Fermenting advice

michelelcAugust 20, 2012

I bought a Perfect Pickler (its just a lid that fits on a wide mouth canning jar with an airlock on it) and now I'm into fermenting. I fermented some cauliflower and lots of cucumbers with my pickling cucs. Now I want to try jalapenos. I didn't find any good recipes with the book that came with the perfect pickler, but I found this recipe online. Does anyone with experience think this looks correct? Also, I was wondering how long my fermented cucs and peppers will last in the refrigerator. I've gotten carried away since I had so many cucumbers, I'm wondering if they will store a few months, or if I should start sharing them before they get mushy?

pickled jalapenos recipe

Ingredients

1 quart Fresh Jalapeno Peppers

1/2 onion (Sliced)

3 - 4 cloves Garlic

3 tbsp Unrefined Sea Salt

1 quart Filtered Water

Instructions

Gently wash and clean the jalapenos, discarding any bruised, marred or mushy peppers.

Add the peppers, garlic and onions to your vegetable fermenter.

Combine unrefined sea salt and filtered water to create a brine and pour over the vegetables.

Ensure that vegetables are below the water-line.

Culture at room temperature until the jalapenos change color from deep green to an olive green. This usually takes approximately 5 to 7 days depending on the temperature of your home.

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green_grandma(5A)

With the extremely acidic content of Jalopeno's, you might want to consider a 'kick starter' for the lactobacilli ... like straining a cupful of whey out of some active culture supermarket yogurt via cheesecloth, and adding the whey to your brine. Don't add the whey until after your boiled water and salt brine has cooled down to room temperature, though, or it will defeat the purpose.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 4:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Fully fermented vegetables will keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for several months. The issue most have is determining when they are fully fermented as partially fermented foods will not store nearly so long.

In some cases 7 days may be sufficient, in other cases it may take 3-4 weeks to reach full fermentation. That is one reason why using only approved and tested recipes is recommended until one gains enough experience to know the difference.

Serval factors determine how long it takes a particular food to reach full fermentation. Room air temperature is a big one, ratio of salt to food is another, exposure to light and air another, and food particle size is also important. Approved and tested recipes take all those factors into consideration.

At temperatures between 70 and 75 F many foods will be fully fermented in about 3 to 4 weeks. Lower air temps take longer and warmer air temps often result in spoilage and poor results. Small food particles will ferment faster than chunks so sliced jalapenos would be faster than whole.

Your recipe sounds like enough salt, indeed it may be a bit too much but too much is safer then too little. Personally I don't like the results from using sea salt since it contains stabilizers and often turns cloudy. Canning salt gives much better results IMO but it also measures differently from sea salt.

Otherwise my only issue with your recipe is the 5-7 days. I seriously doubt that will be sufficient for full fermentation so I wouldn't expect them to store well in the fridge for more than 3 weeks or so before listeria would begin to grow in them.

I'd check them at 7 days but if you do them whole as the recipe says I would expect to see continued fermentation and bubbles until day 14 or so. But given all the variables only you will be able to actually determine when they are done. That's why NCHFP recommends processing them for storage rather than just fridge storage. That way you don't have to worry about whether they are fully fermented or not.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sorry but jalapenos are a very low-acid vegetable.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:09PM
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michelelc

Dave, would I ferment them, then process them for storage? I'm not sure where to find that on the NCHFP website.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:14PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

After fermenting. NCHFP has a whole section on fermentation. The processing would be the same for any of the other fermented foods there - 10 mins. pints 15 mins quarts depending on altitude.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Fermentation

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:17PM
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michelelc

thanks Dave. I did read over the fermentation section, but the only part of the fermentation section that discussed canning after fermenting, was the low-temperature pasteurization portion, so I'm a bit confused. Is there a section in the canning part of the site that discusses canning the fermented product after fermentation?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:42PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes the processing chart is listed in each of the fermented recipes ie. pickles, sauerkraut, etc.

The processing time for all fermented foods is the same just as the low-temp pasteurization time for all fermented foods is the same. All you are doing is creating the vacuum and sealing the jar.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:40PM
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michelelc

Great, thanks! I don't think there is a recipe for fermented peppers there, that is why I was confused. I would like to avoid getting mushy jalapenos, that is why I was avoiding canning after fermenting. Maybe I'll make some fermented without canning, but won't plan on keeping them more than a few weeks, and then can others with pickle crisp and skip the fermenting step. I'm surprised to see that on the fermenting section of the NCHFP website they add vinegar to the brine, I thought that inhibits fermentation. I need to learn more about fermenting before I attempt to keep things in the refrigerator for a long period of time, I guess.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:03PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

They're just adding a small amount of vinegar to inhibit the growth of mold in the early stages. As lactic acid forms, the vinegar becomes no longer necessary.

Mold can be more of an issue in warm summer weather.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:35PM
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