Aktualisiert: Feb 13
We have always been proponents of working with natural substances. Quartz or granite stones are just one of them. They save us a lot of work, time & money. But that is not the only reason why we use them. Stones have been used like that for centuries. There were no fancy weights before & stones were always easily available. Stones also, like any other natural substance, impart a natural vibrations That is why we love using them & that is why we have been using them from day one. And that is why we always recommend them.
We usually use the big & heavy ones at the preparation stage for our veggies. Two of the heaviest ones that we have, weigh 20 & 25 kg respectively. They save us a lot of squeezing & pressing time.
So, once our vegetables are cut, we add unrefined sea salt & normally we would have to do a lot of rubbing & squeezing. Instead we place the heaviest stones on top & we let the stones & time do its thing.
Below, you can see Savoy cabbage, just after cutting, underneath our stones. The one on the left weighs approx. 25 kg.
Some 12 hours later, juices will come out of this cabbage & after mixing with other ingredients, the future Superkraut will go into out big fermenters.
Below is our Winterkraut "under pressure". Winterkraut is made with white cabbage, butternut squash & carrots.
In the following picture you will see our Cauliflower with Indian Spices.
So these were the pics with different veggies just set up for wilting. Below, you'll see the next day ones, showing the results of all the "hard" work by our stones. Red cabbage is in the the next picture.
This one will become our "Red Cabbage Pickled in Kombucha Vinegar. Just look at all the juices that came out.
Same thing with red onions. After 2-3 months they will change the color a bit & they will be super delicious.
So these were our big stones. Medium size stones usually go inside our fermentation crocks as an extra weight to keep the vegetables down. During fermentation is is very important to keep the vegetables below the liquid. This prevents from molds & Kahm yeast. When vegetables stick above the liquid, these are the spots that are attacked by molds first. Heavies weights eliminate that problem. Especially at times of warmer weather, when the vegetables are very active & they can easily push up the lighter weights.
Below. is a pic from inside of a fermenter that is filled with Kimchi .
As you can see, we have the original stone weights that usually come with those crocks & we still use one of our medium size stones.
And the smaller ones we use inside our 5 L fermentation jars. Those jars have a narrow opening, making it difficult to find one piece stone that would do the job.
Also the standard weights are too big for these jars. As you can see on the pic below.
You could find specially made stone weights that would fit through the opening. They are usually made of a 4-piece set, but they tend to be quite expensive. They usually go for about 20 Euro.
We use smaller stones for that. They work great & they do not cost us anything.
When we're out in nature, we look for suitable stones that would do the job. Most of our stones come from inside big forests outside Berlin. Far away from roads & fields, to avoid pollution & pesticides.
Below is one stone that was big, but still of the right size to fit through the jar's opening. It sits on top of a small batch of Sauerkraut that was made for one of our Fermentation Workshops.
On the pic below you can see a part of our Superkraut that went into those 5 L glass jars. When we make a batch of fermented vegetables, we always put a portion of that into glass jars. Those glass jars are our showcase pieces & they end up either on our show window, or on our special shelf inside our "dining room". Inside the first jar, you can see two out of three stones that went inside of each of those jars.
In the following picture, you can see our Three Cabbage Sauerkraut, just before we close the lids. Each one of those jars has at least one stone inside.
So, why did we write this blog entry?
To show you that you don't need to use some fancy & expensive weights to get the job done. You can simply use natural stones. They will not cost you anything.
But there's a caution here. When you decide to use stones like that, make sure that you are 100% sure that you have granite or quartz stones. If you use some other ones, you can ruin your ferment, as the stone can react with the acids from fermentation & it can slowly start to dissolve inside your jar. You will start seeing foam & it might start smelling really bad.
Another caution: make sure that you properly disinfect your stones before using.
For those who are not sure which stones to use, or how to properly disinfect them, we started to offer stones for our 5 & 3 Liter Fermentation jars. They are usually packed in a plastic bag & you will get three stones that were previously disinfected. They are ready for use. All you have to do is to rinse them in hot water.
You can pick those stones in our Kombucha Café, or online through our store.
Here are the links: