Cleaning a Harsch Crock

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Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Veggieman on Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:39 pm

I just received a 5L Harsch Crock as a gift and the little booklet that came with it has very vague cleaning instructions. I have read that using soaps is not advisable, so what do most of you do to get the weight stones, crock, and unglazed portion of the lid clean prior to each use?

Thanks!
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Cosmic Frog on Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:00 pm

When I first got mine, I did use soap and water. I rinsed it well and let it sit in the sun for a few days. Now, after finishing with krautchi or what not, I give it a really thorough rinse and a scrub with a clean non-soapy brush. I let it sit in the sun for a couple of days, too. Probably not necessary. I really believe that the microorganisms we're cultivating really outbreed the other ones, so I don't stress about cleaning too much, except to get the chunks off.
Good Luck!
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Gutted on Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:57 am

Veggieman wrote:I just received a 5L Harsch Crock as a gift and the little booklet that came with it has very vague cleaning instructions. I have read that using soaps is not advisable, so what do most of you do to get the weight stones, crock, and unglazed portion of the lid clean prior to each use?

Thanks!

The lid is partly unglazed? Is that on the inside?

I think washing it and then putting what you can, especially the stones, in the oven should kill anything such as moulds/fungi and unwanted bacteria. Don't go overboard with the temperature, just keep it in for half an hour or so.
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Tibor on Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:37 pm

The inside of the lid and the stones are unglazed in my Harsch crock .The crock itself is glazed. I've been around unglazed pots and the crock stones are much denser and I made sour beets with the stones submerged in it's juice and was surprised that they didn't get stained at all. I'm not hesitating using a gentle natural cleaner to rinse them.
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Gutted on Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:05 am

The Schmitt Crocks, the grey ones at least, are fully glazed except for the stones. The quality can be mixed because I received one which had two unglazed areas in the bottom of the crock and I had to complain to get a replacement.

The glazing colour finish quality is better on the brown crocks than on the grey. The colour can be quite patchy and uneven on the grey crocks.
Last edited by Gutted on Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Crockof... on Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:26 pm

During Summer I usually just use hot water and scrub brush and leave in sunlight for a couple days. Spring, Fall, and Winter I use hydrogen peroxide, typically 30% bottles that are sold at pharmacies. Mixed fifty-fifty with water and scrub the surfaces glazed, unglazed, and weight stones then let dry for a few days.
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby redhookdave on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:42 pm

OK, I let some kimchi go for a couple months too long and now the weights from my harsch crock stink like butt and feet even though i've washed them, soaked them in bleach solution, sanitizer, left them outside for a few days. They seemed fine, but after a batch of cucumber pickles, not only do they stink again, but all my new pickles now taste like butt and feet, and the weight stones stink again.

I'm looking for any advice from people who've dealt with this before or have any creative solutions. I went by a local pottery place and they said they could glaze it, if I found out how hot the stones were fired. I have heard about people using glass weights, but cant find anything bigger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

any help would be appreciated!
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Tibor on Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:58 am

Redhookdave, You can't successfully glaze an unglazed piece of pottery after it already has been fired at a high temperature. The pores of the clay are closed and will not take a glaze. My advice is for you to have your local potter make you identical stones but to glaze them. I had my potter friend make me such stones for a couple of fermenting vessels that required specific sizes. She glazed them and they work great. My Gartopf Harsch crock unglazed stones are very non porous. I made sour beets and was surprised that they didn't stain at all!
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Christopher Weeks on Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:27 am

I've reglazed glaze-failures. It's tricky to get the glaze onto the pot, but it seems that bringing it up to revitrification temp works just fine at incorporating the two coats and getting it to stick. There might possibly be a decrease in adhesion but I didn't notice anything like that. My problem in that scenario was dripping onto the shelf.

But short of that, your potter might be able to help my just firing the weight up in a bisque firing (much cooler than the glaze firing) which should destroy whatever organic contamination is in place on your stones -- even if it won't prevent the same thing from happening in the future if you do the same kind of thing. And you could maybe do a good enough approximation of that by putting them in the oven and bringing the temp up to 550 or whatever (bring it up slowly) and soak it at that temp for a while before bringing the temp back down.
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Re: Cleaning a Harsch Crock

Postby Gutted on Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:37 pm

I think that it might be worth putting them in the oven at max temperature and seeing if that doesn't fix them. No bacteria will live at those kinds of temperatures and any organic matter should be burned off.

Do that then give them a scrub with a wire brush.

I find it interesting that you have some experience with pottery and glazing Christopher because I have a question for you if you would be so kind to answer.

I have a fermenting crock made from clay with a very light grey glaze which has some missing glaze in the bottom of the crock. I don't want to use it like this and wondered whether there was any way to fix it? The areas are only about 8mm or 3/32" wide and about 70mm or 2.75" long.

Is there any method that could fix the glazing on the crock? What kind of temperatures would be needed?
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