Fermentation Finds – Cabbage Shredders and Crocks

Fermentation Finds – Cabbage Shredders and Crocks

As lucky finds go, I hit the jackpot this holiday weekend! Not only did I score an incredibly beautiful crock at the Fermentation on Wheels Fundraiser on Saturday, but I stumbled across a beloved shop’s sidewalk sale less than a block from my house. Little did I know I would find a brand new, handcrafted, German cabbage shredder there for five dollars! I genuinely could not believe my eyes when I came across each of these items. I couldn’t be more excited to get using them!

fermentation crock

Feeling a little Greek Goddess-like with this crock around the house

The crock comes from a local potter Miki Palchick of Wood and Clay Kitchen. She’s a food justice educator by day and an extraordinarily talented artist by night. This crock comes ready made with weights (also handmade) that fit perfectly inside. I couldn’t be more excited to get some veggies into this beauty! I can’t stop staring at it and I’m ready to hear it speak its bloop-y language to me!

Handmade weights and a water seal lip make this beauty just as functional as she is purdy

Handmade weights and a water seal lip make this beauty just as functional as she is purdy

Cabbage shredders are tools that were used long before food processors came around to shred cabbage into small, symmetrical pieces perfect for making a uniform sauerkraut to last the winter.  If you’re poking around grandpa’s old barn and find something that looks like an old wash board that has razor sharp blades rather than ridges, you probably have yourself a kraut shredder. Mine promises to slice even, 1mm pieces of cabbage. It’s badass.

cabbage slicer

This machine is quite ingenious. The box at the bottom is beveled to hook in to tracks on either side of the board. Place the cabbage in the box and slide it up and down as you would clothes on a washboard and voila! Gorgeously cut cabbage. It’s enough to make a girl weep.

This shredder reminded me of something important. I work for myself (and for clients) and I can definitely get bogged down in work and stuck inside my home. I’m not complaining. Working from home with clients I adore beats my former 2-3 hour daily roundtrip commute by about four trillion points. Still there are days when running the dog is the only real reason I have to step outside my door, so sometimes, during those really busy weeks I need a reminder to go outside and look around. I live in a chaotic, vibrant part of a beautiful, vibrant Philadelphia and I generally don’t have to walk more than half a block before I run into something that makes it worth my while to get out and about. When the little, Italian dame who owns the shop where I found this shredder told me that they wanted to get rid of it and were only going to charge me five dollars, it felt a bit like a nudge in the ribs from the universe: “See? When you walk out your door, you never know what amazingness awaits!”

The shredder is slightly flawed, but given that I got a $100 discount on it and it’s a flaw that can be fixed, I’m a very, very happy kraut-maker. I can hardly wait to bust this out at my next ‘kraut class!

Did you ever get lucky with a crazy good fermentation bargain? Score 20 Fidos for a nickel a pop at the thrift store? Find grandma’s dusty old crock in the attic? Share your joy in the comments!

Equipment Ferment

11 comments

  1. Kristin says:

    Amazing find! I haven’t been so lucky yet, but I should keep my eyes open a little better as well. ;-) I had no idea what a kraut shredder was and it seems ingenious. Enjoy it!

  2. Becky says:

    First of all, I want to know what a food justice educator is. I might want to be that when I grow up.

    Last year the crock I stumbled upon is an old Pfaltzgraff ceramic one labeled ‘flour’ on it. I picked it up for practically a song – under $10 – on a day I had set out specifically to find something to make kim chee in with the beautiful locally grown bok choy I had on hand. Having grown up in York County, where Pfaltzgraff is originally from, it was a slightly sentimental find as well.

    • Amanda says:

      There are a several organizations in Philly that are dedicated to food justice. The potter works for the Urban Nutrition Initiative (another, The Food Trust has been recognized nationally for their innovative programs around food justice). There are all these awesome kids walking around town, helping kids learn about how foods grow, teaching them to gar dent and helping kids learn to cook and eat better (among other things!). It’s pretty amazing. Seems kind of like a dream job to me, too!

      As for your find, man! That was lucky! I would love to get my hands on a vintage crock as well. I’ve been working really hard at purging my excess items, but this crock was too beautiful to pass up!

      • Amanda says:

        Hi Mike,

        This is a brand new crock, just thrown. You should definitely always ask the potter if their glazes are food safe. Most of the handmade crocks I’ve seen are unglazed on the inside, including this one.

  3. Sara says:

    That is one lovely crock. We have a potter friend who made me a beautiful crock similar to yours. I love have beautiful things that are functional too. And my husband just scored two BIG vintage crocks this weekend for free. They were used as planters and I’m not sure yet if they’ll return to food-grade usage, but we’ll see!

    • Amanda says:

      Lucky lady! That sounds pretty amazing! I always desire the giant ones, but the reality of my rowhome makes them a distant dream!

  4. Miki says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out Amanda! I hope your crock serves you well. If any of your readers would like their own, my e-mail is miki.palchick@gmail.com. All my glazes are food safe and can go in the microwave and dishwasher ( not that you’d have much reason to microwave them, or much space for them in the dishwasher). They are actually glazed on the inside, I just picked a darker earthier glaze for the interior of yours. If they were unglazed they’d be fine though since they are fired to 2,300 degrees and at that temperature all the clay particles melt together and become water tight, they might just be a little harder to clean because the clay isn’t as smooth without the glaze on top. Looking forward to hearing about all the delicious things you make in it and thanks again!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Miki,

      I love my crock! And yes, my face is red! I don’t know how I saw the inside of the crock as unglazed (I think I was envisioning the underside of the weights), but I saw that I had been wrong on that when I started my first batch in it! Very excited to taste the results. I’ll add your email to the post. I’m sure there are others who would love to get their hands on your uniquely crafted beauties!

      • miki says:

        oh no! no need for blushing, Amanda, it would have been totally possible! What is in your first batch? Can’t wait to hear how it turns out! Thanks for all your support and happy pickling!

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