to put large cabbage-, grape- or horseradish leaves under the stones.
Monitor the evaporation of water in the water groove. Close the pot with the lid. Pour water (normal tap water) into the water groove. This assures that the pot is sealed airtight, an important requirement for the pot to ferment properly. Fermentation occurs in several stages. Depending on the kind of vegetable, it takes 4 to 6 weeks. Especially in the early stages, it is extremely important that no air contacts the vegetable. The lid should therefore be opened no earlier than 2 to 3 weeks into the fermentation.
During fermentation and storage of the fermented vegetable the water groove needs to be filled with water. This prevents the following:
- air coming in contact with the vegetable
- yeast forming which makes the vegetable slimy
- the upper portion of the vegetable turning bad
- dust or vermin entering
- stones or cloth turning smeary
Recipes to use with your crockpot
In general, don’t fill the crockpot all the way, since the cover stones and the carbon dioxide need room. The crockpot should be filled to no higher than 4/5 its height. When the pot is used for storage, don’t open the pot on a daily basis but rather remove a weeks amount and store it in a closed container in the refrigerator.
- 5-8 kg. [11-17 lbs.] Cabbage for the 10 liter pot
- 5-8 g [2 oz.] (max 15g [.5 oz.]) salt for 1 kg. [2.2 lbs.] Cabbage.
- The better the seal, the less salt is needed.
1. Remove the outer wilted leaves of the cabbage and remove the stalk (with a special stalk-remover or a knife) and shred into a large bowl (depending on the amount with a small vegetable f or a special cabbage shredder)
2. Weigh the salt and keep it separate from the shredded cabbage
3. Add a layer of cabbage to the pot and sprinkle some salt on it. Mash the cabbage with a masher or fist until cellular fluid is extruded
4. Repeat until the pot is filled
5. Weigh down with the cover stones. If the stones are covered by less than 1 to 2 inches of liquid, add boiled and cooled salt water (1.5 g salt per liter)
6. Cover the pot with the lid and add water into the water groove
7. Leave at room temperature (20-22 degrees C [68-72 degress F]) best in the the kitchen for 2 to 3 days. Bubbling indicates the beginning of fermentation
8. Subsequently, move to a cool location (ca. 15-18TC [59-64 degress F])
9. The sauerkraut can be eaten after 4-6 weeks. Store in a cool basement (5-15 degress C [41-59 degress F]).
You can also flavor the cabbage with spices such as juniper berries, caraway or dill or fruits such as apples or pineapple.
Weinkraut is prepared like Sauerkraut. Instead of salt water, add 1 liter of wine and several apples (peeled and sliced). Cover with grape leaves.
White cabbage (2 kg), green tomatoes (1kg), carrots (.5 kg), rutabaga(.5 kg), celery (.5 kg), onions (.5 kg), red and yellow peppers (2 each), dill (1 bunch), tarragon (2 branches), savory (3branches), bay leaves (5), garlic (6 cloves), horseradish (sliced), mustard seed (4 tablespoons), cilantro (1 tablespoon), juniper berries (3 tablespoons), salt (5-8 g per kg vegetables)
Prepare vegetables: shred cabbage, tomatoes, celery and carrots; slice peppers into strips, onions into fine rings add salt to vegetables, then add spices and herbs, mix and mash until juice becomes visible layer into the fermentation pot (up to 4/5 of height), cover with horseradish slices or cabbage leaves continue as described for Sauerkraut. After 6 weeks the cabbage is ready. (Longer storage improves the taste.)
Blaukraut and Rotkraut (red cabbage)
Both, Blaukraut and Rotkraut (red cabbage) are prepared like Sauerkraut. Fermentation gives the cabbage a beautiful red coloring. When prepared as a salad – with onions, marjoram, thyme and garlic – it goes well with potatoes and hot chestnuts.
- 6-7 kg beans for the 10 liter fermentation pot
- 5-8 g salt per kg vegetables (max. 15 g)
- Savory, dill, bay leaves, a bit buttermilk or sour cream as a starter beans must be boiled before fermenting. (They contain poisonous substances
that are destroyed by heating.)
- Boil for ca. 5 minutes in salt water (15 g per liter).
- spread on a cloth and let cool layer the beans with the spices in the fermentation pot (max. 4/5).
- Continue as described for Sauerkraut
After 3 weeks storage, the beans are ready for consumption.
4.5-5 kg cucumbers (medium size, hard), several onions, mustard seeds (2-3 tablespoons), cilantro (2-3 tablespoons), bay leaves (10-12), dill, horseradish, tarragon, whey (1.4 liters), salt water (30 g per liter).
- wash and scrub cucumbers, and puncture with a knitting needle or sharp knife so as to facilitate the exchange of fluids.
- densely pack the cucumbers and spices into the fermentation pot (max 4/5).
- add whey and salt water
- add the cover stones
- close the lid and fill the water groove with water
- leave at room temperature for 10 days, then keep cool
After 2 to 3 weeks the cucumbers are ready for consumption.
Further information regarding working with the fermentation pot, healthy nutrition and many recipes can be found in Annelies Schoneck’s book.