Just received a Harsch crock. The instructions are to leave it in the kitchen for 2 - 3 days at 71F, then 4 - 6 weeks between 40F and 59F. It's 100F outside; the inside temp stays around 80F. Two questions? 1. Is 80F too hot to even think about making sauerkraut? 2. If the crock is stored in the refrigerator will the fermentation process be so slow that I should double the time it's kept in the crock?
I've fermented cabbage in jars during the summer and it comes out fine. Things ferment faster in the summer so that's something to keep in mind. I used to have a Harsch pot but gave it away to a friend who was fermenting much greater quantities than I was.
I'd find a dark, cool place in your house and put the Harsch crock there. I'd not move the pot to the fridge until the ferment has been going for some time because it will slow down tremendously and I'd want to get it going first. After a week or so I'd do a smell and/or taste test. Once the cabbage is starting to have that fermented smell you can do a smell/taste test every few days to see how fast it's fermenting. If it's fermenting fine (i.e. doesn't smell/taste like it's done) you may not need to move it to the fridge for a number of weeks.
Another idea is to largely bury the pot in the ground (in a shady place). Being buried will keep the temperature down and I imagine it's how paleo people made ferments in their Harsch pots :) I lived in Korea for a year. The women there make Kim Chi in gigantic crock pots. They prepare the ingredients during the fall harvest, put everything in the pot, and bury it for the rest of the fall and winter.
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