Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

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Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby Grahamiwa » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:14 am

Hi all

I have just joined the forum.

I have been making my own bacon for about three years now. I generally use the Pancetta recipe from the Charcuterie book by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polycen.

Has anyone made a curing/drying cabinet from scratch?

Where I live I can't easily get an old fridge so intend to make a cabinet from scratch and will be using Peltier modules for the cooling.

With average temperatures around 30C - 86F curing temperatures shoul not be a problem.
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby GUS » Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:34 am

Whilst home tinkering is admirable, I would remind yo that there is a lot of difference between the vast amounts of peltiers / peltier components out there in term of quality, equating to longevity.

Unless you have discount stock of components & great assurity / contents insurance that would equate into time & ingredents vs end product replacement, then I would question making a scratch built unit you expect to run constantly (as it were) over a period of years.

What is the scenario with old fridges being unobtainable at your end exactly!?
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby Grahamiwa » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:33 am

Gus

I live way out in the country in the Philippines. Old fridges here tend to get patched up until they are only good for scrap metal. The compressor and refrigeration system will be useless.
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby wheels » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:42 am

I can't help, but welcome to the forum. :D :D

Please post further about your project as you build it. I'm sure that it will be of interest to others.

Phil
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby GUS » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:04 am

Ok, understood, my family came from the uppermost reaches of scotland where electricity was always over the hill, but not where they were, so am used to the patch & re-use aspect (typical crofter whereby you store everything in case it can be utilised, something Donald trump would never get, ..see his bullsh1t with regards to behaviour no golf player on a course would never be allowed back after ,,,if they didn't own the damn place) :roll:

SO what can you work with? (kiss principle).

Space? ...if so I think, geology dependent go old school & use a galvanised steel cabinet & a pit set up to act as a natural cooler & see how that went small scale, with the introduction of a portable de-humidifier & modern insulation then scale it up if it looks viable, ..by modern I mean celotex & other foilbased insulation / heat reflecting thermal based material, wood, a damp proof membrane & sand bagged piles to keep the temperature like that of a cave, ..y'know the winter squash stores of old if viable

So a scrap unit might still help you out as your inner chamber.
Of course it is experimental, but you never have to go far into the earth to achieve cool climes, take a look at your local geological survey data to get a rough idea.

On the subject of peltier units to draw moisture, as per the last post, I have had a mini unit running on test for 8 weeks before it died (£20) ..under a 3 year warranty, needless to say it went pop the other day showing a full water fault regardless, a new one is to be sent over from europe so I can take the old one apart & see where the weak link is hopefully, but this is my point, without back up units in something like this (& the original receipt kept safe) any plans could go awry, so have a back up unit ready to take the strain or run them on a meticulous timed schedule so the other circuitry involved can cool also thus extending life.

I'm sure a university would have some geo-data available if approached. It requires hard physical work beyond small scale experimentation, but you would get some scaleable base line temp & humidity data.
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby GUS » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:35 am

May I ask what your budget is for kit / hobby materials?
We are running on the advanced principal of thermal mass, like when soaked terracotta filled vessels were covered with a cloth & placed in a scraped out cool patch of earth to either mature / preserve / ferment.
But for something like this with an inner & outer chamber to work as a heat "blast door" to minimise leakage of heat & cool either way, so would have multiple lcd temp / humidity readings & work to the coolest temperature cycle when opening & inspecting.

Check out details for root cellar designs, or IF you wish to make use of a cold store type room incorporating an air conditioner unit with a gadget that will take the temp down further (it's an over-ride principal & works very successfully for home beer cellars, shop units, florists etc then it may bring you reason to invest & protect all your general foodstuffs overall, doubling as a walk in larder unit... it is used in hot old U.S. states so i'm sure it has a use where you are IF you employ careful design, ..whilst your family might say "you want to do WHAT"
!? in my minds eye it is a brilliant unit to integrate into any house with a spare room to utilise or as a stand alone well shaded & insulated dedicated store for many purposes I'll dig out the link when I can.

But for fast fix & thermal lining i'd be looking at 2nd hand or over-run interlocking cold store panels which can be cut down to size accordingly, sourced from the city.
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby GUS » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:41 am

Here we are, don't diss it till you've properly analysed it with proper materials. plenty of real life use projects by folk, ...it MIGHT be a viable option if you can make it multi-purpose it within your home-life.

This is something i'm looking at using long term for a variety of uses.

http://storeitcold.com/howitworks.html

Image

Image

http://storeitcold.com/

Hope you can wangle something on this princple.
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby crustyo44 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:42 am

I have seen a coolbot/airconditioner set up work in a 20 ft insulated container very efficiently and cheaply according to the guys that owned it.
Shooters stored their Roo carcasses in it for a couple of days until it was collected by the pet food factory.
It was only used in the summer as winter temperatures are rather cold out west here.
Go ahead, I think you will NOT be disappointed.
Good Luck,
Jan.
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Re: Making a Curing/drying cabinet from scratch

Postby GUS » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:05 am

Yup, nice to know about that one in your neck of the woods.

Thats the thing, if there are no fridges & kit to be had, look at the implementation o something beyond that.
It might mean remodelling or it might just be an outlay on a built from the ground up sealed storage cool room that when not required can be utilised for other means, or an area within a workshop with sealed partions & set out like the many pretty in depth examples on the site.

Phenolic foam foil facing insulation is your friend in this instance as it can be glued in place & easily sealed along cut edges with spray foam to ensure minimal losses, aluminium tape to seal is also cheap, it's no substitute for a proper plastic vapour barrier but it all counts towards the end result being incredibly efficient & cost effective thereafter.

for a small room you might be looking at 5 minutes of use every half hour to maintain the required levels, in a room thats only opened 1x per day perhaps even less, energy use all amounts to how clever you play it!

I'm looking long term at doing this to my workshop office, with a divert feed to a smaller mountable box which could be sealed / removed, therefore when not in use the room enjoys added insulation & cooling whilst maintaininga much easier heating & cooling envelope regardless.

An air con unit is an outlay in itself, but sonds easier to cobble something multi-modal than finding & sorting a fridge, ...& I expect a properly designated cool store would add value to your property within the local market, nor do I anticipate building code to be as rigourous.

Old school cool room hanging with modern technology, doesn't get much more authentic than that :wink:
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