Monday, March 9, 2009

What a Crock!

(Update: A reader kindly left a comment reminding me of the dangers of lead and other metals that were frequently- and sometimes still are- used in the glazes of many ceramic, stone and earthenware items. These are not food safe! I completely forgot about this potential danger. Darn. I'm going to do some more research and see if I can get a lead test kit, but until then, there will be no sauerkraut in the crock for me...)

Two girlfriends and I made a day trip to Perth on Saturday, stopping at flea markets, antique shops and thrift stores along the way. I was really pleased to find some good items.

I'm baking more, and have been short on bowls, but not anymore! I fell in love with these two pyrex bowls that I got a charity thrift shop, along with an embroidered table cloth (not pictured).

I'll be using this enamel pot in my sun oven.

I'm so thrilled to have found this stone crock.

The first thing I'm going to make is sauerkraut.


Anonymous said...

Those bowls are so cute! What a find.

Anonymous said...

Do you have issues with using an old crock for food? I have one but have hesitated due to concern about metals in glazing.

Sarah said...

Love the crock. Should be wonderful for sauerkraut!

Amber said...

Oh crap! You're absolutely right EJ, there's a very real possibility that my crock has a lead glaze.
I totally had that in mind as I was looking at (and avoiding) all the other dishware, but for some reason I didn't even think about it when I saw the crock.
I'm going to do some research and get a lead test to be sure, but sadly, I may not be able to use the crock for food purposes.
Thanks for reminding me of this.
I'm going to update the post as well, so others are aware.

Anonymous said...

That crock is quite the find (jealous) ... going to try making some kimchi too?

GEM said...

Your crock looks as if it might have a salt glaze, which were a method of glazing crocks, back in the day. From its appearance as shown on your photo, it does appear to be a salt glaze on the outside. Crocks are made in a high fire, with a feldspar based glaze, rather than lead. The clay, highly vitrefied due to the clay body used and the high firing temperature, would have a non-lead based glaze, which are generally used in lower fired ware. Do some research on production methods to set your mind at ease. G

Amber said...

Hi GEM. I did some research last night on the crock. My crock says E.L. Farrar, Iberville, PQ. From that I was able to determine that the Farrar family generally used salt glazes and opaque slip glazes for their stoneware, and my crock was probably made in the mid to late 1800's. I also learned from a contemporary potter that, as you mention, stone crocks are fired at a high heat, whereas lead glazed items are low fired.
I think there's a pretty good chance that I can go ahead and use my crock for sauerkraut! (But will do a lead test just to make sure.)
And thanks so much for your helpful information GEM. Having you back up what I learned from the internet, makes me feel even better. Much appreciated!