Caring for Your Fermenting Stones

When you buy a fermenting crockpot from us, you also get two fermenting stones, otherwise known as weights. Their function is to hold the food to be fermented under the fermenting liquid.

Cleaning Your Fermenting Stones

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, the stones you use to weigh down the cabbage go mouldy. Here are some ideas to clean them …

  1. Scrub the mould off as much as you can.
  2. Put the stones in a pot with a few tablespoons of vinegar and hot water.
  3. Leave overnight.
  4. Rinse the stones.
  5. Dry the stones in your oven (low temperature will do) so you know the stones are thoroughly dry.
  6. Pack them away in a dry spot.

Other simple options are:

  • Boiling water
  • Steam

Sometimes these options are not powerful enough to clean the fermenting stones. Although the mould will probably already be killed, you may want to try more powerful solutions:

  • Food grade hydrogen peroxide
  • A steriliser such as Milton Anti-Bacterial Solution, which is used to sterilise baby bottles
  • Bleach

Food grade hydrogen peroxide is not that easy to come by. As we have a home dairy and use hydrogen peroxide as our sanitising liquid, we purchase ours from a chemical supplier in a 20L drum and it’s expensive. And we have to pick it up ourselves in our ute as it is classed as an explosive substance that isn’t allowed to be transported in a closed vehicle. However, if you do manage to get some, it’s the best sanitiser I know because it is very powerful, yet when it breaks down in the cleaning process, it breaks down into hydrogen and water, both totally harmless substances.

If you have to resort to Milton or bleach to clean your stones, the stones will go white after you’ve left them overnight in the solution. Just make sure you keep rinsing the stones until you can’t smell any trace of the chemicals. Only then should you dry them.

Preventing the fermenting stones going mouldy

As usual though, prevention is so much easier than cure.

  • Never put the fermenting stones away wet
  • Dry the stones thoroughly in a warm oven or in the sun
  • If you live in a very humid climate, you might even consider storing them in a strong onion bag or orange bag, and hanging the bag in the pantry or laundry so there is air flow around them.

Suppliers of Cleaning Products

The vinegar, Milton’s and bleach are all readily available at your local supermarket. We purchase our 20L drum of foodgrade hydrogen peroxide 35% from the Consolidated Chemical Company. However, be prepared to spend over $300 a drum (it lasts for ages so I can’t even tell you the latest price) and pick it up in an open vehicle, in our case our farm ute.

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