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Fermentation Tips & Tricks - Should I put the crock in a cool/warm place to ferment?

Posted on March 25, 2014 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

Where you keep your crock when it's fermenting is really up to you.  But the temperature will effect the speed of the fermenting process.


If you keep the crock in a warmer place, it will ferment faster.  However, if it is colder, the fermenting will slow down.  If it is too cold, it can slow down the process to the point of virtually stopping.  And on the opposite end, if it's too hot it could speed it up too much and end up rotting before you know it!

An average room temperature is best.  We like to keep our crocks on the floor or counter top in our kitchen.  This way we can keep an eye on it and listen for that "popping" sound which means it's fermenting away!

If you have a root cellar or basement with a concrete slab, you can put your crock directly on the cold floor once it is finished fermenting.  The cold in the concrete will transfer to the stone crock to provide a steady cool temperature for storage.  This is the time when you want the cold to stop your fermenting process.

The taste of your final product will be different based on the speed and length of fermenting.  So experiment!  That's the fun part of fermenting, the smallest variable can completely change the results!

Fermentation Tips & Tricks - How much sauerkraut will a 10L crock make?

Posted on March 18, 2014 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

Another email questions we've received more than once - just how much sauerkraut will I get? 

You can expect a full batch of sauerkraut from our 10L fermenting crocks to yield about 10-14 pints. As the cabbage ferments, it will reduce in volume.  Therefore, the sauerkraut you end up with will take up less space than the cabbage you started with. 

Another interesting point - the crock actually has a larger capacity than 10L.  The 10L size is about the maximum amount of ingredients that can fit inside the crock while still being able to maneuver the stone weights into position.

As far as pickles go, you won't get the reduction of size during the fermenting process that happens with sauerkraut.  Last summer, we fermented a 10 liter crock full of the surplus of cucumbers from our garden and ended up with about 7 quart size jars.

And what about a 5 liter fermenting crock?  It's pretty simple math!  If a 10L makes 10-14 pints of sauerkraut, you can expect a 5L crock to make 5-7 pints.

While some people may think that sounds like a lot of sauerkraut, if you love it as much as we do, you know it won't last long!

Fermenting Crock Size Comparison

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

One of the hardest parts of online shopping is understanding the size of the item you are purchasing.  If you've never seen a fermenting crock in person, you might have a hard time deciding which size you should get.  In addition, fermentation crocks are often referred to by the size in liters, something that Americans don't often deal with.  Today, we wanted to offer you a comparison of the most popular sizes of the Boleslawiec fermenting crocks that we offer - the 5 liter and 10 liter.

This photos shows the 5L fermenting crock on the left and the 10L fermenting crock on the right.  While the capacity of the 10L crock is twice that of the 5L crock, you can see from this picture that the size is not twice as big.  The 10L is only slightly taller than the 5L (14" versus 13" for the actual crock not including the lid).  The primary difference is in the diameter of the crocks.  The 5L is 9" across, while the 10L is 11". 

If you're confused by the liter description - the 10L crock is approximately 2.6 gallons while the 5L crock is 1.3 gallons.  There is also a weight difference between the crocks with the 5 liter fermenting crock weighing about 16 pounds and the 10 liter fermenting crock weighing 28 pounds.

Still having a hard time choosing which crock will be best for you?  In our experience the 5L can be stored on your countertop - it doesn't take up too much space and it isn't too heavy to lift and move around (even when filled).  However, when we ferment in the 10L crock, we typically fill it in place on floor and don't move it around once it's filled.

Hopefully that gives you a better idea of the differences between the 5L & 10L fermentation crocks!  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at emily@stonecreektrading.com. 

Fermentation Tips & Tricks - What went wrong?

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

“I just checked on my fermenting batch and it smells/looks awful.  What happened?”

Here at Stone Creek Trading, we don't just want to sell you something. We want to make sure you also have all the information you need to enjoy the things we sell.  That's why we take the time to answer your personal emails and share our knowledge about the products we sell.

A lot of our customers are first time ferment-ers, which means we often hear about fermenting mishaps as they figure out process.  But for every customer that reaches out to us via email (emily@stonecreektrading.com), I know there are others out there who don't.  So here's our advice if something goes wrong!

If the contents of your fermenting crock don’t look or smell good, you definitely need to throw it out.  If you think it might be rotten, trust your gut!

With fermenting there are a lot of variables so it's hard to know exactly what went wrong but here are a few suggestions -

  • Wash the crock with soap and hot water and let it dry completely.  You may also want to rinse it out with boiling water. (Note - some people (Kryz’s grandfather included) believe that you should never wash a fermenting crock as the bacteria in it should be allowed to pass between fermenting recipes!)
  • Make sure the water in the airlock rim does not completely evaporate, since this will allow air to enter the crock and possibly let mold in.
  • Conversely, make sure you do not overfill the rim as this water can then get into the ferment and let bad bacteria in.
  • Check your ratio of salt to water.  You may need to add more salt.  Salt is what kills the bad bacteria, so you need enough of it to get rid of the bad bacteria but not too much that it also kills the good bacteria. (Note - if you do get a good batch of sauerkraut that tastes too salty, don't throw it out.  Put it in some mason jars in the refrigerator and let it sit for 1-2 weeks.  The saltiness will decrease with some time!)
  • Make sure you are using either distilled water or water that has been boiled and allowed to cool when making brine.  This makes sure there isn't anything in the water that is changing the bacteria in the ferment.
  • While you don't have to, you can check the ferment every few days by removing the lid and looking at it.  If you notice any mold on the top, use a clean dry wood utensil to skim the mold off the top and remove.  If any mold happens to get in the crock, skimming it off the top will keep it from developing and overtaking everything.
  • The ingredients need to always be below the brine.  This is one thing you can check for when you open the fermenting crock.  The stones should hold all the ingredients below the water.  If you are making sauerkraut, you can place a couple large cabbage leaves on top of the shredded cabbage before putting the stones on top to help keep everything beneath the water

Those are our quick suggestions, but remember every batch will be different.  Every cabbage/cucumber has a different amount of natural bacteria, and the salt water ratio, and temperature and humidity all effect the outcome!  We have had bad batches ourselves with no idea why.  You just tweak things the next time and keep a closer eye on it.


And of course, you are always welcome to send us an email (emily@stonecreektrading.com) and we can troubleshoot what went wrong together!

Out of Stock Products Update

Posted on March 06, 2014 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

As a small business, we don't have a gigantic warehouse filled with products. We try to evaluate our customers needs and anticipate sales volumes, but we do run out of stock of some of our products before we can get more.  Because we import everything we offer directly from the manufacturer in Poland, it takes 2-3 months from the time we place an order until we have the product in our possession and can offer it for sale.

Over the last year our business has been scaling up to meet demand.  We've seen steady increases in sales every month, and are working hard to scale up the business accordingly.  Last month we placed our largest order to date and today it was all packed up into a shipping container in Poland!  It now starts the long journey "across the pond".

Our popular cabbage shredders and 3.6L Green Fermenting Crocks are just a few of the products that are currently out of stock.  But we are happy to say that more are now on the way with the latest shipment!  We expect to have these items and others available in mid-April, but as we know from past experience, customs clearance can take anywhere from a few days to 5 weeks! 

We'll keep you updated here on the blog and our Facebook page if there are any delays to the shipment.  But if you would like to receive a direct email first when these items are back in stock, just send me a quick email - emily@stonecreektrading.com!

Fermentation Tips & Tricks - Does the crock need to be full?

Posted on March 04, 2014 by Emily Kociolek | 0 comments

We get a lot of questions about fermenting by email.  Most of our customers are first time ferment-ers, and it can be an intimidating process when you're not sure what you're doing!  We love getting emails from customers and having a chance to interact.  Being an online business, we don't get a lot of direct communication with our customers, and enjoy the opportunity to help someone out! 

We will be taking time over the next few weeks here on the blog to share some of the most common questions we get via email.  We figure there are a lot more people out there with questions like these!

Does the Crock need to be full?

If you're fermenting for the first time, you might not want to invest in the prep time and ingredients to fill a full 5 or 10 liter fermenting crock.  And the great news is, you don't have to! 

You can absolutely do a smaller amount of ingredients as a sample run.  This is also a great way to try out a new recipe if you're more experienced.  Just make sure you have enough to cover the bottom of the crock at least 3" to make sure your ferment is fully submerged below the brine. 

Getting the ratio of salt right is the key, so be careful when adjusting the quantities to keep the ratio the same.  Temperature and salt have the most control over how long the fermentation process takes.  If you have too little salt, it won't kill the bad bacteria and the cabbage will rot instead of fermenting.  However, if you have too much salt it will kill the good bacteria too and it won't sour or ferment.  

Just remember that it's an experimentation process and each batch will be a little different.  And of course, have fun with it!

Remember, if you try something and it doesn't work out, you can always email me - emily@stonecreektrading.com - and we can troubleshoot together!

The Traditional Food Movement

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Kryz Kociolek | 0 comments

Our mission is to provide traditional kitchenware products like those that our ancestors used.  When we think back to the way our grandparents cooked, it was often a much simpler process.  They often cooked without recipes, instead creating delicious, healthy foods with an intuition that has unfortunately not been passed down to our generation.

They used simple, whole ingredients grown in their own garden or nearby.  They cooked with simple tools that worked well, many of those tools lasting their lifetimes, and beyond.  Modernization is a great thing, but in the process we have regrettably turned our back on many of the important lessons and tools that worked well.  We want to provide a place for you to find those lost traditional housewares that lasted generations.

And it seems like we aren't the only ones who think traditional food is a great thing!  Check out an excerpt from a recent article on Hungry for Change, 5 Traditional Foods That Everyone Should Be Eating -

"It seems our ancestors might have held more wisdom than they knew, especially when it comes to natural health. Discover 5 traditional food staples that have begun a modern revival for their remarkable health benefits."

And if you are interested in trying out #2 on the list - Sauerkraut - we have some great tools for you!  Both our fermenting crocks and cabbage shredders make the process quicker, easier and more straightforward!

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