Tomatoes 2013_Freezing, Fermenting, Drying

sidhartha0209(KY_6a)August 17, 2013

Just sharing what I've done so far; this year I grew several varieties gleaned from the Tomato Forum (and probably this forum also) that I perceived as being 'favorites' among the 'connoisseurs', which were...

Cherokee Purple
Cherokee Green
Indian Stripe
Kelloggs' Breakfast
Black Cherry
Brandy Boy
Anna Russian
Kosovo
Orange Oxheart

...and I've found all of them to be superb in their own right (Cherokee Green has now become the favorite slicer for me and my wife) . But, a major thing I've learned to be true, which I probably picked up here on the Harvest Forum, is that blending as many different varieties together makes for the best sauce/juice; IMO, the flavor is sublime, especially when fresh run raw, not blanched, through a device such as a Roma Food Strainer and Sauce Maker, which is why I now have about 130 lbs fresh frozen sauce in the freezer.

The other (very successful) thing I did was to ferment them. When the flood of ripe tomatoes was on and I could not keep up, I chunked them into pieces (small enough to fit into the Roma Sauce Maker) into 5 gal food grade buckets, added some Italian seasoning, fresh diced baccatum chiles, garlic, salt, and yogurt whey, mashed them with a hand held potato masher until submerged in their own juices, pressed Saran Wrap across the surface, and let them ferment; some sat as long as two weeks before I finally got around back to them to run through the sauce maker. The fermented sauce I then either water bathed canned (no acid added), or, simply bottled raw capped w/olive oil at the top (something I�ve read about and have been hankering to try). Bottled fermented sauce to go to the cellar:

I have distributed to friends and family for trial tasting several pints/quarts of fermented tomato sauce and it is a hit with everyone so far. It makes good chili (already done that), or, it is good simply poured over ice and drank like V8 or tomato juice. I am very pleased with the outcome of the experiment of fermenting the tomatoes prior to canning.

One of the handiest items I used this year was a plastic lettuce knife to chunk all those big tomatoes up with, it sure saved me a lot of knicks and cuts, well worth the three bucks:

Another thing I dabbled with is tomato kvass made from the leftover skins/seeds after saucing. I add sugar (3/4 cup per gallon water) to make it stout with lactic acid. Other than one little taste I have not really had time to experiment much with it, right now I am looking at it as a lactic acid based vinegar, because vinegar is what it reminds me of.

I also dried lots of tomatoes, including the black cherries, everybody likes those too, but seems to me that Brandy Boy especially excels in flavor as a dried tomato.

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Sat, Aug 17, 13 at 3:29

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

simply bottled raw capped w/olive oil at the top (something I�ve read about and have been hankering to try). Bottled fermented sauce to go to the cellar:

What makes that safe for shelf storage or for anything but limited fridge storage?

Dave

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:13PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

"What makes that safe for shelf storage or for anything but limited fridge storage?"

What makes it not safe? Are you saying fermented foods stored in cellars down through the centuries were not safe? How in the world has mankind survived this long by practicing such unsafe things?

It must be pasteurized/sterilized and made to be 100% dead in order to be 100% safe, right?

We must kill our food, it must be totally dead in order to be safe. That what you're saying?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:23PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Are you saying fermented foods stored in cellars down through the centuries were not safe?

Yes, many of them were not. But then cellar storage in centuries past meant a very different thing then it does now. Do you have an actual root cellar with properly maintained temperatures?

How in the world has mankind survived this long by practicing such unsafe things?

Many did not. Food related bacterial infections and related illnesses were quite common according to history. So was food poisoning although they didn't even know what killed them.

It must be pasteurized/sterilized and made to be 100% dead in order to be 100% safe, right?

Not at all. It merely needs to have its pH checked and be refrigerated or alternatively, stored in some environment below 40 degrees.

We must kill our food, it must be totally dead in order to be safe. That what you're saying?

I didn't say that at all. That is your interpretation. I didn't even mention heat processing of any kind and fermentation, properly done, is a great way to preserve foods. Improperly done it can be a source of potentially severe bacterial illness.

There is plenty of research available, much of it from even the most liberal fermentation sources, that shows that storing your fermented juice without the olive oil would be a safer product and storing it in a refrigerated area without the olive oil would be even safer.

You are of course free to do as you please. It is your risk to take. But sharing with others without providing them with proper knowledge of those risks up front does them a dis-service.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:12PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

" Do you have an actual root cellar with properly maintained temperatures?"

No, and neither did anyone else have one that maintained an environment I've successfully stored beet kvass year around in my cellar for over 4 years now; I intend to see how the bottled fermented tomato sauce does.

"There is plenty of research available, much of it from even the most liberal fermentation sources, that shows that storing your fermented juice without the olive oil would be a safer product and storing it in a refrigerated area without the olive oil would be even safer."

If you are aware of some specific dangers from capping the sauce with olive oil I would appreciate you plainly tell me what those dangers are.

"You are of course free to do as you please. It is your risk to take"

Don't you just love America?

"But sharing with others without providing them with proper knowledge of those risks up front does them a dis-service."

You are skewing the intent of the OP. By sharing I am opening myself up to feedback just as you are giving me now. I've not tried to convince anyone to do anything.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:04AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

By sharing I am opening myself up to feedback just as you are giving me now. I've not tried to convince anyone to do anything.

I began by asking a simple question - what makes this bottled fermented raw sauce topped with oil safe for shelf storage rather than refrigeration?

In light of all the proper storage of fermented foods information available and all the information available on the effects of oil sealing on bacterial growth, it was a logical question.

I asked, since it goes against so much of the published research on those topics, because I thought you might have some new information to offer.

Instead of an answer to my question I got all the sarcasm and the standard diatribe on how they fermented food in the middle ages and some anecdotal information on your personal experiences. Neither of those arguments gives any credence to the safety of your process.

You wanted feedback yet clearly aren't open to learning about modifying your methods. Plus you share this food with others who have no knowledge of the risks they may be taking by consuming it.

So for the benefit of others less experienced with fermenting foods who may read this I'll simply add that either a brief period of heat processing to create a vacuum in the jar that allows for shelf storage OR refrigerated storage to retard the development of potentially hazardous bacteria such as listeria and salmonella and e. coli is recommended by all the reputable sources on fermenting and storing fermented foods.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:46PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Dave, go away, I've had about enough of you and your neurosis, or whatever it is that is your problem.

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 16:53

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:50PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

As far as precedents for bottling your own fermented tomato sauce and capping with olive oil:

"Lacto Fermented Tomato Sauce

“Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural ‘poetic’ methods that maintain or enhance the life in food.“ ��"��"- The scientific techniques produce dead foods and literally seal them in coffins. My instincts tell me that long-dead foods cannot properly nourish long-lived people ” Eliot Coleman (Foreword to the first edition -”Preserving Food without Freezing Or Canning”)

Lacto-Fermented Tomato Sauce

This recipe is from the book and was contributed by Jacqueline Magne, a family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Ingredients

Ripe Tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Oil

Method
◾Crush the ripe tomatoes with skin and seed left on in a large stoneware pot.
◾After a day or two (once fermentation has begun), stir them briskly once a day with a wooden spatula.
◾As soon as fermentation ceases (it will stop being gassy and bubbly after 5 to 7 days), pass the tomatoes through a fine strainer or a loosely woven cloth.
◾Keep only the strained liquid, which should be thick and contain most of the pulp. (Straining simply serves to eliminate seeds, skins and any tough fibers).
◾Per litre of sauce add one to two tablespoons of salt and one to two teaspoons of finely ground pepper (to taste).
◾Mix well: put the sauce in bottles, and top up with 3/4″ of oil (to the neck of the bottle) for air-tightness. Do not cork the bottle, but if you wish, you may cover loosely with a lid.

This sauce will keep perfectly for one year in a dark, cool closet. To use the sauce, remove the oil and any mold, and shake the remaining contents well each time.

This sauce can be used to season pasta, soups or any other dish."

Here is a link that might be useful: Lacto Fermented Tomato Sauce

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:56PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Another precedent:

"The Skinny on Fermentation: Un-canning Tomatoes

(Looking for something a little unconventional to do with summer’s last onslaught of vine-ripened tomatoes? Contributor Jesse Frost of Rough Draft Farmstead has been doing some crazy experiments in his fermentation lab that you won’t want to miss! Also, Hannah & Jesse are on the lookout for some farmland, so drop them a line if you have a lead.)

My wife and I enjoy canning our extra tomatoes for winter soups and sauces, but read almost any canning publication and they will often be surprisingly frank with you about how much canning negates a fruit or vegetable’s nutritional properties. We boil the canned tomatoes for a long time in order to avoid things like botulism (and rightfully so), but in so doing, we destroy a whole layer of beneficial nutrients. Essentially, we pasteurize it. Fermentation, however, not only retains a food’s nutritional value but boosts it, and often preserves vegetables for at least as long as canning, if not longer. Also, due to the acidic environment created by fermentation, and its natural ability to detoxify foods, bacteria like botulism cannot thrive and are not an issue. As Sandor Katz puts it in his newest book, The Art of Fermentation, “…it is improperly canned foods, not ferments, that can harbor botulism.”

So in light of preserving a healthier, safer form of tomato this year, I decided to try fermenting some. Since I’d never fermented tomatoes for anything other than tomato wine or to save seed, I did two batches to be sure of the results, and wound up with 8 quarts of fresh tomato sauce.

What you’ll need:

(makes 4 quarts)

-6-8 lbs of fresh tomatoes��"��"preferably organic or non-sprayed

-2 tablespoons sea salt

-1 cup water (avoid tap water as it typically contains ingredients like chlorides which will slow or stop the fermentation. I get water from our local nutrition center for .39¢ a gallon)

-2 gallon, wide-mouthed clay crock or glass jar (avoid plastic or coated ceramic)

-Cloth to cover fermentation container

-String to tie cloth onto fermentation container

-4 1qt mason jars

-Olive Oil

-A spirit of adventure

Recipe:

Remove the core from tomatoes and cut into medium-sized chunks, slightly larger than bite-size. You do not need to remove the skin. Place in large crock or jar��"��"fill no more than three-quarters full, less is fine. Add any garlic or peppers you would like��"��"ferments are like soups��"��"be liberal, they’re fairly forgiving. Me? I threw in a couple jalapeños. Combine salt with water and pour overtop. Massage tomato mass with hands until juicy, about one minute. Tie cloth over vessel to keep bugs out and stir at least three times a day, though more is better.

I recommend keeping this particular ferment away from your daily life��"��"in a basement or mudroom or anywhere with good airflow��"��"as part of they way you know it’s working is the unearthly smell it produces, just warning you. Here’s where you’ll need that spirit of adventure as the smell lasts for about 12 to 24 hours and you have to stir straight through it. It will soon be replaced with the lovely aroma of fresh tomato sauce, however��"��"I promise, so be brave.

Once the odd smell is gone and it begins to smell fresh again, and the bubbling subsides almost entirely, you are now ready to can (about 3-5 days altogether, at least 1 1/2 full days after the odd smell dissipates). Ladle the finished ferment into four clean mason jars, leaving an inch before the top of each jar. Wipe the rim clean and gently pour a thin layer of olive oil overtop to keep oxygen off and mold from forming (not my invention, but a pretty nifty trick!) then place the lid on the jar. If it’s still bubbling when you have to can, don’t sweat it. Just make sure to release the pressure every few days for a week by unscrewing the lid of each jar until it makes a hissing sound. Otherwise, it could explode the jar��"��"seriously��"��"but this is a common reality with fermentation.

If you follow these guidelines and find mold or growth at any point before or after fermentation, simply scrape it off as soon as you see it. I found a light white film in my first batch because I had forgotten to stir for twelve hours but scraped it off, no problem. Mold can happen in nearly any ferment. Don’t be afraid of it unless it’s anything but white (which I’ve never ran into), but which you can also just remove. My understanding is colored molds are proceeded by the white molds, and white molds (in this case) result from too little stirring. Just check your ferment often and be diligent about stirring or removing any unwanted growth.

And that’s it. It takes longer than canning but less attention, less work, less energy, and the tomatoes are preserved healthier than when they started. I’ve been really pleased with the immediate results. If the ferment holds, as it seems to be doing perfectly, you can bet we will likely be fermenting much of our tomato sauces every year, and I feel confident we’ll be getting more nutrients this winter than ever, if it makes it to winter that is. We’ve already eaten nearly 2 quarts. Oops.

How to Use:

Employ your fermented tomatoes to marinade meats or vegetables; blend with fresh celery and drink a little as a tomato juice (or add some vodka and you’ve got yourself a Bloody Mary!); make a creamy tomato soup, or use it in place of wine in certain pan sauces. Today I reduced some by half and poured it over fried rice. It was absurdly good. I also made a makeshift barbecue sauce��"lots of potential there. Feel free to share your own fermented tomato recipes or ideas you have for its uses!"

Here is a link that might be useful: The Skinny on Fermentation: Un-canning Tomatoes

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 5:01PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

And another precedent:

"Fermented Bloody Mary Cocktail

Ingredients:

Fermented tomato juice (tomato juice and smoked salt; 12 months old)

Vodka

Salt and Pepper

Hot pepper sauce (fermented 2 yrs)

Worcestershire sauce, (fermented by Lea & Perrins®)

Loveage stem (straws)

Ice

Fermenting vegetable juices is extremely easy, and the results are exceedingly delicious. Last summer I started with two cases of organic roma tomatoes. I sliced them in half, sprinkled on some smoked salt, and let it ferment in a crock for a week. After 2 days, the tomatoes were reduced to a thick slurry. After a week, the pulp was removed from the seeds and skin. I stirred 2 or 3 times every day to reduce mold establishment. After a week I strained the seeds and pulp out, and filled narrow sauce bottles with the juice. I added a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the contents of each jar to prevent oxygen from contacting the juice. Then waited a year. Fantastic flavor!

Last week we finally got our typical week or two of hot daytime temperatures and warm evenings here in Seattle. Perfect weather for cocktails in the garden. Drinking the cocktails from Loveage stems for straws was an added flavor, especially if the stem was chewed slightly. They were so delicious, we had to open another bottle of tomato juice and keep going.

Addiing a finishing splash.

If you’re up for fermenting your own cocktail mixers, this is the best resource in know: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante, published in 1999 by Chelsea Green.

I’ve fermented carrot, beet, celery, radish, cucumber, tomato, and various blends of green vegetable juices, all with rewarding success. Add a little salt and let time do its magic. I remove the olive oil from the narrow neck of the jar with a turkey baster. I’ve also used airlocks with success, or just let the top mold and pull the ‘plug’ out when it’s time to use the juice. The pulp and pigments typically settle to the bottom of the jar, leaving clear liquid. Stir or shake as desired. These juices are also great in soup, or to deglaze a pan when sautéing."

Here is a link that might be useful: Fermented Bloody Mary Cocktail

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

"Dave, go away, I've had about enough of you and your neurosis, or whatever it is that is your problem. "

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 16:53

Just edited ? It was RUDE and meanspirited and should have been deleted, not just edited.

Dave, we all appreciate your stance on safe food preserving and storage methods . You should not go away, by any means !!
Most all of us here have been here for years and we follow USDA method and guidelines. We are all long time friends.... coming in and acting this way is not a way to make friends.
Oil makes the food sealed in an anerobic condition, which can lead to potential botulism.
Posting something that can potentially kill or paralyze people puts the poster in a place for legal responsibility should anyone get ill or die from the information. Keep that in mind when posting any material.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:42PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No worries Linda Lou but thank you.

What this poster apparently doesn't understand is that he/she is using recipes from very fringe blog sources (could only check 2 of the links as the third just leads back to this posting). And that those blog sources have often been peer-reviewed by those experienced with fermentation processes and labeled hazardous. Perhaps he/she believes that just because it is on the web it must be "true".

But my primary concern is not the posting but that these foods are apparently being shared with friends and family without any knowledge of the hazards.

I have distributed to friends and family for trial tasting several pints/quarts of fermented tomato sauce and it is a hit with everyone so far.

If the OP chooses to make and drink it, fine. His choice. But none of us has the right to potentially endanger others.

Much as I like and respect Eliot Coleman, his comment [The scientific techniques produce dead foods and literally seal them in coffins. My instincts tell me that long-dead foods cannot properly nourish long-lived people ” Eliot Coleman] isn't relevant as all we are talking about is leaving off the oil and putting them in the fridge. Neither is hardly some "scientific technique".

So sure we could post hundreds of links discussing the risks associated with using the oil and the need for cold storage after fermentation but I think it is clear that it would be a waste of time in this case.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You are welcome, Dave. Good to hear from you this morning.
What you said is right, we are just concerned about the oil issue. Put in the fridge and keep it safe there.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:16PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Dave, linda lou, I'm curious to know what is your connection with GardeWeb; are either or both of you owners, co-owners, forum administrators or moderators, etc, or are you members on the same level as me?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 5:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Don't see how that is relevant to the discussion but we are all members here, volunteers.

However, on this particular forum given its focus, several of us have advanced training in and certification in home food preservation and its methods. In addition to teaching classes in home food preservation, for many years, we have volunteered time here to try to help others.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I am not an owner or have any affiliation with GW. I am an instructor at a local University Extension office. I teach food preservation and food safety as a profession.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:31PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Linda Lou and Dave are MUCH appreciated. I understand that others may have a difference of opinion. That's your prerogative.

However, this site is often frequented by those just learning to preserve food. That's one of the reasons that we want to be sure the information posted is reliable, verifiable, and comes from someone with some experience.

Not everyone reading is going to be able to determine the safety and/or risk factors. There's a good chance someone will assume it's safe because it is posted here. There's also a good chance that someone will "tweak" the recipe just a little to suit their tastes and create something dangerous.

If the OP had first stated this was his/her own creation and not from an approved/tested site, that would help clarify for those just beginning to learn the processes.

This site has been a valuable resource for many, let's not mess it up with sarcastic posts and arguements.

Deanna (another Master Food Preserver who prefers the motto "Better Safe Than Sorry")

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:16PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

digdirt:
"Don't see how that is relevant to the discussion..."

It's always good to know who you're talking to, but mostly I'm trying to figure what might be the motive(s) for the apparent bias against fermenting that seems to be exhibited by some on this forum.

Dgkritch:
“Linda Lou and Dave are MUCH appreciated. I understand that others may have a difference of opinion. That's your prerogative. “

The OP gives credit for knowledge gleaned from GW, some of which undoubtedly has come from Linda Lou and Dave; I too am appreciative. I’ve been reading from here for many years, even before joining.

“However, this site is often frequented by those just learning to preserve food. That's one of the reasons that we want to be sure the information posted is reliable, verifiable, and comes from someone with some experience.

Not everyone reading is going to be able to determine the safety and/or risk factors. There's a good chance someone will assume it's safe because it is posted here. There's also a good chance that someone will "tweak" the recipe just a little to suit their tastes and create something dangerous.”

I understand and agree fully with this. However, the safety and/or risk factors of pressurized canning (sterilization) does not always necessarily apply to lacto fermentation (competitive exclusion). It is two different categories of food preservation.

The flak I’m catching on this thread over the danger of botulism is a case in point. Some cases of botulism poisoning have occurred from homemade garlic-infused oil, but this bacterium cannot survive the acidic environment of fermented foods. That is why we can get by with BWB instead of pressure canning of tomatoes.

“If the OP had first stated this was his/her own creation and not from an approved/tested site, that would help clarify for those just beginning to learn the processes.”

Well, I thought I had done that, but I guess I did not make it clear enough. I will be sure to do that in the future. The adventure of experimentation is one of the joys of fermenting foods, which automatically is at odds with those who insist on strict observance of approved/tested procedures.

“This site has been a valuable resource for many, let's not mess it up with sarcastic posts and arguements.”

That goes two ways.

“Deanna (another Master Food Preserver who prefers the motto "Better Safe Than Sorry")”

“…U.S. Department of Agriculture research service microbiologist Fred Breidt says properly fermented vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, which might have been exposed to pathogens like E. coli on the farm.

"With fermented products there is no safety concern. I can flat-out say that. The reason is the lactic acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are the world's best killers of other bacteria," says Breidt, who works at a lab at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, where scientists have been studying fermented and other pickled foods since the 1930s.

Breidt adds that fermented vegetables, for which there are no documented cases of food-borne illness, are safer for novices to make than canned vegetables. Pressurized canning creates an anaerobic environment that increases the risk of deadly botulism, particularly with low-acid foods.”

Here is a link that might be useful: Cultivating their fascination with fermentation

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:55AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You are making a big issue out of things. We are NOT against fermenting at all. We make sauerkraut and fermented dill pickles, so saying we are against fermenting is wrong.

The only point we don't agree with is putting oil on top of the bottles/jars to store them. Plain and simple.
We feel it is a risk to use the oil on top. Nothing more... the rest is fine.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:44AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

mostly I'm trying to figure what might be the motive(s) for the apparent bias against fermenting that seems to be exhibited by some on this forum.

I have no bias against fermenting. Neither does anyone else here that I know of. What I and others object to is bad methods. .

Fermented food is not automatically safe. It has to be properly done and and properly stored.

Just like any other form of food preservation, fermenting and storing fermented food has right ways and wrong ways of doing it. It has good info sources and bad info sources. It is subject to mistakes, to mis-interpretation, to errors and bad judgement calls by the maker.

Telling you that using the oil and not using fridge storage or its equivalent is wrong is no more a condemnation of fermenting foods than telling someone that they shouldn't use open kettle canning for green beans is a condemnation of canning.

It is your specific methods that are in question, not fermenting foods in general.

As to some of your other statements:

The flak I’m catching on this thread over the danger of botulism is a case in point. Some cases of botulism poisoning have occurred from homemade garlic-infused oil, but this bacterium cannot survive the acidic environment of fermented foods.

Yes the c. botulium spores themselves can survive. But they cannot reproduce and so produce the lethal toxins IF the lactic acid is strong enough. Use an insufficient salt amount in the brine and you have a low level of lactic acid. Plus it takes time for the lactic acid levels to develop to proper levels. It isn't poof! - lactic acid. 7 days minimum assuming proper ambient temps are used. So what do you think any pathogenic bacteria that may be in there is doing during those 7 days, huh?

But I didn't mention botulism. I specific addressed salmonella, e. coli, and listeria all of which can survive and reproduce in acidic environments and in unsafe storage temps. Listeria can grow in straight vinegar if stored at room temperatures. So again, it is your methods in question NOT fermentation as a method of food preservation. Use the proper methods and proper storage - no problems.

The adventure of experimentation is one of the joys of fermenting foods, which automatically is at odds with those who insist on strict observance of approved/tested procedures.

Experimentation is not limited to fermentation. We all experiment with our food preservation to various degrees. But the pre-requisite to experimentation is first understanding the basic underlying safety principles and not just taking everything we read on the web or in a book at face value. No one can perform higher math calculations without first understanding Math 101. So without that understanding of food preservation basics we could inadvertently create something harmful to ourselves or others.

So yes, to those who don't have that knowledge or experience and especially to those who are naive enough to assume that everything they read must be true we advise first using the tried and tested guidelines and approved sources of information.

In the case of fermentation there are many reliable sources for information. Unfortunately there are also numerous UNreliable sources like personal blogs and sites with hidden agendas. Learn to tell the difference and the first step is to note the credentials, or lack thereof, of the source.

Fred Breidt, PhD., is a well respected authority on fermentation. He is one of the primary sources of the USDA Guidelines. However your source of info supposedly from him is third-hand, taken from an article written 5 years ago by a staff reporter with no knowledge or background in food preservation for a newspaper article. And she took his quote out of context and puts her interpretation on his comments. She doesn't even get his title or responsibilities correct in the article.

Go to the source. Read what Dr. Breidt has published, what he really has to say directly. His publications are all readily available. [http://ncsu.edu/foodscience/USDAARS/html/Fflbiblio1.htm]

Please do note his comments on the uses of oils and the effects of room temperature storage.

Then explore all the resources available at the USDA unit he heads [http://ncsu.edu/foodscience/USDAARS/index.htm]

Then don't give up fermenting foods, just re-evaluate some of your methods.

Apologies that this has gotten so long but I have tried to respectfully address all the issues.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:08PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

And I thank you very much for the feedback linda_lou; trust me, it has caused me to research up and down, and I see no threat from the olive oil in this case, it's solely to keep mold and scum from forming on the surface during storage, and it's been practiced for generations.

From one of the blog recipes above:

"I remove the olive oil from the narrow neck of the jar with a turkey baster. I’ve also used airlocks with success, or just let the top mold and pull the ‘plug’ out when it’s time to use the juice"

I store beet kvass in 4 liter wine jugs in the cellar and this is the way I do it, no oil, just pull the plug of (snow white) mold and go on, but I'm going to see how the oil works to keep mold and scum away with the sauce.

As far as creating an anaerobic environment by topping with oil, remember that lacto fermentation IS an anaerobic process and there are specially made crocks (like Harchs?sp) equipped with water filled locks to keep contents in an anaerobic environment. The olive oil is only doing what one of these crocks would do, keep the air away from the surface.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:11PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Dave:
"Apologies that this has gotten so long but I have tried to respectfully address all the issues."

Yea, it's long but I am interested in responding and carrying on a dialog, but I need to go pick some beans right now. Will be back.

And, Sir, please accept my apology for the rudeness I exhibited earlier on.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:23PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I swore I wasn't going to say any more about this...but

remember that lacto fermentation IS an anaerobic process

Fermentation begins as an aerobic process and is dominated by aerobic bacteria from both the food and the air inside the fermentation vessel. It only becomes anaerobic after sufficient levels of LAB (lactic acid producing bacteria) have developed to sufficient levels to overwhelm the aerobic bacteria. That takes several days.

The difference between a true anaerobic environment and one artificially produced by using floating oil is substantial. Not only does the oil contain some air and bacteria but it allows for the slow diffusion of any newly introduced bacteria thoughout the food. It then further complicates the process by insulating/enclosing that bacteria and retarding the killing effect of the lactic acid on that bacteria.

During shelf storage in room temperature environments pH of the lactic acid slowly rises. That is true of any acid.

So if the pH of 1 week fermented food, assuming a proper salt ratio is used, is approx. 4.4, after 2 weeks fermentation it averages 4.1 (Food Chemistry 3rd edition by Fennema) while fully fermented foods of 4-6 weeks averages 3.0-3.4 the length of the fermentation used can be crucial to the long term safety of shelf stored foods. Providing the proper cool storage environment can retard, or even eliminate for all practical purposes, that problem.

There honestly is no reason to make this all so complex, so scientific. And all this science really isn't of interest to most. All one really needs to do for safe food fermentation is

- use the approved ratios of salt to volume/weight of food
- allow the food to ferment for a minimum of 7 days and understand that longer is safer
- maintain an ambient environment of 70-75 degrees F and out of direct light during the fermenting process
- do not incorporate oils into the process
- once fermentation is complete, provide storage conditions equivalent to refrigerated storage
- check containers regularly and remove any scum that has developed

It really is that simple.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:17PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I guess this is just going to be a situation to agree to disagree. If you feel comfortable in using the oil, then that is your choice.
The rest of us will just put our fermented foods in the fridge or process them.
I am glad you apologized to Dave.
Can we all be friends ?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:09PM
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bggrows(6a/6b)

Since I did not have much garden produce to preserve this year, I have been making herbal vinegars. I have a question after reading this thread, can I safely bottle my vinegars in sterile glass bottles and without fresh herb sprig in bottle and store without refridgeration.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:01PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

The vinegars are fine to store at room temp. As you said, you will use sterile bottles, which is good.
Also, you do need to be sure your vinegar is at least 5% acidity, nothing less in acidity than that.
Storing vinegar and storing oil are 2 different things. Oil can harbor botulism.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:36PM
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cannond

"Listeria can grow in straight vinegar if stored at room temperatures"

Yikes, Dave. So we should refrigerate our vinegar? Perhaps I'm not understanding this statement. Could you clarify?

Deborah

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:22PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I have not heard listeria can grow in straight vinegar. It is even recommended for use in cleaning to kill listeria on surfaces. They add it to meats to keep it safe.
We use a vinegar dip as a pretreatment to prevent food borne illness in making jerky.
Vinegar will be safe for just about forever. Don't worry about keeping it in the fridge.

This is from The Vinegar Institute :

What is “Mother”?

“Mother” of vinegar will naturally occur in vinegar products as the result of the vinegar bacteria itself. Mother is actually cellulose (a natural carbohydrate which is the fiber in foods like celery and lettuce) produced by the harmless vinegar bacteria. Today, most manufacturers pasteurize their product before bottling to prevent these bacteria from forming “mother” while sitting on the retail shelf.
After opening, you may notice “mother” beginning to form. Vinegar containing “mother” is not harmful or spoiled. Just remove the substance by filtering and continue to enjoy the product.
How Long Does Vinegar Last?

The Vinegar Institute conducted studies to find out and confirmed that vinegar’s shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used and enjoyed with confidence.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:47AM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

digdirt:
"I have no bias against fermenting..."

IMO, a lot of what you post discussing the topic borders on outright fear mongering. Why? What's your motive?

"... an insufficient salt amount in the brine and you have a low level of lactic acid..."

It is NOT salt that lactobaciilus converts, it is SUGARS that are converted to lactic acid. I make beet kvass that is very stout w/lactic acid using VERY little salt, 2 tsp per gallon water to be exact.

"... it takes time for the lactic acid levels to develop to proper levels. It isn't poof! - lactic acid. 7 days minimum assuming proper ambient temps are used. So what do you think any pathogenic bacteria that may be in there is doing during those 7 days, huh?

But I didn't mention botulism. I specific addressed salmonella, e. coli, and listeria all of which can survive and reproduce in acidic environments and in unsafe storage temps. Listeria can grow in straight vinegar if stored at room temperatures. So again, it is your methods in question NOT fermentation as a method of food preservation. Use the proper methods and proper storage - no problems."

This is what I mean by outright fear mongering. Provide some documented cases of illness from these pathogens by consuming lacto fermented vegetables and fruits.

Again, what is your motive for casting all this fear and doubt which ultimately maligns such a wonderful, healthful, and safe, art?

“Go to the source. Read what Dr. Breidt has published, what he really has to say directly. His publications are all readily available. [http://ncsu.edu/foodscience/USDAARS/html/Fflbiblio1.htm]

Please do note his comments on the uses of oils and the effects of room temperature storage.”

I HAVE gleaned info from some of those publications in the past. But If you are aware of specific comments he has made concerning the uses of oils and the effects of room temperature storage, please quote and cite the publication instead of just shot gunning the list out there. If you know, tell; don’t beat around the bush.

“Can bacteria develop in olive oil?....

Dr. Deane replies:
There is one county in California where this concern seems to come up because of ignorance about the bacteria. Botulism is a paralytic illness caused by a toxin produced by growing Clostridium botulinum bacteria. These bacteria can grow in low oxygen environments such as sealed cans and bottles or in water covered with a layer of oil. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the bacteria cannot grow in the oil itself, it must have a watery media. The concern is due to infused oils or dressings where there is a mixture of oil and water. For example, un-refrigerated garlic-infused olive oil can support the bacteria because it grows in the garlic, not the oil. Olive oil by itself is routinely sealed into unsterilized bottles without any ill effect. Oil has been used for thousands of years as a preservative, keeping foods from oxidizing and desiccating and discouraging pests.”

Here is a link that might be useful: Can bacteria develop in olive oil?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:05AM
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david52_gw

I do a fair amount of fermentation, making assorted pickles, sauerkraut, pepper sauces, etc.

I'm not following on the fermented tomato process - I do ferment open containers of squeezed juice when I'm saving seeds, and that reeks.

And if I'm not misunderstanding, you put your tomatoes, peppers, garlic etc in an open container covered by cheese cloth? Its not sealed with a bag full of water or
plastic wrap?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 11:03AM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

I 'sealed' the surface over with saran wrap, and that mainly to reduce the amount of mold on the surface when the ferment is done.

IME, tomatoes ferment very rapidly, especially with the addition of whey; in warm weather most activity is over within three days.

The basic recipe is 1/4 c salt and 3/4 c whey per gallon mashed tomatoes, BUT, the saltiness of the end product can be lowered simply by adding more tomatoes into the 'must' after a strong ferment has been obtained, 1 1/2-2 days. The spices I added at the beginning.

I know this is going to sound TOTALLY contrary to what has been debated on this thread, but one of the main things I'm out to find out is just how long this particular ferment will last before it finally DOES spoil, because it will indeed eventually spoil. I am intentionally 'pushing the envelope'. But spoilage of lacto ferments is not the same as spoilage of canned foods. Spoiled ferments generally equate to an advanced state of fermentation where lactic acid degradation has occurred, and the food has darkened, become mushy and slimy, and is just totally undesirable and unpalatable to eat. One would probably gag and puke before you could get the first bite down, but the deadly pathogens were killed during the initial ferment and aren't present unless they are somehow introduced after the fact.

Something that hasn’t been discussed is HOW a stronger brine equates to a longer shelf life of ferments, which it does. Most recipes call for 2 TBSP salt per qt, Sally Fallon allows 1 TBSP salt WITH whey. I’ve seen some recipes that call for 3 and sometimes 4 TBSP salt per qt, waaaayyyy too salty for most peoples’ taste, the food usually would have to be ‘de-salted’ prior to eating, which I’ve read the old folks did desalineate, but these salty ferments will also keep longer because the higher salt levels favor a certain type of lacto bacteria that causes a slower ferment but prevents another type that eventually begins to literally digest the lactic acid and food.

IOW, less salt equates to a more rapid ferment but shorter shelf life; more salt equates to a slower ferment with a longer shelf life, and that is solely because salt level determines the type of lactobacilli that dominated the initial ferment.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:16PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

cannond - please don't take that or other comments out of the context where they were made..

Clearly we are talking about vinegar where foods have been added to it, where listeria and other bacteria may have been introduced to the vinegar by the addition of foods and where the strength of the vinegar has been diluted by the water in the foods.

I was clearly not talking about bottles of plain capped vinegar sitting on the pantry shelf and Linda Lou covered that question in great detail.

And that listeria can grow in unprocessed pickled products stored at room temperature, even when straight vinegar is used on them, is hardly news. It is the reason for USDA withdrawing the approval on many of the old pickling recipes and even some of the old refrigerator pickle recipes. We have discussed that here several times in the past.

______________

As to the "fear mongering" attack which doesn't even deserve an acknowledgement much less a reply I can only say I'm sorry that you choose to interpret it that way. That is your choice.

You insist on labeling this discussion one of condemning fermenting foods as a whole. That simply isn't true. All it is is a question about 2 of your particular steps.

You also choose to take comments out of context when it serves your purpose. You ignore the context and rest of the information provided.

You pontificate yet never answer what was initially a very simple question.

You continuously cite second and third hand sources rather than reading the actual source even when links are provided.

Then when all else fails you resort to personal attacks to try to make your case.

I have made every effort to avoid falling to that level of discussion. So you feel free to continue with your experimentation that you say you so enjoy doing and I'll continue fermenting lots of different foods as I have for years using proper methods. I'll leave it to others to decide which of us has made the better case.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

That is my concern, the food under the oil. I see no way for it to not be a potential for botulism under that layer of oil. You would get some in that when you remove the oil from the food, so how much oil is getting into that liquid tomato sauce ? Then, since contaminated and then stored again, my concern is botulism will grow in those food particles covered in oil. The oil coats particles in the mixture, and then shuts off the air, and then potential botulism can grow.
That is all I have been saying all along. When reading about the olive oil in the link, it says just plain olive oil is fine. We all agree on that. It can get rancid, but that is different. Dr. Deane says PLAIN olive oil is sealed up with no ill effects . It even says " These bacteria can grow in low oxygen environments such as sealed cans and bottles or in water covered with a layer of oil. " To me that is the part you are missing on understanding. You are sealing with a layer of oil on a wet environment.
So, it is the layer of oil on top that we are concerned about. It mixing with the food on top of your bottles, jars, whatever you store the food in.

Now, I thought you had all stopped attacking each other !

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:57PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Sigh. If the botulism is not present in the oil, and the ferment has killed all pathogens in the 'watery media' and an environment exists where it can't survive, where is the botulism coming from?

"According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the bacteria cannot grow in the oil itself, it must have a watery media"

Never mind that, " Oil has been used for thousands of years as a preservative, keeping foods from oxidizing and desiccating and discouraging pests.”

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 13:37

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

The ferment has not killed all pathogens.... not that I can see. Where do you get the information that all pathogens are gone ?? It is a wet condition under that oil, isn't it ?
Just wondering where you found the information that all pathogens are destroyed. Not arguing, just trying to figure out where you get those facts.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Why not contact the NCFHFP at Univ. of Georgia and ask Elizabeth Andress ? She has a phd in Food Sciences.

Here is a link that might be useful: Contact Elizabeth Andress .

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:08PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

linda lou:
"The ferment has not killed all pathogens.... not that I can see. Where do you get the information that all pathogens are gone ?? It is a wet condition under that oil, isn't it ?
Just wondering where you found the information that all pathogens are destroyed. Not arguing, just trying to figure out where you get those facts."

Linda lou, have you ever consumed any raw unpasteurized lacto fermented food? If so, my question to you is, why did you consider it to be safe to eat?

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 7:15

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 7:12AM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Capping the surface of the tomato sauce with oil actually decreases the risk of botulism by inhibiting the growth of molds, yeasts, and other bacteria:

"Although low-acid vegetables and fish have been the chief culprits, tomatoes, tomato-based mixtures and such fruits as figs, apricots, pears, peaches, applesauce, persimmons and mangoes also have been involved. In some cases inadequate processing permitted the growth of molds, yeasts or bacteria, which in turn raised the pH of the food sufficiently to permit the growth of C. botulinum, if present"

Here is a link that might be useful: Botulism

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:48AM
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cannond

"cannond - please don't take that or other comments out of the context where they were made.."

Dave, this whole post (the part directed at me) was just plain rude and condescending.

I asked a legitimate question because it wasn't clear to me and I was rather thrown for a loop. Linda Lou answered it respectfully and fully. I was quite content with that and appreciated her answer.

You oughtn't be such a bully.

Deborah

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Yes, and I have made sauerkraut, etc. As you know I instruct food preservation and food safety, so I know about botulism. I am USDA trained, so going against that just seems impossible for me to do. I would seal with a cork or use plastic wrap or something like that instead of oil if I were sealing it up. I also put my sauerkraut in the fridge. That is why I probably should ask Elizabeth Andress or our food scientists at the University about capping with the oil to get their perspective on it. I will try to get a reply about this from them.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 4:07PM
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gardengalrn(5KS)

Wow. I for one love to see what everyone is putting up and their tips on making things easier. However, I want my own practice to be as safe as is possible and I've always appreciated the advice I've received here. I think everyone here has known of practices by our grandmothers or older generation that don't really meet standards of today. If they were lucky, nobody got sick or opened the pantry to find a lot of hard work gone down the drain with funky growth in the jars. I certainly don't want to feed my children/grandchild something that I know I can improve on as far as safety standards. So I do thank those people here for expressing concerns or making suggestions as they have over the years.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 4:22PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

linda lou:
" I also put my sauerkraut in the fridge"

What is the danger, and by danger I mean life threatening hazard, in NOT putting your raw unpasteurized lacto fermented kraut in the refrigerator? What's going to happen to it? Will it become deadly dangerous? Doesn't anyone else 'think outside of the box' anymore?:

"..."For his second round-the-world voyage, Capt. Cook loaded 60 barrels of sauerkraut onto his ship. After 27 months at sea, 15 days before returning to England, he opened the last barrel and offered some sauerkraut to some Portuguese noblemen who had come on board. ... they carried off the rest of the barrel to give some to their friends. This last barrel was perfectly preserved after 27 months, in spite of changes in climate and the incessant rocking of the ship. The sauerkraut had also preserved sufficient quantities of Vitamin C to protect the entire crew from scurvy. Not one case occurred during the long voyage even though this disease usually decimated crews of voyages of this length."..."

...27 months, doesn't that provoke the least bit of curiosity in you as to HOW that kraut kept that long? Without refrigeration?

Here is a link that might be useful: Captain_60 barrels of kraut_2

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 7:02PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

From one of the previously provided recipes:

"This sauce will keep perfectly for one year in a dark, cool closet."

Do you think they've just made this up? Is there something sinister, dark, and foreboding in what these people are sharing?

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 20:28

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:16PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

It seems to me that things have been blown way out of proportion here and the sniping that is occuring is both childish and unecessary. Can't you all have a debate about food safety without resorting to sarcasm and personal attacks?

As someone who would like to eventually get into canning and fermenting, I happen to find that this post has quite a bit of interesting information in it. However, this post also has quite a bit of ridiculousness in it. Too much, in fact.

Rodney

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I will wait to hear back from our food safety scientist at the university about the oil.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:09PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Please be certain that the food safety scientist understands that the oil is capping a matured lacto fermented food, and not just any ol' food.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:46PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Better yet, direct him/her to this thread, have them sign on as a guest or member and provide some direct dialog on this topic. That would be great!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:41PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

delete double post

This post was edited by sidhartha0209 on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 23:45

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:42PM
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beegood_gw

This is the first time on the Harvest forum. Was sort of looking for ways to dry tomatoes. After reading this particular thread I now know I will stick with store bought sun dried tomatoes. Too many opinions for some one who has never tried it before. Great for experienced canners etc. I think.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:56PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

We have two Harvest Maid dehydrators, over the years we've dried lots of vegetables, fruits, and meat (mostly venison for jerky). The dried Black Cherry Tomatoes make for a really neat tasty snack, EVERYBODY so far likes them, especially the 2 yr old toddler granddaughter; I've been calling it 'tomato jerky'. And they're so easy, wash, butterfly, arrange them on their backs in the tray, and dry them 'low and slow' (115F-125F depending on the ambient humidity) for best results. I almost always keep my dried stuff in the freezer as an extra safeguard against mold, especially/particularly jerky.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:41PM
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david52_gw

Drying tomatoes is easy and safe. As my kids move out of the house and the demand for canned sauces declines, we're drying most of the harvest now - I'm already at 9 x 1 gallon ziplock bags stuffed full of dried tomato chips. And a long way to go.....

I find the trick is to slice them slightly over 1/2 inch thick, say 1.5 cm, then they dry out to crisp flake in They get eaten like potato chips, tossed into beans, chili, stews, chopped into pasta dishes, rehydrated and turned into pizza sauce and assorted spreads. They're also light weight enough to ship off to the aforementioned moved-out kids who miss the tastes of home.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:10PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

"Drying tomatoes is easy and safe"

David, have you ever had any tomato slices where sections of it turned black? Some of the more ripe chunks/slices of tomatoes I dried had sections of it that did that, turned black. I googled and read low acid tomatoes are more prone to do that, which probably most of mine were, but it's odd that early on none turned black, it was later in the season that I had this problem.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:28PM
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david52_gw

Well, right now I'm drying a variety called 'Vorlon' which is a cross between Cherokee Purple and Pruden's Purple, so when they dry, they're pretty dark anyway. I don't recall having any red varieties do that.

What I do find is that putting them into the drier when they're just turning ripe gives the best results - easier to slice, they hold together better, bright red results.

As for timing in the season, here the night time temperatures start to drop down into the 50's/40's early in September, and once that happens, the quality goes down pretty quickly.

I haven't done it myself, but a neighbor who dries copious amounts of everything routinely uses a spray bottle with lemon juice or vinegar to insure a high enough acidity, gives things a spritz before putting the trays in the drier.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:33AM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

Thanks for the heads up on Vorlon tomato, google shows it to be greatly gaining in popularity; Lord willing I will grow it next year. How would you compare it to Cherokee Purple?

I presume where you're at in CO the climate is very low humidity, excellent conditions for drying food, right?

It's typically very high humidity here during tomato season, takes longer to dry tomatoes especially when the dehydrator is outside.

I'll try your tip about selecting 'just turning ripe' tomatoes for drying, my observations support that also.

Don't know how much you can tell from the OP photo of the Brandy Boys in the tray, but all those chunks of tomato have the skin on the backside. I was trying to replicate the success I had with drying the cherry tomatoes on their skins, and for the most part it was successful, just some turned dark/black, but I honestly couldn't even taste the black, it just didn't look good.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:32PM
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thatcompostguy

"I’ve also used airlocks with success, or just let the top mold and pull the ‘plug’ out when it’s time to use the juice."

Yuck!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:27PM
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sidhartha0209(KY_6a)

This is live food we're talking about; fermenting isn't for everyone.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 3:14AM
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david52_gw

I presume where you're at in CO the climate is very low humidity, excellent conditions for drying food, right?

Usually so - humidity in the single digits or low teens. So I can pack a dehydrator with tomato slices and its dry in 20 hours. Herbs take an hour.

Right now, we have some plume of sub-tropical moisture around and the humidity is up to 50% - gag, think I'm in a sauna....

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 10:31AM
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LKZZ(7b)

First year I planted San Marzanos...GREAT for sauce and dried in a dehydrator (just got one for my b-day). I also dehydrated the Large Red Cherries which also made delicious salsa.

Made several quart jars of chili sauce - fantastic!

Made a green tomato hotdog relish that was (is) wonderful. First time ever making anything from green tomatoes. Will definitely make that again next year.

Tomatoes are gone now...not a bad harvest for such a horribly wet South Carolina summer. I am grateful.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 1:25PM
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cannond

"Made a green tomato hotdog relish that was (is) wonderful. First time ever making anything from green tomatoes. Will definitely make that again next year. "

Do you mean a fermented green tomato relish? If so, could you describe the method? Thanks.

Deborah

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 1:30PM
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sandrakassa(4)

is it okay to use tomatoes that have blossom end rot if you cut off the bad part and boil and freeze them for soup or sauces. Same question for cracked tomatoes. I really hate to throw out my whole crop but I will if I must. If it ever stops raining I will spray them with Epsom salts but its getting late in the season even for that.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 1:31PM
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