The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “ceramic”

Using ‘Natural’ Clay to Make Pottery

These videos were eye-openers for me, because I hadn’t really thought of clay in the soil as anything other than a nuisance and certainly hadn’t thought of using it for anything.

Here we learn how to find and clean clay found in a river bank. There seem to be two methods of cleaning ‘natural’ clay. One is to dry the clay and then powder it and put it through a sifter screen, the other is to put a slurry of wet clay through a sieve. I haven’t tried either, though the wet method looks easier.

“Is mixing your clay economical. I hear arguments on both sides. But I think it’s important that you know how.”

Here wildmudpottery finds clay in a trench dug for a pipeline and uses the second wet method of cleaning the clay.

Beet, Carrot, Ginger Kraut

In this video, Diana Lehua shows us how to make a beet, carrot, ginger kraut. The kraut is a lacto-fermented food — so it’s made with salt and left to sit for a day or more to develop. Diana uses a plastic pickle press that forces the the grated vegetables down into the fermentation liquid and out of the air (where the fermentation bacteria won’t be active).

She doesn’t say if this recipe has a history, but it is a lot like Eastern and Central European fermented pickles. Lacto-fermented pickles have active cultures, don’t require canning and can be kept for stretches at cool temperatures. In both Europe and Korea where people make these kinds of pickles they are stored for months in ceramic crocks that let air circulate through the pickles and keep them cool. In Korea, they also bury their kimchee crocks to keep its temperature constant.

I haven’t made this recipe yet, but would probably add crushed garlic to it for more zing. I’d also rather make my fermented foods in glass over plastic and you can make recipes like this in glass by choosing the right size jar, packing it tightly and topping it up with brine if necessary.

Old School Refrigeration: The Zeer Pot

This video shows the science behind the pot-in-pot refrigerator, aka the Zeer pot. Pot-in-pot refrigeration is ancient technology that has been revived with a lot of success in Saharan Africa and rolled out to other developing regions. In those countries small farmers use the pots to store produce for market.

Here in North America, we could use it as a picnic/drinks cooler, to free up fridge space, to save on electricity, during an emergency or if we live off-grid and electrical refrigeration isn’t an option.

This is cheap, pretty easy-to-apply technology and gives you a cooler without the ice. My wish would be for someone to produce interlocking unglazed ceramic cubes or low rectangles so that this solution would be easier to fit into a kitchen or pantry. I know from what I’ve read that the pots have to be unglazed for the device to work – since it is cooling through evaporation through the porous pottery.

I am curious about what affects how quickly the pot cools (the presenter seemed to suggest that the temperature around the Zeer is a factor) and how long the effect lasts.

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