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Fermenting crocks are stoneware pots used to make pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and other tangy delicacies. Because successful fermentation requires the growth of specific types of bacteria, it’s essential to clean your crock thoroughly before and after each use. In some cases, mold can grow in your fermenting crock. To avoid this problem, you must take particular care when cleaning the plate and weights that keep the vegetables submerged in brine.

Wash the crock inside and out with hot, soapy water. Rinse it with plenty of hot water so that no soap residue remains.

Scald the crock with boiling water for at least 30 seconds. Pour out the water and allow the crock to air dry.

Boil the lid, plate and weight (if applicable) for 10 minutes in a solution consisting of equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. Rinse them thoroughly with hot water once they cool. Allow them to air dry.

Tip

Store your crock with its lid off to prevent moisture from building up.

Warning

Older fermenting crocks sometimes have a leaded glaze that can leach into the pickling solution. Never use a secondhand fermenting crock for pickling unless you’re absolutely certain it’s lead-free.

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David Swan

David Swan has been a professional writer since 1991, working primarily on academic titles. He has written and edited textbooks on green business, community redevelopment and the chemistry of hazardous materials.