I made fermented cucumber pickles this fall. Finished their fermenting and popped them in the fridge over a month ago. They didn't make much 'scum' on top while fermenting, and I did remove that when I would see it. We were gone for 4 days during their fermentation process (near the end, about 2 1/2 weeks into it), and they were fine when we got back (and tasted ready for the fridge, to me).
So, they've been in the fridge ever since. It's a gallon crock, and I'm the only one who likes them, so I've been enjoying them occasionally, planning to bring the rest to Thanksgiving, as my family is nuts for anything pickled, and I want everyone to try them! Although my family loves pickles, we've never made sour pickles before, so this is my first experience with them.
Soooo .... today, it seemed like the first pickle I took out was _odd_. Its skin was a little slimy? I threw it away and poked around a little, and there is a kind of film on the dill heads and floating in a few places in the brine. Pickles still taste fine.
I am tempted to remove the pickles, drain the brine through a sieve, and then cook it to a boil, cool it, and recombine it (sans the grape leaves, etc. that were in the gallon container). I'm just worried that the 4 days we were gone, and/or my novice attempts to remove scum, resulted in some of it getting a foothold in the pickles/extras within my crock. And if that's the case, I should get rid of it right?
This is the procedure I used:
This is from my husband the fermenting man. He says it's pediococcus. It's not harmful, but if you don't care for the texture there are a a couple things you can do. You can take the crock out and put it back on the counter to ferment for a few days and it might resolve itself. You can also drain the brine, make a new brine and put the pickles in it and put that directly back in the fridge. You will have removed the majority of the bacteria and the cold temp in the fridge will suppress new growth.
Pediococcus is common in fermented vegetables.
Thanks! I'd really rather not lose all the good bacteria in my pickles, and had worried about boiling or replacing the brine, even with the pickles not being cooked, themselves .... Maybe I'll just see what else develops. At this point I'm down to about a quart's worth of pickles, so I might just not worry about it.
Did he say what causes it? Was it the inattention for four days, or inadequate skimming, or simply just "one of those things that happens" with fermented veggies?
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