As the love of sauerkraut and food fermenting in general grows in this country, we find a number of great options for sauerkraut crocks. We are currently featuring a budget-friendly and feature-filled crock, but it is limited in quantity and may only be available for large- size purchases.
Scroll down for other great sauerkraut crock options.
The TSM Fermenting Crock, a Sauerkraut Crock
While highly recommend the Harsch fermenting crock on this site (and it’s great, see below), this alternative crock is CRUSHING IT. The price is excellent. We bought the 10 liter pot and additional weighting stones and were out the door for about $100. That is actually a huge savings over the Harsch and it’s a beauty. When you buy the 20 liter size, you will save closer to $130 with this other crock. Check out my initial reaction in the video.
- A gutter in the rim that creates an airlock, reducing the chance of surface mold.
- Lead-free glaze on the interior.
- Ceramic weight stones eliminate spoilage.
- well, crafted with a fine look.
The crock has free shipping as well but I am not sure that offer is going to last (it costs about $30 to ship these crocks). I would buy now while this free shipping offer lasts.
Having one of these crocks in my kitchen, I am still extremely happy with the price. The quality of the Harsch may be better, but the price is nearly double. For a work horse crock, the Harsch may still be the best bet — I have not used the TSM crock long enough to know. The edge of the lid on the TSM crock is not sealed. It will absorb water and end up a bit mucky, as with any unsealed pottery. This is not a big factor for me, but it may be for you. In addition, in the rounded, wider area of the crock, the weighting stones do not fit perfectly. You may end up with some cabbage pieces rising to the top around those stones. This is only an issue if you are making smaller quantities of sauerkraut in this larger crock. It is also not an issue in the largest TSM size because the pottery is entirely vertical and does not have that bulge in the middle.
TSM Fermenting Crock
10 Liter (about 2.5 gallons): Check the price!
15 Liter (nearly 4 gallons): Get the price!
20 Liter (about 5 gallons): Check out the price!
If you buy the TSM, the weight stones are sold separately (they are included in the price of the Harsch). The are offered with free shipping now too and I recommend you buy them. Here are the links to the stones for the 20 liter pot and the stones for the 10 or 15 liter pots (you use the same size stones for those).
Why We Love Proper Sauerkraut Crocks
If you’re like me, your answers is “quite a few.”
I really hate to spend money on kitchen items I don’t need am not really going to use, but a good sauerkraut crock is a must-have.
It is true that instead of a crock you can use a glass jar, saucer, cloth, and weights to ferment your cabbage. However, you very likely will lose 30-50% of your batches to “overzealous bacteria.” It is difficult to find the right saucer to fit in the right jar to weigh your cabbage or other foods down enough to keep bits of food from floating to the top of the liquid.
Have you seen what becomes of those bits of cabbage?
That’s probably why you’re looking into a proper crock.
With the jar-and-saucer method, air gets into your ferment, adding to the potential for serious nastiness. I realize some people embrace the nastiness, scrape off the bad parts, and eat the rest. That’s great. I would rather eat good kraut than haul stinking kraut to my chickens.
If I didn’t have $100+ to spend on a crock, I would certainly stay with the jar approach because chickens like fermented foods too, but the first spare bit of scratch I have to spend on kitchenware would be headed right at this item.
All of this is to say, I strongly recommend a crock for fermenting sauerkraut, kimchi, and other home ferments.
Sauerkraut Factoids for Fermentation Junkies
All sauerkraut is good sauerkraut (OK, at least most sauerkraut is good sauerkraut…), but for optimum kraut, these are some food science factoids to keep in mind coming to you from the Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods.
Sauerkraut Crock Temperature Environment
If you have fermented much food, you know that there is a decided difference between fermenting in the middle of summer and the dead of winter.
What temperature is optimal for sauerkraut? 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
From the Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods:
Higher temperatures will cause an accelerated acid production, which leads to products with a so-called green and immature flavor.7 Temperatures below 10°C hamper the start of fermentation and favor spoilage of the cabbage.
Salt in Your Cabbage — Why?
Salt in your kraut has two purposes — to aid in the anaerobic environment of the ferment and to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. On the first purpose, the Handbook notes:
Directly after its addition as well as during compression of the shredded cabbage in the fermentation vessels, the sodium chloride fulfills its first function, namely causing the osmotic withdrawal of water from the cabbage cells. The emerging liquid fills up the space between the pieces of shredded cabbage and thereby supports the development of anaerobic conditions, which comprise the selective basis for the lactic acid fermentation.
And on encouraging beneficial microbes:
From the onset of fermentation, the amount of salt added affects the microbial population, since it selectively favors growth of desired groups of bacteria. An increased salt content limits growth of undesirable microorganisms such as pseudomonads, flavobacteria, Achromobacter, or fungi, whereas growth of particular lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is promoted.
Salt or a Starter Culture in Your Sauerkraut Crock?
Salt is key for a process of spontaneous fermentation however starter cultures are becoming increasing popular among consumers for home use and also in industry due primarily to food safety concerns. We’re still salt people but you may want to try a starter if you are concerned about what is brewing in your sauerkraut crock.
Potential Health Benefits of Sauerkraut
Cabbage in itself is a healthy vegetable, largely due to its content of glucosinolates, a substance that may fight cancer. Sauerkraut may magnify those benefits. From the Handbook:
Glucosinolates undergo hydrolysis during fermentation by the enzyme myrosinase. Some of the resulting metabolic products, including indoles and isothiocyanates, are highly reactive com- pounds and were shown to be powerful inhibitors of carcinogenesis in laboratory animals.
Of course, there may be the benefit of the lactic acid bacteria (LAB):
As with other fermented products, unpasteurized sauerkraut contains high numbers of viable LAB, which may include organisms showing a beneficial effect on the intestinal ecosystem of the consumer. Up to now, however, there are no reports on the probiotic efficacy of typical sauerkraut LAB, and the health effects of these organisms still have to be demonstrated.