Hello, I’m going to show you the oak barrels. They’re used for fermenting. And I’ve been making wine and salt brined or lacto-fermented vegetables in these. This is my wine barrel which I’ve been using and it is 10 liters. So it will give you 2 demijohns (gallons) of wine at a time. This is my 5 liter barrel and this is the 3 liter barrel. So, I’ll just show you what you get. You get the barrel with a loose fitting lid. You get a press which comes with the barrel. As long as you keep the vegetables under the press, under the liquid, you can’t go wrong. So that is very important.
And then have a look at the barrel! These are the oak staves. So it’s made from thick oak staves from a sustainable forest. This part is the most important part of the barrel really. It’s the chine. So you’ve got the solid (thick) base and it is slotted into grooves cut round the bottom of the staves and held on with a band. So it’s very secure. And then inside the barrel again you can see the solid base and you can see how it’s been wood fired inside and it gives wonderful woody, burnt (caramel), vanilla flavours to the food. Next, I’m going to show you how to commission the barrel when you first get it. We are going to put water in the first inch of so of the barrel. The idea is to hydrate or expand the wood around the chine which is the most important part of the barrel, first. I’ve previously boiled some water. So now its question of just pouring a few inches in. That will do it for a start. I’m going to come back in a little while and completely fill up the barrel and also immerse the oak press in the barrel I’ll leave it until I am sure that the wood
is completely expanded… I did come back and top up the barrel with hot water just from the tap. I’ve left this soaking for the duration of the day. Remember, initially, I soaked just the base of the barrel on the inside, to hydrate the chine and now the top up has hydrated all the staves. But remember this is a brand new barrel and the wood is exceptionally rich in flavour and we don’t want it to dominate the foods and you’ll see also how rich the wood is in tanins and so on. So have a look at this! There you go. One barrel ready for use!