Friday, September 21, 2018

What a Crock!

Photo of Ohio Stoneware 2 gallon crock set, including crock, two weights, and lid. https://trimazing.com/

#VeganMoFo18 Day 21 - What a Crock!

My birthday was two days ago and usually I buy myself a little present every year. I really hadn't thought of what I was going to get, and actually, I was kind of thinking of forgoing the tradition in light of the zero waste philosophy we've adopted. But I ended up buying myself a fermentation crock.

Photo sticker on bottom of Ohio Stoneware crock. https://trimazing.com/
This sticker cracks me up, like it'd fit in my microwave!
This was not the first crock I've purchased. I bought my brother and sister-in-law one last year for Christmas because they'd been making sauerkraut in a 5 gallon bucket and it seemed they deserved a really nice crock. When we were in Napa, my brother texted me that he was getting ready to make sauerkraut in the crock, and I got a little envious! Ironically, I had just started reading The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz, so fermentation and crocks were on my mind. I was considering buying myself a used crock and had seen a lot of them in Facebook Marketplace; but after reading Katz's book and learning that a lot of older crocks have lead in the glazing, I'd been thinking otherwise. 

Photo of ingredients for fermenting dill pickles, including: stainless steel bowl of pickling cukes, crock, jar of pickling spices, jar of dill seed, jar of white vinegar, jar of salt. https://trimazing.com/
Ingredients for Fermenting Dill Pickles
I went to a Seattle Zero Waste meetup the night of my birthday. When I was walking to the meetup location, I walked past an old neighborhood True Value store and decided to take a stroll through it, as these old neighborhood hardware stores are real zero waste gems! This shop had a huge kitchen area with lots of great things. Suddenly I spied an Ohio Stoneware 2 gallon crock set with included weights and lid! The price was right, it was my birthday, and voila! I was the proud new owner of a crock!

Photo of pickling cukes in crock full of brine and spices. https://trimazing.com/
Cukes in Brine in the Crock
To test out my new crock, I decided to make dill pickles. We've had a beyond-bumper crop of pickling cukes this yearI may have planted way too many. I actually pulled the plants out three days ago to stop the onslaught and gave a whole bunch of the giant pickles away at the Zero Waste meetup! I still had a crisper drawer full of cukes, so it was a great way to test the crock out and use these cukes before they went bad. 

I followed the recipe that came with my crock, but doubled it.




Ohio Stoneware Dill Pickles (Cucumbers) Recipe

4 pounds of 4-inch pickling cukes (mine were larger)
2 Tablespoons dill seed or 4-5 heads fresh or dry dill weed (I used dill seed)
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup vinegar
8 cups water
One or more of the following: 2 cloves garlic, 2 dried red peppers, and/or 2 tsp. mixed pickling spice
Photo of weights on top of pickling cukes in crock full of brine and spices. https://trimazing.com/
Weights on top

Wash the cucumbers. Put half of the dill and spices on the bottom of the crock, add the cukes, then add the rest of the dill and spices (I used garlic and pickling spice). Dissolve the salt in vinegar and water and pour over the cukes. Set the weights on the cukes so liquid covers them and put the lid on. Store in 70-75 degree temperature (I put in my pantry) for 3-4 weeks while fermenting, checking every couple of days and removing any scum that forms on the surface.

So I'm super excited! The crock is really full, so I put it in an aluminum pan to catch any brine that might bubble out (I'm currently making apple cider vinegarit's what's under the towel behind the crock in the photo belowand I learned that fermenting things bubble and spill out and I don't want to damage our wood floor). I couldn't even wait until they're done to write this post! So, there will be a follow up post on how they progressed and turned out. 

To be continued...

Photo of 2 gallon crock full of brine and cukes in an aluminum pan in a pantry for fermentation period. https://trimazing.com/
Happy Crock Doing It's Thing in my Pantry!


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