Harsch Gartopf Crock Pot – Let the Fermenting Begin!

I am so thrilled to share what arrived when I was away: our brand new 15 Liter Crock Pot for fermenting and pickling.  I do feel like a bit of a geek on just how excited I am about this but I`m comfortable enough in my obsession (I mean self-confidence :)) that I am just letting myself get amped about it.

There are a few features about these amazing crock pots from Germany that make them so special.  Beyond the quality of the pot (it`s fired in a kiln at 1200 degrees) it comes with weights designed to fun in the pot.  If you fill the pot to it`s capacity (you don`t have to), these stones lock in place because of the shape of the rim of the jar.  The hole formed in the center of the two discs allow you to easily check the height of the brine and ensure your product is well covered and prevents mould.

The other feature is the shape of the rim and the lid – this allows gasses during fermentation to escape while creating an airlock that keeps air out.

You;ll definitely be seeing a lot more about our new tool (ok, I`ll admit I think of it as a toy) and fermentation in general in coming months!

If you have a crock that you want to share your knowledge with – or questions about fermenting that we could help answer, let us know and we`ll include as we start a whole bunch of new and exciting projects!

Harsch Gartopf Crock Pot   Let the Fermenting Begin!

Harsch Gartopf Crock Pot   Let the Fermenting Begin!

Comments

  1. I must admit I have a little crock envy. I have a big one here on the farm but not with all those bells and whistles! I weigh my down with a good ol’ plate and mason jars filled with water! I made a great batch of crock pickles and 2 batches of saurkraut this past season and we are still enjoying the last dregs of the kraut now. A great book is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. Crock on!!

    • Laura, thanks for the tip on the book – will definately find me a copy. I have used your same method – though I tend to fill with a bit of a salt brine in the nearly impossible event of a leak :)

  2. Aagaard Farms says:

    Congratulations on the new member of the family………I don’t really know anything about fermenting; I’ll be watching for updates with interest!

  3. Rachelle says:

    I’m with Laura – crock envy! My own sauerkraut would be even easier with this behemoth. My pickle crock pales in comparison.

    • Thanks Rachelle – will share out method and results as sooon as we get going…have learned more about the seal it makes and it’s simple ingenious. :)

  4. Yay! I have the same one (though I think mine might be 10 liter??). What are you making first?

  5. Wow! Where did you find that? I’m the only one in the family that eats and loves sauerkraut so I really haven’t delved much into fermentation. I tried a small batch of quick kraut last year and it was just…nasty. But I’ve got Golden Cross cabbage growing as we speak and I’m going to try again!

    • awesome Rebecca… we ordered it through an organic type market up here…I’ve noticed they are on Amazon (they weigh a LOT)… I would also check places that sell dehydrators and the like…will let you know how it is…plan to do pickles and all sorts of goodness in it (likely will start some carrots today just because I am so excited. :)

  6. *jealous*

  7. I’ve had a couple of mildly successful forays into the world of fermentation. I made one batch of jalapeno sauerkraut that got moldy, and another that a fly fell into (and got pickled) that I just couldn’t bring myself to eat after that. I was at my local Goodwill to drop off some things and decided to browse around while I was there and found the 7.5 liter version of this crock for $24.99. I snapped it up and can’t decide what to do first! I love to read about what everyone else is doing.

  8. Hi Joel et al!

    Just a quick question: If you have a big Harsch pot (20L), must you fill it up all the way? You kind of answer this above, but let’s say, for example, that I fill a pot up about 20% with cabbage…can I add salt water to fill up the remaining space in the pot…up to maybe 80% or so? Should I do this? How much air should be between the lid and the brine upon initial sealing?

    Many questions! Help!

    • Hi Matt,

      Not at all – I have filled it less than 20%. The key is ensuring everything is covered with the brining liquid! I.E. if my pot is 18 inches high, I sometimes use just the bottom – no need to make up with extra brine. That’s my take on it at any rate. :)

  9. Thanks for the help Joel!

    I guess that the oxygen is pushed out of the jar one way or another, through the fermentation process, regardless of how much there is initially.

    Hopefully your krauting adventures continue forward with great success in 2012!

    Cheers.

  10. Hi Joel,

    I’ve got a 10 liter Gartopf and have been making saurkraut. I got interested after reading that book already mentioned, Wild Fermentation. I’ve got a question about your experience with the water seal. I filled it with water, then one day most of the water appeared to be gone. I didn’t want to break the seal, so I just added more water, thinking it evaporated. A day or two later the water was low, again. I thought the cats were drinking it, so I refilled, kept the door to the room shut, but it happened again! I lifted the lid just slightly, and the water came rushing back out into the exterior groove. Somehow, a vacuum must have been created and pulled the water into the interior groove. The interior groove is higher than the exterior rim, but the strength of the vacuum might over come this. My concern is that the extra water I’ve added is spilling out of the interior groove and mixing with the brine, thus diluting the salt/water ratio and bringing in outside years, mold, etc. The lid has small cuts in it to facilitate water flow and gas release, but perhaps the cuts are too small on mine. I’m considering using a tiny shim to increase the water flow between interior and exterior grooves and try to prevent the water from being sucked up. Have you experienced this? What do you think about it?

    Happy fermenting!
    Ben

    • Hi Ben!

      Great question – though I’ve never experienced it so my thoughts are mostly conjecture.

      When we use ours, the air escapes without pulling in the water like that so it does seem odd to me. The good news is that the water has stayed in the trough as it rushed back in when you opened it.

      I wouldn’t be too concerned about the extra water. You will see that Sandor even has recipes for lower-salt kraut that will be just as good – though may not last as long (the fridge will help with that).

      In the meantime, I’d be curious about emailing gartopf and seeing what they say – you have me insainley curious as to why and what is happening…They may have more direct advice (I’d love ot hear it).

      Sorry I’m not a lot of help – but I wouldn’t be overly concerned from my perspective. :)

      J

  11. Just wondering where you found this pot. They do not seem easy to come by in Canada…

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica!

      We ordered it through the Carrot Common. It was a special gift that we got to choose for ourselves. :) We do love it but it’s a dear price. We use our other crocks just as often. :) j

  12. I have three 10 litre crocks and one fifteen litre crocks I make sauerkraut all the time. I create Kim Chi that is awesome as well. I love to make real probiotics at home! :~)

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