Monday, January 28, 2008

A few thoughts on humidification

A few people have emailed me asking about humidity control methods for a chamber, and some even gave me some really good ideas, which I thought I'd pass along. Mind you, i've never tried any of these products.





A gentleman, John D., emailed me about a humidifier that can be found on Amazon, which has a built in hygrostat. It is an ultrasonic humidifier, which is what we want. I don't know what the control limits are for the hygrostat (what is the max. humidity which can be set?), or how accurate or inaccurate it is. Accuracy isn't critical, as long as it can keep a relative humidity of 65-75%. This might be something worth looking into, at only $43 shipped.


Another fellow emailed me asking about another humidifier/fridge combo, and I thought about looking into "mechanical" means for maintaining humidity. I've already discussed using a tray of wet salt, but there are other chemical that work too. These methods are used in cigar humidors, so i assume they are food safe. These are just chemical beads, which maintain the environment at a 65% or 70% RH by absorbing, or releasing water into the environment.
There seem to be 2 types. Beads and sheets. I've only looked up one brand, which seems to be well regarded in the cigar world, Heartfelt Industries.

The sheets are available in 60% and 65% RH varieties. I think the sheets would work better for bigger chambers or fridges.





The beads come in 60%, 65% and 70%. I think for a full size fridge you would need a few pounds of them. Not very convenient.



I think both these methods would work well for smaller dorm fridge size curing chambers, or wine coolers being used as wine chambers. I have no idea how often one would have to "recharge" the beads or dry them out, so they may not be very useful.

If anyone tries any one of these, the humidifier, sheets or beads, I'd love to hear about it. If you have any other ideas, or any product which may be useful, don't hesitate to email me, so I can post it, it may help other people too.

11 comments:

Josh said...

I am using the Ultrasonic humidifer in my fridge right now to cure Procuitto. It increments in 1% RH values, and seems to work pretty well. It is actually thin enough that it can sit in the door of the fridge I bought, leaving the rest of the fridge free for hanging meat. The hygrostat is even on a cord, so you can place it a foot or two away from the humidifier.

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks Josh, can you tell us the the max RH you can set is? It sounds like a great solution to buying a separate hygrostat (that alone costs about $100!).

jason

David said...

Jason,

Have you heard of Griffo? It is a "Food Grade additive" to maintain 70% RH. It is meant to be used with those little encased sponge gizmos that go in humidors.

David

David said...

Sorry, forgot the link:

http://capitalcigarsource.com/juice.htm

David

Jasonmolinari said...

David, i haave not heard of that product, thanks for pointing it out.

Gabi Bucataru said...

Hi Jason and all. I seem to have a dilemma and I wonder if the sheets you mention in the post would solve this:

Since my basement has by default about 50-55F in the winter, I cannot use my curing chamber in the cooling mode - but in the heating mode to keep a steady 55F in it. That's solved with my light fixture turned into a heating unit.

The thing is (since my curing chamber is a small dorm-size fridge), when I shut the door, the humidity spikes up to 80% RH even with no humidity source added (like a tray with brine solution). I suspect the humidity is so high because of the salamis that are still very "young" in their curing stage and contain lots of water still.

So my issue is (at least now) to de-humidify the curing chamber down to the 65-70% RH range.

I do crack the door a little every now and then for a half a day, but then the humidity falls down to 55% RH.

Do you think the humidifier (and de-humidifier) sheets you mention would be able to stabilize my RH within the 65-70% RH range?

thanks!
Gabi.

Jasonmolinari said...

Gabi, i've never used the sheets, but theoretically, yes, they should absorb excess moisture.
You can also try with a tray of wet salt, not a brine solution, but a completely saturated salt solution plus extra salt. That should absorb moisture to maintain about 70-75% humidity. I just don't know if it can absorb it fast enough.

Gabi Bucataru said...

AHA!! Great tip! thanks Jason!

Gabi.

AFI said...

I sent the makers of the humidifer an email, the rabge of humidity is 1 to 99 incremented by 1.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,

Is there a way to reduce humidity in your chamber? i have just purchased my ultrasonic humidifier and on its softest setting my hygrometer is reading 81% humididty. is it as simple as moving the meat, in this case Pancetta as far away from the spout of the humidifier as possible?
Any advice will be hugely aprreciated!
Regards,
Mart

Jasonmolinari said...

Mart, the only thing that lowers humidity in my chamber is the refrigerator running.
If you make the fridge run more, it'll lower humidity. You can do this with a light bulb inside the fridge, to warm it, forcing it to cycle more often.

moving the meat won't help. Theoretically the humidity in the chamber is equal throughout.