Friday, September 19, 2014

MOLD; The Importance of Submerging Food in the Brine

See that white stuff on the top of those beans?  Mold. Yup, the yucky white stuff.  Now it is not toxic, I've eaten it before and it tastes salty, but it is just disgusting.  I threw them out, didn't want to deal with it.  I should have come up with some kind of device to keep that food under the brine. 

This was what that quart jar looked like while it was fermenting. The fermenting device on top,(a piece of plastic with an indentation, the kind that are on the plastic milk cartons at Real Foods Market, cut out) works just fine and is kept in place with marbles, but look at the space below the beans.   That's how badly the beans or any fresh food want to float and I had no device to keep them down under the brine during the 5 day fermentation. So, the parts sticking above the brine grew mold. 

Now, with my ferments, I install something to help keep the food submerged under the brine.  I use pieces of cotton cheese cloth and stuff them down between the food and the jar, I have used round pieces of plastic that come with my coconut oil, and clip the edges and poke holes in the center, I use pieces of plastic mesh bag, and a large sturdy, clean cabbage leaf will do the trick, or more clean marbles or a sterilized rock the correct size and I also have an old plastic sprouting jar lid that I cut up that fits nicely inside a quart jar.  

The point is, to avoid spoiling your vegetable ferments, invent something that will hold the food down under the brine below the device that you use to keep air and mold out.  I  have seen mold grow on the top of a ferment even with an air-lock device.  I hate wasting food and time and so do you.  Be inventive, using alternative air-lock systems or the "water" air-lock devices. 

This last picture is my second    

 batch that I protected properly and kept under the brine and it turned out wonderful.  I used a 2 quart jar for fermenting and several garlics, black pepper corns and 2 TBS Real Salt and chlorine-free water.....fresh dill is also good.  After the 5 day ferment, I took off the air-lock device, and the brine-lock device( white plastic round piece that is pierced and fluted on the edges) and divided up the pickled beans between 4 pints.   Two pints have the new white plastic jar lids....these I will keep in the fridge and eat from and the other two pints have regular metal and rubber lids that seal tight and keep downstairs in storage.  So the lactic acid doesn't eat at those metal lids, I put a rounded, square piece of clear package tape on the inside of it and then screw down tight.  No heat, no sterilizing. They should keep downstairs, in cool, dark area for a year or more.    

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