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Crocks for small batch sauerkraut

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Does anyone have an opinion on the best type of crock for making small batches of sauerkraut? I just purchased a 2 gallon inexpensive crock and started my first batch of homemade kraut, (from a recipe on the WS site). My inexpensive crock has no lid, you just use a plate with a weight over the kraut to keep it submerged in the juice and a dish towel over the crock.

I see there are expensive crocks with water seals at the top.

Any opinions on a preference of one method over the other?

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  1. I've used random glass jars or plastic food containers for mine with no problems. As far as I'm concerned, as long as bugs can't get in but air can get out, it'll work just fine.

    1. I have a 5 gallon and a 2 gallon I fill a plastic bag with water and sit it on top. Make sure the bag covers the top of the crock and sits in nice. My crocks are old so I place a old towel under it incase I get some leakage through the walls. I have made kraut for years with no problems, have fun and eat well.

      Cat

      1 Reply
      1. re: catface1

        Thanks for the tip on the plastic bag to cover. I was using a large plastic bottle filled with water to weight the plate. The bags work so much better!

      2. The pickl-it. I've been using pickl-it for almost a year and half now I've been thrilled with the results. I will never go back to open jars again and I've lost my desire to get a harsch crock now.

        http://www.pickl-it.com

        2 Replies
        1. re: rasputina

          Had not heard of a pikl it, seems interesting and lots less $$ than the water seal crocks. If my simple open crock batch turns out poorly, I'll be looking for a new method.

          1. re: Cam14

            We make sauerkraut, or what we call choucroute, each year in October, using a Harsch crock. This is made by a company that originally manufactured chimney tops. Very popular item in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and France. The crocks, stone weights, and the lids are available in North America, with different labeling. (None here state any "Miracles" can be performed.)

            My wife and I have tried other crocks with varying success, and as mentioned it is a big tradition here. The water seal and lid on this unit allows consistency: We have never had a bad batch. Just clean everything (stones, and lid included) very well, after each batch is finished, and again (antiseptically), before using your crock again.

             
        2. I am considering getting Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock. It is less expensive than the Harsch. And I like the looks of it better.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dixiegal

            Looking at the advertisement photos online, the Ohio Stoneware crock appears to have the same features ( slit weights, water seal, cap lid ) as found in the Harsch crock.

            The added handles and low pricing are a plus. Lucky you !

            The online instructions regarding care and maintenance state that the unit should be washed out after use. We clean everything with ours before and after use, with very hot water and soap, using a brush, to avoid any health problems. I trust this is what they meant.

            1. re: dixiegal

              There is a great review on the O S Fermentation Crock on WS. I have a 2 gal Ohio Stoneware open crock, the quality is very good and the price was just $24. The only drawback I can see with their fermentation crock is it's 3 gallons. Too large for my needs. My first batch of sauerkraut in the open crock turned out really well, so I'll stick with that for the time being and hope they make a smaller version.