Drying Fridge Update

Chorizo drying in the fridgeIn May I wrote about my fridge set-up for air drying meat. It's now been fine-tuned through experience and seems to be working OK at present.

There's no doubt that if you can find somewhere that has the temperature and humidity conditions needed, it's far easier than trying to artificially create them; a cellar or pantry in an older house should be ideal, particularly if the summer months are avoided. "Summer", I hear you say, what bloomin' summer?

That said, the first time I used my new set-up the weather was scorching hot and humid with it. The fan moving air from outside the fridge to the inside just resulted in the fridge working overtime to keep cool, and the already humid air increased in relative humidity as it cooled - not what I wanted at all Doh! The fan has been moved and the vent covered; it now just circulates air in the fridge, and then only when the fridge motor is actually running as it's connected to the fridge's temperature controller. It's quite a large computer fan though and I'm going to replace it with a smaller less powerful one in due course as whilst you need air-flow you don't want a gale!

The hygrostat now operates a dehumidifier in the room the fridge is in to lower humidity when required instead of operating the fan. The mini-fogger which was used to increase humidity when required, has been replaced with a humidifier which works far better and is less messy.

I also find that a tray of salt in the fridge keeps the humidity nicely balanced - it's changed daily (when I remember).

The system is still better at increasing humidity than reducing it but I think it's working as well as I should expect for such a Heath Robinson arrangement! Short of digging a cellar, I guess it's the best I'll get; certainly everyone's enjoyed the meat I've dried so far, and it's nice to be doing it safely.


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There are thirteen comments

Scott

I’ve been wrestling with mine for about 6 months, Phil. I finally caved in about a month ago and bought a humidity controller to try and get this thing right so I could go away for a week and not worry. Came home and found conditions perfect, exactly as I’d left it. It certainly is a high wire act, trying to get everything to work in unison. Good luck for future endeavors. BTW, I find the tray of salt an added burden.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 16:49
Phil

Scott – I also use a humidity controller – what does yours operate to reduce the humidity?
It’s funny how different things seem to work in different climatic conditions – oh how I wish that my problem was increasing the humidity rather than decreasing it.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 18:03
Scott

Mine is hooked up to an ultrasonic humidifier. It shoots up to about 85%, then falls slowly to about 70%.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 20:44
Scott

Oh, sorry. As far as the reduction of humidity, the cycling of the refrigerator does that. If you have a problem dehumidifying, get a light and point it at your temperature controller probe. This will cause your refrigerator to cycle on more frequently, thus decreasing your humidity. You can see the example of the light at my blog as well as Jason Molinari’s.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 20:47
Phil

I think that there must be two different ways fridge’s operate? Mine hardly reduces the humidity at all when it cycles on. Trust me to get the wrong type!!

However, my hygrostat controls both a humidifier and a dehumidifier, with about a 5% gap between. This solves most of the problems and a tray of dry salt semms to help – I guess that it’s down to differing climatic conditions, whether you have air conditioning (I don’t) etc.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 21:41
Scott

Ahhh. My house is climate controlled(AC). My hygrostat has 2 different settings, humidify and dehumidify. Mine is set to humidify(obviously) and hooked up to the humidifier. When low, it will shoot up until it registers 5% above the set number. The cycling of the refrigerator brings it down. Is it THAT humid where you are? Rain aside, of course.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 21:47
Phil

Rain aside? At the moment it only rains twice a week – once for 3 days and once for 4! Outside humidity has regularly been in the high 80’s – of course that goes even higher as it cools in the fridge – see http://www.stormtrack.co.uk/Pages/LiveWe.. for the current RH – this weather station is about 10 miles from me.

I guess I’m trying to do the same thing as you do with your climate control – the dehumidifier reduces RH in the whole room – it’s too big to fit in the fridge.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 02-09-’09 22:25
Scott

So, your frig doesn’t help equalize the RH at all?

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 03-09-’09 02:17
Scott

As long as you’ve got it where you want it, doesn’t matter how you do it.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 03-09-’09 15:30
Phil

That’s true – but it’s always interesting to hear how other people have solved similar problems.
Thanks Scott.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 03-09-’09 18:22
Scott

I’m certainly no authority, Phil. After 6 months, I’ve only just gotten mine straightened out.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 03-09-’09 18:52
Phil

Yes Scott, we have travelled parallel routes. Hopefully, now we’ve put our findings online, those who follow will find it easier.

Phil, (Email ) (URL) - 03-09-’09 19:41
Scott

Take pictures of the monster bresaola prior to hanging it. I want to have a gander at it.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 09-09-’09 21:42

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the www.sausagemaking.org forum.

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