why do my pickles keep getting moldy? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 10-02-2006, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've made quarts and quarts of pickles this summer, but about 1/3 to 1/2 of the jars end up getting moldy. The last batch I made was in 5 different jars. I put them in the fridge right before we went out of town for 2 weeks--none of the jars had mold on the top when we left, but 3 of them did when we came back What could be going wrong?
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#2 of 12 Old 10-02-2006, 10:31 AM
 
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you are lactofermenting? that's strange, i've never heard of them getting moldy. are you sure they are moldy? i definately get some funky foam/film on mine but i just scrap it off and the pickles are fine.

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#3 of 12 Old 10-02-2006, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes I'm lactofermenting with salt but no whey. I'm pretty sure it's mold--the water gets really cloudy and the pickles get soft spots besides the mold on top. Or does that sound normal?
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#4 of 12 Old 10-03-2006, 12:58 AM
 
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are you using enough salt?

my mom does pickles - leaves them out on the counter even to ferment in open buckets. she uses BRINE - not just salty water but BRINE. adds a chunk of horseradish root for crunchiness. i'll be posting the details after this coming weekend in annikate's thread on pickles.

Jennifer, Naturopath and mom

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#5 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 12:01 AM
 
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I have been trying a new technique to "scum" the yeast off the pickle brine. I have 2-3 inches of brine past the level of the plate holding the vegetables down. I use a quart mason jar with a funnel which has a coffee filter inserted into it. I use a long handled measuring cup (essentially a small dipper) to scoop the yeast and brine. I pour it through the filter to fill the jar. This lowers the level of the brine, then I use a paper towel to wipe the exposed sides of the crock. I then pour the filtered brine back into the crock. So far, so good.
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#6 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 12:12 AM
 
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Who's recipe are you using?

Is it just surface mold/scum? If it's just on the surface it's OK, but if the pickles themselves are getting moldy I would toss them.

What is your salt/water ratio? You may need more salt.

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#7 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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I used a USDA salt ratio of 2 tablespoons per quart of water. I also added a teaspoon of white vinegar.

The scum was just a surface yeast (I think), but it is very sticky and I have been trying to find ways to remove it easily.
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#8 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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"Yes I'm lactofermenting with salt but no whey."

I am confused about that statement. I thought lacto means milk, and that lacto-fermented...when Sally Fallon uses that term anyway...means fermented with whey?
She says that her mayo recipe will last two weeks in the fridge without whey, but SIX MONTHS with it. Seems to me that those little whey buggies are pretty powerful mojo. I love the whey, and use it for everything. I can't understand why so many mommies here seem to hold it in such low regard. The whey pretty much keeps all other bacteria at bay, including mold, I think?
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#9 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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Lacto refers to Lactic Acid, afaik. Lactic Acid builds naturally and ferments/preserves the veggies. Whey or not.

And I haven't gotten the feeling that people hold whey in low regard, but sometimes it's not available, or some might have dairy allergy. Or, maybe some just have had better personal experiences w/o it. You know?

All last week I was LF a bunch of stuff, but had no whey so I only used salt. I am straining off whey right now, so next time I will try it!

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#10 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 11:33 AM
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Yes, lacto-fermentation means utilizing lactic-acid producing bacteria (which includes naturally-occurring fermentation bacteria present on the surfaces of veggies), whether any dairy product is involved or not. The name originally came from the native bacteria of raw milk, which produce an acid during the process of fermentation which was named lactic acid because the bacteria was isolated from milk, but the same acid is produced by many bacteria, regardless of source. It's confusing, I know.

There is no secret ingredient.
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#11 of 12 Old 08-13-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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Thanks for explaining that, Bella Babe and AJP.
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#12 of 12 Old 08-18-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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The technique of dipping the surface liquid off my pickles to filter through a coffee paper filter has not been satisfactory. The yeast film that accumulates on the top of the brine clogs up the paper filter too quickly and it quits draining.

I have devised another technique that is showing more promise. I took a plastic lid from a round carton that was close to the size of the jar I used to ferment. I cut a pair of parallel slots in this disk and inserted a plastic soda-straw into and outof the slots so that I wove the straw into an "axle" with the lid as the wheel. I then cut a hole in the center of a basket type coffee-filter and placed the straw through the hole so it sat on the lid.

I submerged the lid and filter into the brine with the two straw ends sticking up through the brine. After yeast had grown on the surface of the brine I could raise the coffee filter up from beneath the surface and it would pick up a large part of the floating yeast scum. I discard the filter, clean the edges of the fermenting jar and the straw-disk aparatus, and replace a new filter on it until the next day. I hope this will be a quicker and easier way to keep my brine clear.
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