I can always tell when it’s fall because I have a flutter of calls about using a Red Wing crock to make sauerkraut and pickles with the standard questions:
1. Is it safe to use this old crock?
2. What is if there is a crack in it?
3. How do I clean it?
4. Does the glaze have lead in it?
Luckily, our stoneware expert Al Kohlman is on hand to answer these questions and give me all the information I needed.Â So for you kraut makers here are your answers:
1. Yes, Making Saurkraut, pickles, and storing meat was the primary use of these crocks when they were first produced. Many experts will tell you that the crock is still the best way to make kraut and pickles.
2. I have heard both sides on using a crock with a crack in it. If you are going to use it consider cleaning the crack with a rag compress with bleach for a few minutes.
3. Cleaning the crock before use. I would wash it with hot water and soap than poor boiling water over the sides and the bottom before packing the kraut. I would check out the Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Diane Roupe.
4. Maybe, Depending on the age they glaze may contain lead. It should not be a problem because the crock hasÂ been fired in a kiln and there is no way for it to leach out.
At the 2010 RWCS Convention one of our speakers was Diane Roupe, author of the Blue Ribbon Cookbook. She came to give a presentation about making sauerkraut and pickles in a Red Wing crock.Â Many members were excited and glad to have a blue ribbon winning expert talk about making kraut and pickles in their crock. We hope to have this session in the future; but, in the meantime I would check out her book.