Dry curing humidity control: I don't know why I complicate things this much

Over the past few days I've purchased about 3 humidifiers (all used, about $11 total) and experienced a bit of frustration. I thought this was the best time of the year to cure sausage because my basement humidity increases during the midwest's rainy season and continues into the upcoming months (ca. 60°F and 60% RH). Now, I realize I was an idiot. After reading Ruhlman's post on sopressata (it's a fermented sausage, but the dry cure part should be the same for saucisson sec), he uses a simple dorm fridge with a salt bath for curing. The salt in the water (sat'd) only serves to bring down the humidity if it gets over 75% (a museum curator's trick).

With my previous set up, I was shooting for more airflow and humidity. Then I learned that evaporative wick-type humidifiers have a tough time breaking 55%. They work well when the humidity is winter-low, but not so well after that. They operate with a type of theoretical humidistat based on the method of water evaporation. I also tried a centrifugal humidifier where the water is sprayed and atomized in front of a fan. This was another cheapie and worked well, but pegged at 62%. After reading Ruhlman's post, I gave up on airflow and went with the near perfect plastic cylinder you see here (it is not a trash can). A dry run, no sausage suspended - just a humidity meter and I'm getting 70+% RH.

In hindsight, I learned a lot, only blew $11, and have an 8 gal humidifier that can probably humidify the entire house next winter (only $7.13, operates for about a dime a day and, it's very quiet). I guess I've had more expensive lessons.

I now have my curing environment worked out, my 2" dia. casings, and only need to order some mold (Andrew, need anything from Butcher-Packer.com?) and I'm ready.


Andrew said...

Dave-I'm good, thanks. I do have a couple of bacteria cultures in the freezer if you want to use some.

Dave said...

Might just take you up on that sometime this summer. I'm finally getting to order the mold tonight. I'm sure I'll have extra leftover.