Lactic acid fermenting

John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)October 23, 2006

No more airlocks and balloons, just weights (glass beads in nylon bags) &

canning jars w/tight lids. My new compact 'fermenting' refrigerator arrived this week and am now tweaking the

temp settings after filling with jugs of water to temporarily take place of

fermenting veggies.

A picture of the glass beads that I use for weight. I now use sea salt and

have always used nylon tulle to enclose them and not the plastic netting

shown in the picture. I scored 12 lbs beads for $5.94 at 1/2 price sale at Hobby Lobby a week or so ago. :)

Garlic

Horseradish... 1/4" fresh-sliced 'coin'

Hot peppers.... 3 habaneros sliced in half & 1 Pasilla Bajio

2 tsp sea salt

3 tbls sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar

1 tbls freeze-dried Kefir starter

10 days at 64-68F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 6

weeks

Green beans

3 1/2 cups grean beans

3/4 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed

1/2 small onion sliced

3 tbls sea salt to 1 qt water (water used for boiling beans)

1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

1 tbls fresh grated horseradish root

1 sprig fresh savory

1 tsp minced garlic

8 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 4

weeks

Carrots

Baby carrots & Onions #1

4 peppercorns (Indonesia Muntok)

1 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed

2 leaves fresh Mexican Oregano

1 small sprig fresh Arp rosemary (abt 4-5 needles)

2 sliced Aribibi Gusano hot peppers w/seeds and placenta

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp sea salt to 1 qt water (to fill jar to just above veggies)

1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

Sliced purple & yellow onions

Baby carrots peeled and washed

Baby carrots & Onions #2

4 peppercorns (Indonesia Muntok)

1 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed

1 sliced Chocolate Habanero w/seeds and placenta

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp sea salt to 1 qt water (to fill jar to just above veggies)

1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

Sliced purple & yellow onions

Baby carrots peeled and washed

10 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 6

weeks

Radishes

10-18-06 Fermented Radish

Whole radish(s)... roots and greens removed

2 fresh garlic cloves... thin sliced

Sweet onion (rings)

Turnip... 1/4" slice

Horseradish... 1/4" coins (2)

Ginger root... thin slices (3)

Hot pepper.... Orange Cherio (C. chinense) sliced in half

3 tblsp sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar

1 tsp freeze-dried Kefir starter

10-18-06 Fermented Radish

Whole radish(s).. roots and greens removed

2 fresh garlic cloves... thin sliced

Sweet Onion (rings)

Baby Carrots (6)

Hot peppers... 2 White Bullet habaneros (C. chinense) sliced in half

3 tbls sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar

1 tsp freeze-dried Kefir starter

10 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 6

weeks

Sauerkraut

10-20-06 Sauerkraut (to make 2 quarts)

Red cabbage... shredded (2 lbs 8 oz)

Yellow onion... shredded (10.3 oz)

Sour apple (Granny Smith)... shredded with peel (5.9 oz)

Caraway seed... 1/12 tsp

Juniper berries... (6) 3 ea jar

Sea salt... 2 tsp

Kefir starter (freeze-dried)... 1 tsp

16 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 4

weeks

About Lactic Acid Bacteria

Lactic acid is formed as a product of energy exchange during the metabolism

of microorganisms and other life forms, both plants and animals. The name

is derived from the Latin word for milk, as the bacteria were first isolated

in sour milk. The salts of lactic acid are known as "lactates." Lactic

acid bacteria cause catabolic changes in certain sugars. The changes result

in two new products: lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The lactic acid

breaks down foods, making them more easily digestible. The lactic acid

process brings about another boon: the natural preservation of the

fermented food. There are, in fact, two kinds of lactic acid bacteria: one

that is adapted to milk and milk products, and one that is adapted to

plants.

Bacterial floras are responsible for providing lactic acid to the mucous

membranes in the mouth, the intestines and the female genital organs. In

the plant kingdom, species growing close to the soil have the most lactic

acid bacteria. It is important to note that almost all vegetables are

plentifully supplied by nature with lactic acid-forming bacteria.

Traditional methods of lactic acid fermentation preservation (that do not

involve the addition of a bacterial culture to start fermentation) rely

strongly on this fact. Vegetables and fruits provide their own lactic acid

bacteria. The white film you find on fruits, like plums, apples and grapes

is the yeast that starts the fermentation process and turns the fruit sugar

into alcohol. The same white film on cabbage and other vegetables is the

beneficial bacteria that starts the fermentation process and turns vegetable

carbohydrates into lactic acid. Likewise, unpasteurized milk sours by

itself. The friendly bacteria from the grass the cow grazed on are carried

into the milk and turn the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. Adding a

starter culture, like lactobacillus acidophilus bulgaricus, yogurt of kefir,

to make sour milk is only necessary with milk that has been pasteurized.

Lactic acid fermentation has four basic requirements:

1. A certain concentration of salt

2. A specific temperature

3. An oxygen-free environment

4. Pressure on the foods being fermented.

A special kind of fermentation occurs during which lactic acid is formed.

Microorganisms, yeast and bacteria all play a role in this process. These

organisms can only developed, however, if suitable conditions prevail and if

they receive enough nourishment.

The process of lactic acid fermentation occurs in two different phases.

First, there is a slight decomposition due to fermentation. The salt

initially protects all vegetables from decay until enough lactic acid has

formed. Eventually so much acid is produced that the bacteria that cause

decay and the butyric acid (a fatty acid that inhibits the fermentation

process)can no longer be produced. Yeast fungi, which contribute to the

delicious and characteristic fermentation aroma, are also part of the

initial fermentation process.

A successful first phase is the foundation on which the whole lactic acid

fermentation process rests. It must take place quickly and must not be

interrupted. In this first phase, temperature plays an important role. The

ideal temperature for sauerkraut is 20-22°C (68-72°F); for cucumbers 18-20°C

(64-68°F); and for carrots around 20°C (68°F).

After two days another phase begins: The lactic acid-producing bacteria

start gaining the upper hand and eliminate all other bacteria. This process

must not be rushed. Lower the temperature to 59-64°F (15-18°C) for cabbage

and to about 18°C (64°F) for other vegetables. Fermentation should continue

without any problem. Soon, it will reach the critical pH of 4.1, where

butyric acid and decay bacteria can no longer form. It is during this phase

that new substances like acetylcholine, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and enzymes

are formed.

When fermentation stops-after 10-14 days (two to three weeks for

cabbage)-the vegetables must be put in a cool place, ideally between 8-10°C

(46-50°F). A thermometer set on top of the fermentation crock will show

whether the temperature is right.

It is important not to open the fermentation crock before the end of

fermentation; if you do, the carbon dioxide that prevents yeast formation

will escape. If you are using a Harsch crock, check occasionally to ensure

that the water gutter is filled. If you use jars with twist lids, put them

in a cool place 45-50°F (8-10°C) for ten days without opening them. If you

use open containers, the kahm layer must be removed. (More information

elsewhere)

Once the vegetables have been put in a cool place, patience is required, as

all biological processes need time. Acid formation only takes place during

the first, or warm, stage. (It is better, by the way, to make the warm

period a little too long rather than too short.) Aroma develops during the

cool storage period. To develop the aroma, bacteria need sugar and other

nutrients. If all the sugar present has been used up during an overly long

and warm fermentation, your product will be well preserved, but it will

taste sour, so, stick to suggest fermentation times.

Has the Fermentation Been Successful?

The aroma and taste of your product will tell you. A successful

fermentation develops a characteristic pleasing aroma. The taste should be

pleasant and slightly sour. If you do no want to rely on your tongue alone,

buy some litmus paper at your local drugstore and test the pH-value.

We should briefly explain that pH-value is a measure of the degree of

acidity or alkalinity of a fluid, and is rated on a scale of one to

fourteen. The lower the pH, the more acidic the fluid. Around the middle,

at pH 7, the solution is neutral. Above pH 7, the solution is alkaline.

For lactic acid fermentation, the critical pH is 4.1. Below this value,

decay cannot occur. Decomposition or decay has its own characteristic and

unpleasant smell; when this happens, butyric acid forms, and the vegetables

turn slimy. Throw them away and try again!

Common Problems

1. Vegetables grown too rapidly, or those over-fertilized or sprayed with

pesticides can spoil during fermentation.

2. The water level on top of Harsch crock dried out permitting oxygen to

enter the fermentation pot.

3. The pickling jars did not close properly (check seals carefully),

permitting oxygen to enter jars.

4. Fermentation can also fail if insufficient salt was used. Salt is the

preservative to bridge the time until lactic acid is formed.

Preserving Jars

You can use ordinary glass preserving jars for fermentation of you wish, or

any glass jar with a twist lid. The essential thing is that the lids close

tightly. Check the lids of used vacuum jars carefully as they may have been

damaged when the jar was opened. You might have to use double rubber rings

to get a good, tight seal if you are using preserving jars. Prepare the

food in the same way as you would if you were using a fermentation crock.

You can then press the vegetables into the jar, making sure you don't fill

it to more than 80 percent of its capacity.

When preserving in jars there should always be one-half inch (1 cm) of brine

on top of all fermenting vegetables as some liquid will escape the jar as

vapor. The sealed jars should also be stored on a towel, as any escaping

liquid will dribble down the sides.

The jars must be kept in the dark during the fermentation stage and

subsequent storage. Put them in a carton, or cover them with a cloth.

Using smaller containers like twist-top jars can be more practical for small

families and single people. It, however, easier to obtain good results when

working with larger amounts of vegetables because a larger number of

microorganisms will then be interacting with each other. Plastic jars are

not recommended as harmful substances can leech into preserved foods over

time.

.............................................................................................................

Most of the above is quoted from the book "Making Sauerkraut and Pickled

Vegetables at Home: Creative Recipes for Lactic Fermented Food to Improve

Your Health". Hopefully won't be many typos and if you see any errors please let me know.

The recipes & methods that I used are my interpretation/adaptations of what

I think to be correct and I won't know if successful until the final pH and

taste test.

It's almost time to peek into my Harsch fermentation crock again. 5 lbs of hot pepper mash that I started Sept 3rd. Did some things wrong, but am still mildly optimistic.

I'm very confident that can do correctly the 2nd time around and tomorrow hope to pick a bunch of hot pods most of which are habs. The crock will fit nicely into my new fridge and is where should have been for some weeks. Now if I can only find the pH 4.0 and 7.0 calibration solutions for my pH testers!

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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

John,
Do you think the kefir starter will be more reliable than using whey? I think it will be very interesting to hear about your results.

Hubby and I were talking about getting a small fridge for the harsch crock when we eventually move back to (north) florida. We don't have anywhere in our house with temperatures that are consistently cool - even in winter. My personal thermostat is set more to save money on the A/C so I keep the house a little warmer that the northern folks. I'm just miserable when the temperature goes below 70 - even all bundled up. The garage will be cool for a while and then you get one of those warm spells. Not that I mind the warm spells...
Melly

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 5:02AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> Do you think the kefir starter will be more reliable than using whey?

Melly,

I don't see why it should be, but I want consistency and the freeze-dried powder is really easy to use. What is going to take some time is figuring out how much. And I don't think a heck of a lot is required. You should see all the bubbles! Some of the jars are just going nuts!

And I'm pushing the limits on the amt of space between jar lid and contents. I want to see what happens if something decides to bubble over.

I see a web cam purchase in the near future. Got an old one, but not compatible with XP Pro MCE for some reason. Would probably be too much line drop with a USB cord that long anyways. More to think about.

Hot peppers today!!!

jt

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 7:21AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Hi jt -

This sounds like the basic technique I use to ferment my sauerkraut and fermented dill pickles. I really like it - no scum, no watching. However, I don't screw the tops down too tightly - and put the jars in a plastic shoe box to catch any drips.

This idea was taken from the "Euell Gibbons Dill Crock in Stocking Up III" book I have.

While I make the kraut in the pint and quart sized regular canning jars, that can withstand a lot of pressure - I always have a little bit of ooze to catch. Hopefully, I never have an explosion - but so far, so good.

For the fermented pickles, and dill crock with mixed layered veggies (as you are doing), I also put a brine baggie on top, then put the cover on - but added a wrinkle of my own, by covering the lid with another baggie to keep any brine from contacting metal.

Looks like you are in for some really good eating. I didn't use kefir, but just let the natural lactic acid from the veggies do the job.

I enjoy this method a lot, and have adopted it for my garlic dill pickles, and I like a grape leaf in my pickles when I can them too.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 9:42AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Bejay,

Am so glad to see some interest in this thread. The fermenting thing has
rather consumed my mental (LOL) time the last month or two. Never, ever
have made a hot sauce that was proud of (my own concoction) and am really
hoping this might result in one. And must admit that personally I like the
vinegary types such as Tabasco. My MSN Rogue (chile-heads) friends seem to
come up with them with ease. I really, really want to come up with a good
one.

That said... ended up making dill pickles today and will wait until tomorrow
to do the hot peppers. Took almost 2 hours for me to run down fresh
tarragon.

4 cucumbers
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 small red onion (sliced & quartered)
2 medium cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp fresh horseradish root (grated)
1 1/4 tsp sea salt to 1 qt water (to fill jar to just above cukes)
1 tsp mustard seeds
'Lots' fresh dill
1 stem fresh tarragon
5 ground coriander seeds
1 tbls wine vinegar
1 White Bullet habanero (sliced)
1/2 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

Doesn't look like 4 cukes, but trust me there is & very tightly packed at
that. Put all the ingredients in bottom of jar before adding them & then
shook up... resulting in cloudy picture. Great cukes! Very hard & was in
last store that found suitable ones. Cut both ends off (I think that
is what Ken posted that he does). Randomly poked holes through them with a
round toothpic.

Interesting quote from book.... "Horseradish keeps pickled cucumbers
crisp for a long time, 'knackig' as the Germans say" We will see. Hope
so.

jt

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 8:19PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Hmmm - never thought to add horseradish to my pickles, but think I would like it. Planted some about 6 years ago, and it really made itself at home.

Also, I know about finding tarragon. Tried raising it but no luck. A local gourmet market, however, usually carries "everything" - although I embarrassed the owner one time when I wanted to buy some burgundy cooking wine for some beef burgundy. He only carried the expensive stuff for much money.

The "pickle crock" recipes that I mentioned in my previous post, also call for a little bit of vinegar. Although some information I read would suggest that this might "cool" the lactic acids somewhat. Never seemed to bother my efforts however.

Let us know how they turn out.

P.S. I'm "in" to trying for a really good bread starter for sour doughs -I think I'm gaining on it.

Bejay

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 8:50AM
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david52_gw

Hi John, I'm very curious how your garlic turns out, I have several dozen heads left over after planting this fall. The chili will turn out well, I'm sure.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 9:18AM
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david52_gw

John, I forgot to mention re my Kefir fermented Hatch chilies. I ran them through a baby food mill, removing the seeds and skin. I sure like the result better. It would also work to run it through the tomato strainer things that everyone uses. I would think one would need a large enough batch, a half-gallon or more, to make it worth while.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 3:38PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Melly writes: > Do you think the kefir starter will be more reliable than using whey?

Just got the out of print 3rd book that I ordered (ebayed) on subject today. Would I recommend paying the high price? No... unless you are really into holistic medicine. Had some informative (pertinent to this discussion) parts though:

From "Making of Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home" by Klaus Kaufman.

jt

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 6:08PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Totally screwed up!

The above book quote should have been "Kefir Rediscovered!" by same author.

I'll go to bed now

anon

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 6:26PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

David52 writes: "John, I forgot to mention re my Kefir fermented Hatch chilies."

David it was you that got me started on fermenting and I thank you for it! And Melly almost simultaneously posted about the Hirsch crock. A new passion was born. I tried to reach you through the GW email forms some time back, but that failed. Will try again using just your email addy.

Tomorrow (today actually) I'm going to make a strained pepper mash and set up an experiment as to how much starter is needed per volume of mash to start producing gas quickly enough to prevent kahm from ever get started. And then amounts of salt needed etc. I have a couple cases of 5 oz woozies on order from Beth at Peppermania, but they won't be here until mid next week so will use the 12 oz ones that I have on hand.

jt

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 2:35AM
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david52_gw

I'd say if you go to the extent of setting up a web cam so we can all watch the bubbles, well .......

For two gallons of smushed peppers, (3 gal crock 2/3 full, no air) I use two of those Kefir packets. I always worry that I should use more. It might get it off a bit quicker, but given exponential growth of those kefir's, once they start to party when the conditions are right, I doubt doubling it would make all that much difference.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 9:13AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

jt - Was wondering about natural formation of lactic acid in fermenting foods.

From what I can learn, cabbage and other veggies have natural yeast formation already on them. However, when finally harvested, they are washed prior to eating. This poses a question whether these "natural" yeasts that produce lactic acid are removed.

In that regard, I could see the need to add an outside agent - (kefir) to replace that which was removed by cleaning.

Is that the reasoning behind the use of kefir in your testing? Have you tried fermentation without it utilizing the veggies own natural yeasts?

Just curious.

Bejay

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 10:46AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"This poses a question whether these "natural" yeasts that produce lactic acid are removed."

Lactobacilli, which create the lactic acid fermentation, are bacteria, not yeast. That type of fermentation produces lactic acid and carbon dioxide from sugar in the vegetable.

The 'bloom' you see on grapes, plums and that sort of thing are yeasts. They cause a different type of fermentation which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide from sugar in the fruit.

The amount of washing you would normally do will not remove all the yeast from fruit. A good rinse is all that's really necessary. And it is my understanding that the bacteria are inside the vegetables, not on the surface, so is still available for making kraut, pickles, etc.

Jim

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 1:36PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Newts!!!

GW ate a lengthy reply to Bejay several hours ago. Been on GW since late 90s and well know to copy a reply b4 sending. Not that it was so important to others, but I use forums to keep notes for my future reference.

Very much on what Jim posted. (thanks!)

Too tired now & ready for bed. Have had a fairly good afternoon experimenting. Pictures and details to follow tomorrow.

jt

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:55PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

>This poses a question whether these "natural" yeasts that produce lactic acid are removed.

Bejay,

I pondered the exact same myself. And how does using frozen veggies alter results? In one place we are told that everything must be squeaky clean and in another about the natural benefits of the white film that forms naturally on stored veggies. Puzzling.

David has posted in the pepper folder that natural lactic acid fermentation will take place even w/o the Kefir type starters.

And salt... added to retard the natural yeasts until a certain amount of lactic acid fermentation has taken place. But too rapid a first step in the process and all the food for the beneficial yeasts is used up and an inferior product is produced.

Am I confused? You bet!!! There is probably good reason why Tabasco has kept their fermenting process a secret all this years.

So trial and error for me until get a better handle on this. And I sure appreciate the continuing help here.

One of my sauerkraut jars leaked a little out of the top and down the side. Just exactly what I wanted. I'm screwing the rings down really, really tight on the new lids. Jar didn't break and now I know the gases can escape and at the same time air won't be able to get in when the fermenting stops.

Jim writes: > The amount of washing you would normally do will not remove all the yeast from fruit. A good rinse is all that's really necessary. And it is my understanding that the bacteria are inside the vegetables, not on the surface, so is still available for making kraut, pickles, etc.

Jim,

I wonder if freezing has any affect on things? So far I've been mixing fresh with the frozen just to be sure. And thanks for the rest of the info.

Running to town today to get some Pickle Crisp and to read the ingredients list on Mrs. Wages canning and pickling salt to see if anything besides salt. I'm going to PC one batch of cuke spears and compare with no PC. I love sliced cukes and always have a jar of them in the fridge in salt water. Plans are to ferment some (no spices or other ingredients) using just salt and starter to see how much the taste changes from fresh and how the Pickle Crisp ones compare. I don't expect favorable flavor results, but have to give it a shot.

jt

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 7:38AM
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david52_gw

Since Halloween is soon upon us, you might consider setting up a couple jars with chunks of dry ice so you get that swirling white vapor effect, put colored Christmas lights in a few of them, and then call Mrs. showme___usa into your laboratory to taste something.

Just an idea....

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 8:58AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"In one place we are told that everything must be squeaky clean and in another about the natural benefits of the white film that forms naturally on stored veggies."

All that can be done is to wash dirt off. It's impossible to rid fruits or vegetables of either beneficial or harmful micro-organisms by washing. If they have not begun to spoil (rot, decompose or ferment), the amount of micro-organisms on reasonably clean fruits or vegetables will not cause problems.

The white film I referred to is not formed during storage. It is the whitish film you see on the skin of growing or freshly harvested fruit. It's easy to see on purple grapes or black plums.

"But too rapid a first step in the process and all the food for the beneficial yeasts is used up and an inferior product is produced."

Again it is bacteria, not yeasts, that do lactic acid fermentation. Perhaps this statement refers to the fact that the fermentation is performed by a succession of different species of lactobacilli, not just one. We want to discourage yeasts unless we are making wine or beer. A rapid start is helpful because it gives an advantage to the organisms we want versus those we don't want. I don't know how likely it is to have a too rapid start.

I think yeasts will survive freezing. Probably lactobacilli too. I would need to look it up to be sure.

Jim

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 3:02PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

I would like to have used 1/2 the amt of Kefir starter per each woozie, but how the heck do you measure 1/16 tsp? The mash was extremely potent what with mostly C. chinense pods. When I rinsed off the sieve before washing it was almost overcome by the fumes! And even though I categorize myself as a hot pepper "SandyO Moderate" (& you won't find me popping fresh picked habs into mouth) can take a lot of enjoyable heat and do so every day.

Pepper Mash (pressed through sieve) 26 Oct 2006

15 liquid oz hot peppers
4 liquid oz onion
5 liquid oz Granny Smith apple
3 cloves garlic
5 baby carrots
distilled water to make 1 qt mash

1/2 tsp salt per 16 oz mash batch #1
1/4 tsp salt per 16 oz mash batch #2

1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 tsp Kefir starter per 4 oz mash both batches

5 oz woozies with 4 oz mash plus salt & starter ea

jt

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 4:42PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> Running to town today to get some Pickle Crisp and to read the ingredients list on Mrs. Wages canning and pickling salt to see if anything besides salt. I'm going to PC one batch of cuke spears and compare with no PC.

Plans on hold for the PC pre-soak experiment. Are you guys great or what!!!

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg0909494327642.html

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg070804314943.html?10

jt

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 5:33PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Jim,

You are right about wanting a quick start. A too long time in the warmer first stage would cause the problem I was talking about.

Once the vegetables have been put in a cool place, patience is required, as
all biological processes need time. Acid formation only takes place during
the first, or warm, stage. (It is better, by the way, to make the warm
period a little too long rather than too short.) Aroma develops during the
cool storage period. To develop the aroma, bacteria need sugar and other
nutrients. If all the sugar present has been used up during an overly long
and warm fermentation, your product will be well preserved, but it will
taste sour, so, stick to suggested fermentation times.

I'm looking ahead to a lot of trial and error.

jt

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 4:59AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> Hi John, I'm very curious how your garlic turns out, I have several dozen heads left over after planting this fall.

David,

The garlic is starting to change color. I know not to use tap water with garlic as will turn the cloves purplish over time due to the iron in the water I think. Distilled water solves that problem.

So far has somewhat of a green tint. Am guessing that is because of the sea salt. Sea salt was recommended for fermenting because of the additional minerals. Now I need to try a batch using pure pickling salt and see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 3:24PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Below is a link to perhaps the most comprehensive discussion of bacterial fermentation I have found.

Don't be daunted if you find the first part tough going. Skim over that to the portion starting with Section 5.6.2 The sauerkraut process, where you will find good, practical information on probably every issue which has been discussed on this forum so far with regard to lactic acid fermentation of all sorts of foods.

In my first quick reading, I found answers to several questions which were in my mind. I am curious to know what you find of interest in the article.

Jim

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 4:44PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Jim,

That's an incredible link! I spent $70 for 3 books on subject. 2 pages were worthwhile in one of them, o pages worthwhile in another and the 3rd was well worth the $10 even though somewhat confusing and possibly not accurate.

I've been wanting to email you for some time, but have never had luck with the Gardenwebbie form.

First thing that didn't catch my eye during a fast skim was any reference to keeping the fermenting veggies in the dark. It reinforced my thinking that temps are important.

Thanks so much! Will be sharing your link soon.

JohnT

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 6:08PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> A few days after the cucumbers have been placed in the brine, the fermentation process begins. The process generates heat which causes the brine to boil rapidly.

Huh? That I would like to see! Seems rather hard to believe.

And weight. (pressure) One of the 4 requirements in my quote at start of thread. I don't think so.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 8:39PM
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david52_gw

I can get my compost heap hot enough so that I can't put my hand in it, and fermentation can generate enough heat so that something can catch on fire, given enough heated mass and insulation. But boiling cucumbers in brine? How long would they boil, 4 days? Wouldn't they turn to mush? Perhaps they are talking about vigorous bubbling what with the carbon dioxide and stuff.

When will you sample the garlic? It sure looks good.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:05PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

David,

I had the same thoughts. But the article specifically says the process generates heat which is the cause of the boiling. If you read the passage carefully, I think it indicates it is talking about large scale commercial production. In that case, tanks holding 30,000 to 60,000 pounds of pickles are used, which would explain the high temperature, like your compost heap example. I still wonder about the pickles getting cooked though.

Jim

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:21PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

The garlic in above picture will be ready to sample Dec 1st.

While looking for BWB info for Melly's pickled garlic (today's project) I found that the green cast could be because the garlic cloves had not been cured. Wish I had bookmarked the site as can't find now. Another new one to me.

jt

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 7:35AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

About the garlic green color - I wondered if it might have been from the type of salt. Did you use pickling salt, plain salt with additives, iodized salt perhaps. Many contain minerals/preservatives, etc., which may affect the color.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 8:34AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Bejay,

Yes, it very well could have been the sea salt because of all the minerals. I bought a box of Ball pickling salt (1/2 price now at wallyworld because canning season is over) and will use it for my next batch.

Thanks!

jt

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 8:57AM
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jimrbto(Sunset Z11 CA)

I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that if the garlic was grown in soil that had even a small copper component in it that the plant would take this up and deposit it in the cloves which then turn green when pickled. It is harmless.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 4:18PM
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aberwacky_ar7b(Southern Ozarks, AR z7a)

Yes, green garlic is harmless.

"Under acidic conditions, isoallin, a compound found in garlic, breaks down and reacts with amino acids to produce a blue-green color. Visually, the difference between garlic cooked with and without acid can be dramatic, but a quick taste of the green garlic proved that the color doesn't affect flavor." From America's Test Kitchen Newsletter, September 2004.

I've also noticed this more with fresh garlic that may not have been cured long enough.

Leigh

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 8:58AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

jt -

Good idea! I've had a heck of a time finding pickling salt - as I've had some problems with clouding when I use the other kinds.

Apparently, not too many folks can/process foods in this part of the world - (or at least so it seems when I go to find jars, etc.), but now that season is over, I may try Big Lots, or Wal-Mart to see what is available.

By the way, how is the fermenting coming along - have you finished and sampled yet?

My kitchen activities are slow as far as the canner is concerned, but am trying to perfect my sour dough bread recipe. Yesterday's effort was a bit better. Learning curve - let bread rise slower - don't rush it. That was a helpful hint. Next will be to try the King Arthur flour. I bought a big bag of extra gluten flour, which has been fine for cakes, but not too sure if it is right for bread -or whether it may not be as fresh as could be.

Fun, fun, fun.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 9:17AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> By the way, how is the fermenting coming along - have you finished and sampled yet?

Bejay,

It's time to open the Harsch again. Maybe today or tomorrow. And I am witnessing something really bizarre in one of my ballooned woozie pepper mash trials. Will try to take a picture today after get back from town.

jt

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 9:59AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Bejay,

Took the woozie pix just before light ran out here & will post tomorrow. Was side tracked shopping for materials for new fermenting chamber am making. Think 'hard' pink foam insulation sheets, Gorilla Glue, 40 watt light bulb, cheapo rheostat, extension cord, ceramic light fixture & aprox gal size tin can. Have made similar using cardboard boxes before for starting seeds. Very precise temp control.

UPS delivered the new Weck-style glass 1 & 2 gal containers today. Beautiful! Multi-country mfg. The jars & rubber seals in Germany. Sure hope can find source for more seals.

75° forecast tomorrow. Vote & then all day on the deck. Hoping for more answers to my garlic canning question & would like to do that first.

Tomorrow the sauerkraut goes into the 45° fridge for aging. Looking and smelling good so far. And will open the Harsch crock for sure.

jt

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 7:52PM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

John,
They sell the Weck rings on their website but the minimum shipping fee is pretty high. If you just need a couple of rings, I can buy them locally. One of the garden centers has a small wine/beer/canning section. That is where I bought the harsch crock. I have a large supply of the wide mouth rings. I bought a bunch of jars off the clearance shelf at the German Wally World. Each box of 4 came with 10 rings. If you aren't processing them they should last a good long while. Btw, no skiing at the Zupspitze this time but the view was amazing. It started snowing the day we left.
Melly

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 2:55AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Melly,

I'll check a somewhat local Mar-Beck Appliance store next time go to KC. That's where I go for replacement parts for blenders, canners etc. Might never-ever need, but I was a Boy Scout & believe in their motto. They are indeed 4" rings.

Bummer about the Zupspitze, but at least you didn't end up on crutches like I did.

Bejay,

Took pix of the unusual happening in one of the woozies, but want to use the daylight for cooking on the deck. Will edit & post as soon as can & am sure hoping someone has a clue as to what is going on. (it's not mold or anything gross)

jt

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 12:00PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

One of the 6 trials is going nuts! The balloon is full of what is seen in the neck of the woozie now. 2 days ago did a check and discovered the balloon was full of an 'airy' pepper mash. Lots of air mixed with the mash and quite heavy. I squeezed the balloon until all was back into the woozie. Put finger over the balloon/woozie opening and gave a good shake. Did to all the others (shake) too. All had some (presumably) CO2 in their balloons.

Nearly two days later & balloon is heavy with whatever again. Weird!! Like there was an explosion of sorts.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 7:08PM
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david52_gw

John, does the direct sun hit these bottles any time during the day? I used to have issues with glass humming bird feeders in the direct sun that would empty themselves due to increased air pressure from the solar heat.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 10:51PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

David,

No sun. Only took them out of the basement (64-68°) to take the picture. And they were in complete darkness.

My original post with details on this trial was on Oct 27th. 13 days now and probably time to refrigerate for a month before opening and pH testing before tasting. I'm going to squeeze all the mash in the 1 balloon back into the bottle again.

Until I get the heat controlled chamber built will have time to think about where to go next. Next trial will start at 75° and use the same salt/Kefir ratios and same mash ingredients. And then I might want to try starting some with no air and also some with CO2 already in the balloons. No evidence of kahm yeast anyways so might be unnecessary.

It would have been fun to see what would have happened if the woozie had been tightly capped with flow reducer in place to seal. But that's for a future trial.

I need an Egor!

jt

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 3:21AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

I opened, tested for pH and then taste tested the 4 quarts of sauerkraut (2 recipes) today and was so totally pleased! One recipe (below) was way above expectations. And the other was very good. It's very, very seldom that I am completely pleased with anything that I can, cook or even do in general.

10-20-06 Sauerkraut (to make 2 quarts)

Red cabbage... shredded (2 lbs 8 oz)
Yellow onion... shredded (10.3 oz)
Sour apple (Granny Smith)... shredded with peel (5.9 oz)
Caraway seed... 1/12 tsp
Juniper berries... (6) 3 ea jar
Sea salt... 2 tsp
Kefir starter (freeze-dried)... 1 tsp

16 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for 31 days. Both jars had positive pressure and lots of gas bubbles in the mix. pH 3.83 in one and 3.84 in the other. Sour I expected of course, but the sweet was surprising. A great combo and flavor was superb.

The other 2 quarts were good too. Used the above recipe plus added horseradish, garlic and hot peppers. A pleasant taste with a good capsicum bite, but a little too much going on. Will omit the horseradish next time I think. pH 3.5 and 3.75 and neutral pressure. This recipe bubbled over and pushed out through the tight lids during first stage and was very active. I think might have been the hot peppers.

A really successful trial and now I know can screw the lids down very tightly for the fermenting. The more active 2nd batch didn't explode the jars etc & seems to have had no negative effect on the outcome.

I can see some more sausage and sauerkraut burritos in the near future. I must learn to make sausage & maybe next summer.

More jars to open this weekend. Trials each of fermented garlic, carrots, stringbeans, radishes and hot pepper mash.

Color me happy!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 4:01PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Suggest you try adding a small amount of the phosphates to the pork sausage meat. Its helped to give my sausages a lot more juiciness without the extra fat. Just cooked up a batch of pepper and onion sausages and these were made back in March of this year and were in my freezer. The big batch consisted of 4 different sausage types, kielbasa, pepper and onion, cheese, and beer bratwurst. All were great, except I over did it with the vinegar in some chorzo which came out a bit mushy due to the acid in the vinegar. I may thaw these and remix the meat with more ground beef to make pepperoni, which gets dried instead of a heat cure.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 8:17PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Thanks for the update jt, loved it! Oh - and by the way - about that bottle #4 - I think I would get an "egor" or perhaps let me send you one of my wild coons to do the taste test - Yipes!

If you want to make sausage, I know just the person to "guide" you. Isn't that so - Ken?

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 9:36AM
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david52_gw

I have a crock full of Japanese winter squash, "Black Futsu" now in its 2 nd week.

Jt, what's your opinion on the crock? I'm thinking a stocking stuffer.....

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 9:48AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Dave,

I really can't comment on the crock yet as only used it once and did everything wrong.

What I'm really itching to try next are the Ball jars below. I bought the 1 and 2 gal. These are great jars and I like that I will be able to see what is going on w/o having to open and introduce air into the container.

Haven't forgotten abt sending you and Janice in Ottawa something. Waiting on label stickers that should have been here a couple days ago. Played with the new label printing software for a couple hours earlier today and think is going to work out very well.

jt

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 12:41PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Baby carrots & Onions

4 peppercorns (Indonesia Muntok)
1 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed
1 sliced Chocolate Habanero w/seeds and placenta
2 fresh leaves Mexican oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp sea salt to 1 qt water (to fill jar to just above veggies)
1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter
Sliced purple & yellow onions
Baby carrots peeled and washed

12 days at 64-68°F
6 weeks at 44-46°F

I knew was good the second removed the lid... a very nice vinegary aroma. pH of
room temp sample was 3.58 which would be 10 times more acidic than required
to prevent botulism growth.

Carrots and onion slices were both still quite crisp. A very nice moderate habanero
heat that lasted a good 10 min. There are more flavorful hot peppers than the choc habs and will be fun
to experiment. I thought some sugar would have helped & was once again surprised
that I thought could use more salt.

Lots of trapped bubbles in the jar. The jar will be going back into the 44-46° fridge
and I'm curious to see if there will be more when I check again in a week or so.

jt

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 2:30PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

10-19-06 Garlic Cloves (1 quart)

Horseradish... 1/4" fresh-sliced 'coin'
Hot peppers.... 3 habaneros sliced in half & 1 Pasilla Bajio
Garlic... peel enough to fill jar
2 tsp sea salt
3 tbs sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar
1 tbs freeze-dried Kefir starter

10 Days @ 64-68*F
41 days at 44-46*F
pH 5.44

A total failure & don't know why
pH way too high -- down the disposal it goes

My guess is not long enough first stage and perhaps needed higher temps.
In 10 days or so will try a later started garlic jar

What irritates me is that I ate two of the cloves thinking 3.44 and not 5.44 pH

jt

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 5:48PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

10-17-06 String Beans (1 quart)

3 1/2 cups grean beans
3/4 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed
1/2 small onion sliced
3 tbls sea salt to 1 qt water (water used for boiling beans)
1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter
1 tbls fresh grated horseradish root
1 sprig fresh savory
1 tsp minced garlic

11 days @ 64-68*F
43 days @ 44-46*F
pH 3.70

This was successful. A nice flavor with both beans and
onion having great texture. If I do again will add some
kidney beans and would have a great salad.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 8:38AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Started on 10-18-06 Radish (1 quart)

Whole radish(s).. roots and greens removed
2 fresh garlic cloves... thin sliced
Sweet Onion (rings)
Baby Carrots (6)
Hot pepper... 2 White Bullet habaneros (C. chinense) sliced in half
3 tbls sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar
1 tsp freeze-dried Kefir starter
Tested on 10 Dec 2006

10 days @ 64-68*F
43 days @ 44-46*F
pH 3.93

Nice aroma, good flavor, radishes very crisp with good hot pepper bite
Back into the 44-46° fridge with the others (after removing the glass bead weight bags)
to see if flavors, pH etc change in coming weeks.
BTW... I received some very good ideas on why the garlic failed from gardenwebbie lurker. No idea who is, but obviously knowledgeable about wine-making. Next time go to Sam's Club will buy another 3 lbs garlic to try again. This time will be in pint jars and I'll post just what the changes will be. Still pondering the new suggestions, but think are right on.

Anxiously waiting proper time to start opening my fermenting pepper mashes. Might be 2-3 weeks haven't made up my mind.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 6:55PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

I had a hard time not altering the original recipe by adding hot peppers etc, but the last batch in quart jar turned out so well that decided to repeat it.

Used the new rubber coated kevlar gloves for protection and loved them. Glad now that got the rubber coating. Improved grip and hands stayed dry. Did not get fingers into the grater this time so still don't know how well the kevlar protects. Hopefully will never know.

Shredded the apples and cabbage, added spices, salt and Kefir and then put in large container to thoroughly mix before packing into the 1 gal jar. Let sit outside overnight (54°F) so salt could draw out liquid, compressed with a wine bottle, added 3 large leaves on top & weighted down with 1 lbs glass beads in nylon tulle bag.

I am concerned that I overfilled the jar and just might take some cabbage out before bringing inside. In fact am going to do that now as this is the time to make adjustments w/o disrupting the fermentation process and mold preventing carbon dioxide buildup.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 2:57PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

This is from last Nov 11th notes:

Don't have my controlled heat fermentation box built yet, but with cold weather can now keep house at the 75° I want to try for first stage peppers.

12 oz woozies. It supposedly makes a difference as to fermenting container size and decided to try and perfect with these (or larger) before move back to 5 oz. I doubted at first when read that when fermenting the contents can actually boil. Would take a large vat I'm sure & I know my compost pile can really generate heat. I see zero probe temp diff compared to ambient temps with quart containers so not sure how large have to go. And possibly size affects more than heat? Don't know. When progress to 1 & 2 gal containers might see a difference.

Playing with the balloons. I could eliminate almost all air space if wanted too. Decided to leave some. Not sure how long will leave at 75°. It will depend on how active the bacteria are working and amt of gas produced. A big gray area as to what is best length of time for first stage at certain temps before cooling down to the mid-60s. Don't even know if 75° is better than 70° or 65° etc. JimC said warmer & that is where I'm going this time. JimC is owner of Mild To Wild Pepper & Herb Co and supplies Red Savana Habanero mash to almost all the sauce manufactures. He sells in 5 gal buckets if anyone interrested.

When I tasted the mash the first thing thought was needs salt. 2 tsp salt and needs more! Too late. Can add at finish if worth keeping.

Fast forward to yesterday (Dec 30th)

Just took them out of the 45°F fridge today. 10 days at 75° and 39 days at 45°. Very mild aroma and not unpleasant which was a relief. Flavor was good, but rather unremarkable. pH of the 1/8 tsp Kefir is 4.46 and the 1/2 tsp Kefir is 4.38 at room temps.

I'm not sure where to go with this. Kinda like the garlic. 10 days at 75° should have produced more carbon dioxide and a better acidity. There was certainly plenty of food for the bacteria. And to get good flavor as I understand it you want to get the acidity right in the first stage and then cool down before the food is used up for the next stage.

Fermented stringbeans, cabbage, radishes and carrots are all great successes. Garlic and peppers not so much. I can boiling water bath or pressure process both with much better results and a lot less trouble. JimC says that many manufactures add vinegar or ascorbic acid to bring the pH down to safe levels.

There are I think 8 more jars and bottles of both garlic and pepper mash almost ready to test. My hopes aren't as high as I would like. I can't say the latest fermented pepper mash is a total failure, but certainly would never rate a Mild To Wild, Gourmet Gardens etc label.

JohnT

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 8:26AM
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david52_gw

John, for the hot pepper mash, perhaps when you've finished the fermentation process, there might then be other ingredients / flavors that could be added, that wouldn't go through the fermentation as well. Honey, tarragon, some kind of fruit concentrate like mango, peach, or something. What I found with fermenting just plain pepper mash / kefir / salt was a complex flavor, but it could certainly be improved / adapted with other stuff as well, according to personal taste.

As reported elsewhere, I am genetically incapable of following a recipe, so I would never have hesitated to toss an haberno in any one of these things.

My black futsu squash / kefir thing was a total disaster. I got the idea from reading about an Asian technique of fermenting squash, and then the futsu had a white yeast kinda thing growing on it, and so I figured, why not try. I ended up with 2 gallons of slime. Oh well.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 10:51AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> What I found with fermenting just plain pepper mash / kefir / salt was a complex flavor....

Dave,

That was where I was most disappointed. Granted I didn't age for 5 years like the Tabasco people, but just expected more.

I have several varieties very nicely flavored and HOT C. chinense ripe in my basement right now, but just don't want to waste as maybe total a quarter pound tops and these won't be setting more pods until next May or so. I used mostly frozen C. pubescens for this trial and although my fav species they are not as fragrantly distinctively tasting as the habanero family types. $7/lb for habs here and I just might buy a lb and try again in a quart jar next time.

There is so much about this fermenting that I don't have a handle on yet.

Times, temps, ingredients etc from you or others are greatly appreciated.

Do you think more kafir would have made a difference?

JohnT

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 11:41AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"Granted I didn't age for 5 years like the Tabasco people, but just expected more."

Did you add vinegar? IIRC, Tabasco has three ingredients -- peppers, salt and vinegar.

Jim

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 12:12PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Jim,

What I'm wondering is if the Tabasco people add the vinegar at the start or end of the process? If I added at the start I could cut short step one quite a bit because know will be acidic finish. Worth a shot and will be thinking about that.

jt

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 12:44PM
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david52_gw

In "The Joy of Pickling", I believe that in many of the naturally fermented vegetables, she recommends adding a bit of vinegar at the start of the process. But too much would neutralize the bacteria.

I watched a TV documentary on the Tabasco folks a few years back, and I got the impression that the fermentation was pretty non-high-tec, some guy tossing salt all over a buncha hot peppers, and then they stuff them into wooden barrels and seal them up. I would guess that once they have fermented and aged the stuff, they would use vinegar and salt to make the product uniform before bottling it up.

Anyway, its all good fun. That garlic is pretty good stuff, btw. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 11:15AM
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canman

To quote Dave52, it is "all good fun," and thankfully you don't need a German wundercrock nor NASA levels of thermostatic precision to make some good food. Each batch is a little different, but that's ok.

I regularly make both sauerkraut and Kimchi so that we always have both on hand. I use a simple crock (3 gallons, I think about $28) for the sauerkraut, and two or three litre European-style canning jars for the kimchi (junk shops). I score the rubber seal (with a citrus zester, I think it was) on the canning jars, so that they can bleed off any truly excessive pressure, maintaining the anaerobic ambiance without having my jars go kerplooie. My only fussiness with the kimchi is that I sent away for genuine Korean dried peppers: I couldn't find any other pepper that had the same bright hotness. Half-and-half cayenne and paprika came close but was still muddy compared to the Korean stuff. I put all sorts of things into my kimchi, though it is always mostly napa or Chinese cabbage. I would only say that Daikon tends to get VERY strong over a few weeks, that cucumber can get slimy, and that a piece of sliced ginger of any size can knock you off your dinner chair. I use no fish stuff, since mt wife is a vegan. I mix the stuff together, make sure there is enough liquid to cover (add brine if not), then sit it out on the counter for a few days to get started. Oh, you have to leave and inch or so of headroom or the action will pump the liquid right out of the jar (gasses displace the liquid, and up she goes). Then I put it in the fridge. After a week or so, it is edible; the salt, hot, and sour having melded. After LOTS of weeks, it can get pretty randy, but that is when it makes the best kimchi soup: water + kimchi + heat + leftovers.

For the sauerkraut, I just shred it (knife or mandoline, depending on mood) at aboout 1/8 inch, weigh it, add 3 T. salt per 5 pounds of cabbage, add it in small amounts to the crock, ramming it down bewteen addings until the liquid rises above the cabbage, then cover it all up. First I cover with two cotton handerchiefs, tucked down around the cabbage, then with a plate just smaller than the crock, then with a rock, about brick-sized (red granite, if it matters). On top of the crock I put first a doubled-over kitchen towel, then a plate just bigger then the crock, then (to keep the dogs away from it), a rock about the size of three bricks. The whole mess sits somewhere in the house, upstairs at "room temperature" for 2 or 3 weeks, depending on the temperature, until the bubbling begins to slow. Yup, I open it up a time or two, tap the side of the crock to see what bubbles I get, then recover it. I hardly ever have any of the sludge I read about: I think my elaborate crock cover makes a nice semipermeable membrane (or something). Then I put the crock on the basement floor, which remains a remarkably steady 52 degrees or so, taking kraut out as I want to, a quart or so at a time. It slowly gets stronger. I try to make enough so that we use it up in a few months. I tried canning it once, but it was not at all the same.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 3:40PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Dave writes: > Anyway, its all good fun. That garlic is pretty good stuff, btw. Thanks again.

Dave,

I'm very proud of the chipotle garlic. The other (not chipotle) was 'OK' (all were canned and not fermented). Did more than a doz versions and the Dec 5th version that I sent you was the best. Eat the garlic cloves and end up with the best hot sauce I have ever made. LOL! I had sauce & garlic left over from the batch used for the 8 half pints my canner holds and added some capsaicin extract (Stupid Hot) to it and canned (15 min water bath) several more. Holy smokes! Only for serious chile-heads!! Had some today & it just gets better with age.

I sent to Janice in Ottawa too, but am thinking Canadian customs 'ate' it.

JohnT

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 8:07PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

The Dave's recollection of the Tabasco program is quite accurate I believe. Anyway, it coincides with my recollections of what I have read. I'll look around for more details. So many accounts of these things are ambiguous of incomplete that they leave you guessing about some important stuff.

Jim

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 3:44PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> Then I put the crock on the basement floor, which remains a remarkably steady 52 degrees or so,....

canman,

I so envy those conditions! Wintertime here and basement has been a steady 59 at night and up to 64 during the day when I have the plant lights on. I overwinter (40 containers this year) hot pepper plants, Mex oregano, bay laurel etc and the lighting heats things up somewhat.

Getting some bubbles from my new kraut jar. It's sitting on top of the freezer with a large beach towel draped around and on top of it. I'm keeping the towel wet and that will cool the temps down several degrees for sure even though don't have a probe inside to prove it. Can remember 'heat of vaporization loss' from school daze.

Thanks for the input!

JohnT

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 5:24PM
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cocasey

For what its worth.

From the horses mouth, it sounds like Tabasco adds vinegar after fermenting. There's obviously a lot of marketing stuff going on, but I'd believe that the basics are true. Ferment peppers with salt in barrels. Age. Mix with vinegar. After a bit of time, strain. 'Bottle using modern methods'

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 10:52PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

cocasey,

Thanks so much for that link! I spent some time at your journal.

Glad to cyber-meet you! Anyone that likes growing hot peppers and the harvest forum is an instant friend of mine.

JohnT

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 12:15PM
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cocasey

Thanks JohnT - the link was about all I had to contribute, I still have a ton to learn.

But if you read any of the LJ, you can see how much I'm getting from regulars like you at GardenWeb. Both here and on the pepper forum. I appreciate the help and I'm sure you'll hear from me as the spring/summer comes.

-casey.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:11PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Garlic cloves:

Opened this one a few min ago. 1 month and 2 days at 75°.
pH is 4.82 and yet another garlic cloves failure.

I had 3 other garlic clove jars going at the same time. They were filled with a pepper and onion mash. Two more failures and one that had pH of 4.03 The 4.03 was especially active at the start and pushed colored liquid and some mash up into the airlock. Something I've observed with pepper mashes before. Why one jar is so much more active than other identical jars from the same batch is beyond me.

So.. I'm now convinced that garlic has antibacterial qualities and for the time being will quit trying to ferment the cloves.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 9:47AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I like pickled garlic. Linda Lou provided a recipe (not fermented) some time ago which I have not yet used, but which looks like it will produce the kind I like.

Jim

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 2:46PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> I like pickled garlic. Linda Lou provided a recipe (not fermented) some time ago which I have not yet used, but which looks like it will produce the kind I like.

Jim,

Her recipe is incredible! I've made over a doz variations using basic recipe as a base and is what I sent out for holiday gifts to my pod-head friends this year. It seems best when aged for a month or so. I made it water bathing for 10, 15 or 20 min and also pressure processed for 35 min at 15 lbs. The 20 min WB is what I think will go with in the future. The longer the garlic is cooked the milder and softer the cloves become. My chipotle/onion version is to me the best.

Send me your snail mail addy and I will send you a jar from Jan 6th batch. Click here to email me

jt

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 3:16PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

When I do garlic, its with salt and vinegar, and a little water. The 8 ounce jars get a WB for only about 10 minutes. The brine is boiling when its poured into each packed jar. I also ad red pepper flakes to some, as well as a little tumeric and dill into some others. They come out quite crunchy and remain that way for a while. Great right out of the jar (like peanuts), or cut up in salads.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 5:49PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Glad I found this thread. I've just started using this method of preserving. I made up a batch of chillies as they're in season downunder. It wasn't successful from the point of view of a keepable end product but I learned one or two things and they taste passable so all in all I was pleased.
I see something called a Kirsch crock mentioned a few times. What is it? I Googled but got all sorts of crock as results.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 5:01AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> I see something called a Kirsch crock mentioned a few times.

Try below:

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 7:01AM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Thanks for that. I've never seen them here but I know a couple of potters so I might ask one of them to make me one.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 4:04AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

There are alternatives that I like even better than the Kirsch crock and are much less expensive.

I expect your potter friends could make some great ceramic weights for the Ball jars. I use a nylon bag full of glass beads and as fermenting should be done in darkness cover with a large towel. The advantage is that I can see what is happening without introducing unwanted air into the container.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 6:56AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

I opened the dill pickles today and was really impressed. Never had better in my life. (see my post Oct 24th) Started on Oct 24 and put into 45° fridge on Nov 3rd. The pH (4.14) was a little higher than expected, but acceptable. The fermenting is sill going on and bubbles are popping up to the surface. You can still taste the original sweet cuke flavor which you won't find in store bought.

Ordered and now have some Mrs Wages Sweet Pickle Mix that I want to try sometime in the future for both fermenting pickles and refrigerator pickled eggs with hot peppers.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 12:45PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Tried the baby carrots and onions today. Fantastic!! pH 3.78 Scroll to very start of thread to see.

Seems such a long time to wait and yet so well worth it.

Very nice sour and the chocolate habanero was a great choice as imparts heat and not a whole lot of flavor. I like onion and carrot flavor just as is. Everything nicely crisp.

Riding a wave of successes lately. Yea!!!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 12:42PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Well, I ebayed and just received a little over 1/4 cup fresh real kefir grains. According to experts what I've been using is sub par. Bought some milk and am going to feed those babies so can get some whey.

The whey will be used to make sauerkraut and intend to compare with the two strains sourdough starter I've cultured and dried and the store bought kefir starter. Probably in pint jars.

The guy below is rather passionate about the 'real' kefir.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 1:05PM
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habman(5B CND)

Very interesting thread.
I'm interested in making hot sauce for my chili peppers.

Would the use of of a commercial product containing bacteria like
"Super Lactobacillus Probiotics" or just yogurt be a good source of bacteria to start fermentation of hot peppers?

http://www.wholehealthproducts.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=165

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 11:18AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

habman,

I'm sure that Super stuff would work as well as the Kefir powder that I purchased from Yogourmet. A home-grown culture of real kefir grains works faster. However, if your goal is for a fermented pepper mash that will be acidic enough to store on it's own you will probably be as disappointed as I have been. Commercial sauce manufacturers add vinegar or something else to lower the pH before they hot pack at 185° and then do a boiling water bath.

Stay tuned. I just might have made a major breakthrough and have already mailed my starter to a friend of mine that is in the wholesale pepper mash business. Also sent instructions to another manufacturer friend of mine in England on how to culture his own. And I must say that am excited about this. I had a more acid result in 18 hours than previously was getting in 7 days at 75°.

At this very moment am making a pure garlic mash (whole cloves liquefied in my blender with just a little distilled water) to test the starter on. Garlic has even more anti-bacterial qualities than capsicums. So... just garlic, distilled water, no salt and the whey from my starter. 48 hours or hopefully less from now will have an idea if will be successful or not.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 12:44PM
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habman(5B CND)

Great! I will drod by the health store and buy some Lactobacillus or something.
Keep us posted on the development. All very interesting.

I found this great paper on pepper mash.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 4:04PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Lots of stinky sulfur in garlic!! Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 5:36PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Ken writes: > Lots of stinky sulfur in garlic!! Good luck!

Yep. Probably another fool's errand, but have got to give it a shot.

Finished up the left over onion rings in a fermented pickle jar today. Outstanding! Very crisp. It's little things like this that make it all worthwhile.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 8:28PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Pepper mash.

I am having great results using a sourdough starter for starting hot pepper mash. And the live kefir grains are doing almost as well. Excellent, excellent acidic results in only 4 days. All are reading in the pH 3.4 to 3.5 range except one that is 3.7 pH.

Ho-hum or what the heck is he talking about to most here, but exciting to me. I love the hot stuff!!

So far have been dehydrating the mash into powder as don't know how to properly preserve sauce in 5 oz woozies w/plastic caps yet. As acidic as the mash is it probably doesn't need much more than refrigeration if even that.

jt

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 7:28PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

John,

You are the madman of the mash. It has become difficult to follow you, through no fault of yours. You have provided detailed and nicely illustrated reports on your research.

Of the many questions I have, there is one which interests me most at this time. Aren't different species of lactobacillus or yeast associated with the fermentation of particular foods? For instance, does a lactobacillus which thives on milk also ferment cabbage? My limited knowledge says "no". Yet, your experiments indicate "yes".

I'm starting a small experiment in which this is a relevent issue. It seems we would benefit by knowing the answer. My experiment will not provide the answer, but it will be a start in that direction.

Jim

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 8:54PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> For instance, does a lactobacillus which thives on milk also ferment cabbage? My limited knowledge says "no". Yet, your experiments indicate "yes".

Jim

My answer is yes. And the 'grainlady' in the gardenwebbie cooking forum was surprised too. It does work. She wasn't surprised by the live kefir grains working, but by the sourdough starter. Although I just might have misread her thoughts.

jt

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 9:12PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

jt -

Hi - I'm lurking here.

About sealing things with low pH. I just happened to think, my home made vinegar came out to a 5% acidity, but it is sitting on the shelf. I didn't think it needed to be "preserved" in the sense that we have been doing other canned foods.

After about 3 months of being "indoctrinated" by the mother culture, this culture was strained out, the mixture brought to boil, and that is where it is - not sealed for preservation. Should it be for prolonged shelf life?

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 9:02AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Bejay,

I just don't feel qualified to answer. For MY personal use it wouldn't bother me although my new minimum pH is 3.9 at least. I pulled out a half dozen pepper mash woozies with airlocks and balloons still attached. They were ones with marginal pH numbers after a week or more so I let them sit in my 45° fridge for another month to see if would improve. They didn't change much and were still around pH 4.0 What really disturbed me is that one of the bottles had formed a little bit of what I took to be a crusty-looking white mold. Probably a harmless kam yeast, but into the trash it went anyways. The other 5 bottles of pepper mash were dehydrated and ground for powder.

The pH of a liquid measured with a pH meter does not really tell the whole story. I forget the term now but the 'strength' of the mixture is important. Did you know that you can dilute vinegar with distilled water and not significantly raise the pH? How many here knew that and believe it? Please raise your hands.

jt

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 10:24AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

I should have mentioned that the 'mold' was on the very top lip of the woozie and these bottles had been opened and tested for pH so the CO2 had escaped and fresh air in it's place. It still surprised me.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 10:28AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

My most recent sourdough starter was stored in the fridge, until yesterday, when I planned to make some bread with an active batch. When I opened the sealed cover onf the glass jar, I heard a lot of gas escape. Its also CO2 and could probably have bursted the jar if left that way. I figured that it wil now settle down due to the expelling of the gas. My mostly whole wheat sourdough bread came out very light and airy this time. I think part of the reason was it had been active for about 5 days before the bowl was put in the fridge last week. This made the bubbles stop, and when making the bread, I added a litte regular yeast and soem regular flour, along with a bit of potato starch and wheat gluten. I think, without these, the bread may have been heavier and not rise as much before the baking. The baking was done by setting the oven to 500 degrees and forming the french loaves. Allowing the dough to rise about 3-4 hours. Once in the oven, the temp was lowered to about 375 after just a couple of minutes. This helped to prevent the top of the loaves from collapsing before they were finished baking. The bread goes very well with my pastrami..

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 10:36AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Ken,

My pure garlic mash is 4.93 after 9 days. I give up! It was a good learning experience though. Into the dehydrator it goes.

It's going to be one busy dehydrator. I also have a quart of fermented mash made from hot peppers, onions, carrots, garlic, some salt etc. It turned out awesome! Will make a very flavorful powder. Getting a really nice stash of fermented mash powder and got some great new plastic shakers in the mail last week. Really nice ones and just perfect size. Ordered some 1" round labels to put on them and can't wait to get all together so can share some.

Purchased some really nice pickling gherkins yesterday and can't wait to start fermenting another batch of pickles. Haven't seen pickling cukes in the stores for some time now & was happy to find.

Do you really think a canning jar will explode from gas pressure?

jt

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 11:28AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

TBHQ is food additive that is an antioxidant.

I've been planning for some time to use Mrs Wages Refrigerator Sweet Pickle, Refrigerator Polish Dill, Quick Process Kosher Dill and/or Quick Process Sweet Pickle mixes as the spices in a fermented cuke trial. My original fermentation recipe with the fresh herbs and spices turned out fantastic, but want to try a shortcut.

Plans are to use a yet undetermined amt of the mixes plus a lot of sliced onions, distilled water and quite possibly my wild sourdough as a starter rather than dried kefir grains.

Do you think TBHQ will inhibit the fermentation? I know you aren't supposed to double post forums, but will probably post in the cooking forum too just so can get grainlady and Annies input.

jt

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 2:29PM
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david52_gw

John, I froze my pepper mash in 1/2 pint jars, and it thaws out very nicely. I think the result is better than canning it, which kills off all that fizz. Freezing it knocks it down, but its still there.

One year I tried leaving the mash in a gallon container in the 45º storeroom and not processing it. By the next spring, there were some very interesting things growing in there, and I had to chuck it out.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 3:08PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Actually the canning jar the sourdough is in, is an old style jar with rubber ring and wire bail. It originally had some kind of commercially made preserves in it and came from France or Germany, can't recall. The jar was similar to the old types Ball made, but very short and a bit wider than most any of the older rubber ring types (approx. 1 pint) . I wasn't planning on using it to do any home canning, just a nice glass container that was air tight. Because the sourdough culture is now almost finished its fermenting and is starting to smell like booze I doubt it would blow up. My brother was into Kim Che and other fermented stuff. I took him to the local wine and beer making supplier a few times and he was into making beer too. Soon, he realized it was cheaper to buy commerical beers as opposed to making your own. He passed away two years (age 62) ago after two quad bypasses, and ignoring some serious diabetes problems.

I found one kind of dill pickle mix had a lot of sugar in it, which I didn't care for. I forget if it was a Ball mix or a Mrs. Wages. When I use these for making pickles, I usually look to see if its the one with sugar or salt in the ingredients list. The extractives of spices and flavorings in the mixes are quite powerful, as opposed to just using dried spices like dill, etc, so I usually get a much stronger flavored pickle when using the mixes along with the regular spices like garlic and dill. I don't care if the mix has tumeric or not as thats just mostly for the yellow color anyway. Last summer, at Big Lots, I found some interesting Ball mixes not seen elsewhere. I guess they tried to market a batch of 'quick to make' picking mixes for making some fresh pickles from cukes, and just refrigerate them, as opposed to home canning. They were in much smaller packets and each made only about a single quart.

Don't know anything about the TBHQ, but did find a source for poly-sorbate, and you can always use a bit of either sodium or potasium metabysulfate as a preservative too. Anti oxidents aren't quite the same as a preservative to prevent wild spores of mold, etc. The sulfer based products are also sold by my local wine making supplier.

I believe that the vinegar is added after aging to 'stabilize' the fermented tobasco. Kind of like what I do when making the half sour pickles and adding that dash of vinegar to stop the working of the brine.

If you want bulk calcium chloride, I get mine from the Bulk Foods web site. Its almost the same cost as the Ball packages, but Balls' product is a powder whereas the Bulk food product is small granules, which are measured almost the same. Make sure its kept out of contact with dampness or air as it will absorb water and get runny if its left exposed.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 6:59PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Dave,

I'll probably stick with canning rather than freezing. Oddly (?) enough I freeze my hot cheese sauces in 12 oz woozies and they thaw and store in fridge really well. These are for nacho dips and adding to burritos etc. No water separation whatsoever if use the Rico's condensed cheese sauce mfg for commercial use and i get at Sam's Club. The other institutional size uncondensed cheese sauces all separate.

Ken,

Mfgrs do add vinegar to their mashes to bring the pH down before bottling. I prefer to do it by fermenting.

Sounds like Weck jars? The wire bail one.

One of my commercial hot sauce making friends has warned me more than once that jars under fermenting pressure can explode. I quite honestly do not believe it and deliberately screw the regular lids and rings down as tightly as I can to try and get a jar to do it. Seriously.

jt

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:34PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I'm not too worried. The sourdough is a big glob, and quite firm. Even if it blew, the stuff would just sit there on the shelf. I make mine quite thick, the less liquid, there is the less that it seperates. As to Weck, the jars at their site are quite different, although they do appear to look a little like the 'Deco' type, except theirs have no wire bails. I suppose if I can make a heavy duty wine bottle break, due to extreme pressure, it could happen to a canning jar too. Remember the old days when making root beer, the yeast and sugar way. POW!
Ever do anything with rennet? Maybe you should give some cheese making a try too..

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 5:36PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Ken,

Had to google that one. Very interesting! The grainlady over on the gardenwebbie cooking forum has mentioned making a cheese from kefir grains. I took it to mean like a cottage cheese & will have to recheck it. So love the kefir grains just like they are after a few days fermenting in milk.

Started a single quart jar of pickles today. 4 gherkins (very strong tasting to me), a half medium yellow hot onion sliced 4 ways for nice size strips, 1 tablespoon Mrs. Wages Polish Dill Refrigerator Pickle Mix, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 2 tablespoons live kefir grains, 1/4 tsp of my fermented hot pepper mash powder and distilled water. Trimmed the ends of cukes and poked a few holes in them to allow more fluid transfer. The fermented pepper mash is awesome and should be a starter in it's own right. (looks like another experiment coming up)

Am planning to put more onions in my fermentations. They sometimes steal the show such is in the baby carrots and onions. Broke a 2 day fast (medical procedure) with fermented string beans and onion slices today. Both very crisp and delicious!! Followed with one of my sauerkraut (& hot pepper) fermentations. Great way to get my system back in shape.

Idea... onion slices with fermented hot pepper mash as a starter!!! Will do tomorrow. A pint jar.

jt

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 8:55PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Ken - you mentioned something that I've been wondering about - my sourdough starter may be a bit too thin (too much liquid). The last pizza crust that I made was a bit tough, and I surmised too much water in the dough from the watery starter.

Once the pizza sat for awhile (actually steamed), the crust absorbed some of the liquid from the topping sauce, and became quite edible. But when I first tried to cut it - right out of the oven - it was pretty tough.

Maybe it's time to chuck it, and start over. It was better in the beginning. I like the idea of the potato water too, perhaps mixing dried potato flakes in the batter might be worth a try - it could be a bit lighter.

jt - I've made a cheese from the curds (like cottage cheese), the idea is to press the curds and age them, which finally makes a cheese. It takes a considerable amount of milk to make a small amount of finished cheese. Hence, unless I own a dairy someday, I decided it wasn't worth the effort.

Just my 2 c's.

P.S. Love your posts - I admire your persevering spirit.

Bejay

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 7:37AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

My mom used to make cheese from yogurt. She liked that better than creamed on bagels. The dough can be tough if its kneaded too much, or the gluten has been exposed to too much microwaves or steam heat. I made some english muffins using simple bread dough and when nuked after being frozen, they were quite chewy. I use a pizza stone for my pizza and build up on the stone as opposed to trying to get it off a peel. Coating the formed dough before adding he toppings helps to keep the dough from getting too soggy. Also, adding a little olive oil to the dough when making it will give a lighter texture. Years ago, my first pizzas were like cookies, as I never kneaded the dough enough.
I would avoid using sea salt in fermentations, as you never know what else is in that salt, and some unknown things can give very odd taste. Unless its 100% pure, salt needs to be somewhat refined prior to using in pickling. Those purple and other color salts are nice additions for veggies, but fermentation, I would expect, would need much purer ingredients. Adding distilled water and then 'contaminating' it with sea salt, is doing something negative to the mix.

I did make an offer if anyone wanted some of my dried sourdough culture mix. When I do the starter, its almost a dough to begin with, and can be spooned out of the container in a big glob. The bread I made the other day was one of the best tasting I have ever had. It was made with mostly whole wheat flour as well as allowing the starter to sit in the fridge for 5 days after being on the kitchen counter for 3 prior days. I added a small amount of diastatic malt (natural sugar), some ascorbic acid, and some potato flour. I even added a little powdered lecithin as it helps to keep the bread moist like potato flour does I suppose you could also use the flakes. The ONLY dried potato I use to make mashed (in a pinch) is Potato Buds. These are great to add to a stew for natural thickening too. After the loaves were baked and cool, I bagged them and they are in the fridge. This helps to keep them from geting too dried out and stale. If I left them out, they would be hard as a rock in 3 days, too much for my chewing.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:08AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

There are no colors other than white in my 2.37 lb container of Tone's Mediterranean sea salt. Many of the recipes in my fermenting books call for sea salt and all of them for non-iodized salt. Probably used 1 1/2 lbs already. That's still a great caution though. Other brands may not be as good.

I use a pizza stone too. Sure miss those live online Friday night pizza cam presentations that tadpole terror and his kids used to do.

Potato Buds are what I mostly use to thicken up burrito mixes if needed. One of my favorite ever was a steak and mashed potatoes one using the Potato Buds. Great flavor.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:48AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Boy, did I mess up!

I'm down to a couple of forkfuls of my fav fermented veggie... green beans w/onions. Every morning I have something fermented with one of my meds that must be taken with food and then don't eat again until just before bedtime.

So, anxious to try out my new Calphalon stock pot I put in a little over a gallon of water and cranked up the propane burner on my deck. Nice and bubbling so I dump in abt 3 lbs cold string beans. Apparently way too much at one time? When it finally started boiling again I timed for the 5 min the recipe said for crisp beans. They turned out very soft. So disappointed. Still going to use them, but know am going to be dissatisfied every time I eat them.

Here's my question... are green beans really poisonous and do they need to be boiled a minimum of 5 min before eating? That's what it says in my fermenting book.

Will head to Sam's tomorrow morning early and buy more beans and then to WallyWorld for some more horseradish root. (incredible low price anymore. My dad grew it for years and I no longer think worth the trouble to grow) I have plenty of fresh savory. Then will try again. What I think I need is some kind of basket to put the beans into before adding to the boiling water. Something with a handle on top that I could grab with a pliers or something and snatch out of the boiling pot.

jt

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 4:28PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Did you put the beans in an ice water bath soon as they were cooked? If not, that would prevent them from continuing to cook and keep them crisper.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:09PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I eat raw string beans all the time. If the beans were frozen, they will get mushy once thawed or cooked. If your blanching them they need only about 2 minutes and then the cold dip afterwards.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 8:46AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

My favorite way to eat string beans and sugar snap peas is to steam them. (Other veggies too).

I bought a Farberware steamer, which has a heavy bottom and a steamer insert - just love it for fast steaming of all veggies. They come out still a bit crisp and very flavorful.

Bring about an inch of water to boil in the bottom pan, put vegetables in the steamer basket. When the steam comes out, turn off the heat and steam till tender - about 2 to 3 minutes.

I froze some snap peas this winter, and they are good that way - still a bit crunchy.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 9:35AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Thanks, guys

I guess it is safe then. Here is where I read it:

Didn't even think of an ice bath. Wouldn't have helped as they were already soft.

And I have a Farberware steamer that I use all the time, but never for beans to ferment.

Today I bought 2 lbs of unfrozen French beans that are really fresh and nice. This time will blanch for two minutes a small amt at a time and then decide if want to cook some more. Forgot to buy ice, but it's 40° outside and I have several large very heavy duty aluminum food service trays to spread them out on. I pack the jars one at a time so should be able to get a nice rotation of blanch to cool to jar going.

I wonder if horseradish root can be grated and frozen? I use it in a couple of my fermentations. 1 tbs per quart is usually called for.

jt

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:48AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

I planted horseradish about 6 years or so ago. I never pay much attention to it, neglect really - and it just keeps on reproducing. It is in a semi-shady spot under the trees, sandy soil, never fertilized, but seems perfectly happy.

When I harvest it, the worst part is getting it clean, as it has a lot of nooks and crannies to catch dirt. But once that is over, I grate the root in my food processor, add a little vinegar and pop into the fridge. It keeps forever practically.

Bejay

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:06PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Bejay,

My dad was not a gardener. My mom and I could not get enough of growing things. I had a garden spot before I could read and both reading and gardening have been a life-long passion. He did grow horseradish & absolutely loved grating, adding vinegar at just the right time and refrigerating it.

4 min has proven to be just the right time for boiling the French string beans. Just the right tenderness and they get sweeter than the 3 min trials. (I started with 2 min & then 3 etc) Fermenting in pint jars this time.

jt

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:43PM
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david52_gw

Last summer I fermented green beans straight from the garden with Kefir. They came out crunchy. I also eat them raw when I'm standing around, contemplating stuff. When I blanche them for freezing, my general procedure is to bring to a boil 2 gal. of water in a 3 gal stockpot, dump in the beans, bring to a boil again, which can take a few minutes, then drain quickly. That seems to do it, and they thaw well, with a good amount of crunch left.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 5:34PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Odd about string beans being nasty eaten raw. As to blanching, corn, peas, beans, and many other veggies do need a quick blanch and then freezing. The blanch is just a quick dip in boiling water (a few at a time), then a dip in ice water to stop the cooking. A quick dry and freeze. When I freeze the corn, I blanch it on the cop first, then cut it off and freeze. If its not blanched, they tend to have odd 'earthy' flavors that are not like any fresh cooked ones. Now that have been growing and eating waxed beans, I like these more than regular string beans.

Horseradish tastes odd if you use too much white vinegar in it. When I dig mine up, its usually just before or after the ground had/has been frozen then thawed. I clean it (quite tedious!) and then put in a blender with a little water. NEVER stick your nose in there after pureeing it as the fumes can knock you out! Mine lasts only about two months and then starts to turn a light tan color, thats when its lost its punch, and is tossed.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 7:48PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

jt - that is curious - about string beans being poison or ?

However, when I made the Euell Gibbon recipe - about fermenting veggies in a dill pot (Stocking Up III), he did mention blanching ONLY the beans before adding them to the brine. Your reference is only the 2nd time I've heard that about beans.

Since he is much more venturesome about eating lots of other "things" that grow wild, I am surprised he would mention that about beans in particular.

I'm still checking to see if my newly planted pole beans will sprout. If I don't find a piece of wire to put over the spot, the birds may get their treats, and I will never see any. Must do today!

Just another 2'c

Bejay

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 9:46AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Bejay,
Beans usually take only a very few days to sprout. something like just 5 to 6 days, unless there is a soil problem or the seeds are old. Here, I have some very old seeds and tend to cope with no germination quite often. I hate throwing away a bag of seeds after a year or two. Some of the seeds I still get to sprout are tomatoes, and flowers, and a few others, and they can be about 5-10 years old. The older, of course has the most losses to no germination.

I have never heard of string beans needing to be blanched before eating. Maybe Linda Lou has some insight on this??

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:11AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

The toxic substance is called phasin if that helps.

My two 1 quart jars of regular string beans are bubbling nicely after 2 days at 75° and tomorrow I'll move them to 65° for a week and then into the 45° fridge for 3 or 4 weeks. Hopefully the 4 pint jars of the French ones will be active by tomorrow. I had thought about doing 2 with the faster sourdough starter and 2 with the kefir grains and whey, but do not like the strong odor of my sourdough ever since I started feeding whole wheat flour. I bought some Hodgson Mill organic white flour yesterday and have started new cultures with that.

Today I hope to do 4 more pint jars of the French beans and get started on fermenting some more hot pepper/onion/carrot mash. I dehydrated the last batch and it made some incredibly good powder if I do say so myself.

jt

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 11:04AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Careful with the whole wheat flour, it can quickly go rancid too. That may be the cause of the 'funky' smell, and not the sourdough culture itself.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 3:14PM
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habman(5B CND)

Just finished my first hot sauce.

Thanks to this thread the sauce turned out great :)

I used Kefir starter mix , 8% salt by weight of peppers and hot long peppers from the market.
This is only a trial before I hopefuly get a nice crop of Habaneros this fall.

I tried a batch without kefir and 1 with kefir.
After 3-4 days the non-kefir batch had a big white mold growing and was quickly discarded.The kefir batch had no signs of mold.
The fermentation really started about 3-4 days and lasted about 3 days. I left the mixture in a dark warm place for 14 days. I added a dried chocolate Habanero pod 2 days before I put it in the refrigerator.
The mixture was at a ph of 3.84 after 14 days of fermentation.
Then I moved it to the refrigerator for 3 weeks.

The mixture was boiled for 5 minutes and then I added white vinegar.
Then final PH was 3.02. Tabasco sauce was at 2.68.

I tried my sauce and then the good old Tabasco sauce.
Wow what a diffrence. The Tobasco sauce tasted terrible. My sauce was simply divine :)

Tried it with sushi wow words can't describe it. It was perfect.

Ok need to go to the market and start a new batch...... :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:21PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Hey habman,

Great illustrations! I like that.

That the Tabasco was that low a pH really surprised me. I don't think there is any doubt that they are adding vinegar to their sauce too. 3.4 is I think the lowest pH I've ever gotten naturally and 2.68 is much, much more acidic.

What kind of container did you ferment in? A closed system?

That kahm yeast mold really sucks. I opened up a bottle of sauce that a friend sent me (pH 3.6 if I recall correctly) and it grew a mold on top in 2 days. While trying to find out if there are temp requirements for the mold (still do not know) I found this:

Perfect Pickler

Perfect Pickler - Glass

Guess I'm not the only one that uses airlocks. Actually I don't feel the need to use anymore now that I have a good feel for this.

Thanks for sharing!

jt

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 6:06AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

John,

That perfect pickler - glass , looks just like a quart Ball jar with a plastic lid (they do leak!) and a cheap plastic water trap on top, shoved through a rubber grommet.If you do go that route, be sure to use some kind of gasket between the plastic lid and the lip of the jar.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 7:23PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> That perfect pickler - glass , looks just like a quart Ball jar with a plastic lid (they do leak!) and a cheap plastic water trap on top, shoved through a rubber grommet.If you do go that route, be sure to use some kind of gasket between the plastic lid and the lip of the jar.

Ken,

Thanks for the warning, but there is certainly no need for me to go that route. My own ho-made airlock system is sufficient and I no longer need to use airlocks anyways now that am confidant of what I am doing.

Nevertheless, even though pricey I think this is a fairly well thought out system for someone just starting out fermenting. Certainly a better value than the Harsch crock in my opinion. Not knocking the Harsch crock, but just think there are better ways to go about fermenting.

Beautiful day here in the KC area and spent it on my beloved deck watching roundball, slicing hot rocotos, manzanos, red ripe jalapeños and some habaneros to dehydrate and then made about 3 quarts of extremely potent hot peppers, onions, carrots, garlic and some raisins mash that will start fermenting tomorrow.

The part about the plastic Ball lids leaking is right on. They leak like a sieve.

Life is good!

jt

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 7:48PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The water seal is cheap, at a buck ten each at the following location.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 8:14PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Here is something that I have been working towards... fermenting in 5 oz woozies that are tightly sealed from the start and that I won't have to heat process. Not something that a manufacturer could get by with I don't think. And I'll probably only share with people that have a pH meter or test strips.

I'm using 3 times the usual bacteria starter than normally use. The pint jars I know work with lesser amts, but am also increasing the amt for them as a sort of control.

The plan is 2 days at 75°, 1 week at 65° and 1 month at 45°. I already know that I can make a decent tasting ferment in one week at 75, but want to try and improve the taste by doing according to suggested methods in my books. Heat and acidity I know can get, more subtle flavors am working on.

jt

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 3:54PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

John, as I said before, you are the madman of the mash!

Your posts are endlessly entertaining and informative. I love the pics.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 4:54PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Maybe its time to do a PART 2 of Lactic acid fermention?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 8:22PM
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mutluturk

John, I've read this page couple of times again again try to learn and understand and i must say that this forum is really inspiring! Now i can say that i am a true lactic acid fermentation believer:)
Here are couple of questions for the experts of this forum which i like to make my mind clear before starting my experiments:

Have you ever tried fermenting paprika, and did you get good results? I mean the taste.. Frutescens are hard to find here and i have to choose annuums for start.

About the weight, glass in a nylon tule or a nylon bag like a freeze bag right? Is it safe to use nylon bag inside? No problems because of acidity?

And about the starter.. we dont have kefir grains or sourdough sold in the market here. So I simply bought a liquid kefir drink and strained it from a thin cloth, thinking the fluid straining is whey. But i am not sure it will work. Any better ideas?

Thanks all of you for sharing, I really appreciate your engineering approach.

Turk

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:45AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Ken writes: > Maybe its time to do a PART 2 of Lactic acid fermention?

Ken,

Why? Is the thread taking too long to load? My computer is fast and my cable connection is awesome so sometimes I need a reminder to ease up. I more and more am trying to insert clickable thumbnails or hot links for photo illustrations, but sometimes am just too much in a hurry.

If the above or any other reason is the need for thread #2 then please someone say so again and I will happily do it.

jt

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 11:49AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Vertical scrolling gets a little touchy with such a long thread. Not unusable, just touchy.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:23PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Hi Turk,

Although there is always an acidic taste with lactic acid fermenting the original flavor of the vegetable always comes through. I've grown several paprika types from Spain and have started a very highly recommended hybrid (Paprika Supreme) this year, but have not fermented any yet.

I chose nylon tule for my weight bags because I believe it to be stable and food safe. And that is also the reason I chose the glass beads. A much more convenient solution to weighting would be a plastic bag with water and some air in it. More and more I find myself not using any weight whatsoever because the starters I use are so active.

If your liquid kefir drink hasn't been pasteurized or treated with preservatives it should make an excellent starter. I would put a few ounces into a jar, add some whole milk and wait 3 or 4 days and see how it ferments. You should get a nice sweet, acidic smelling result. The grains (curd) will be very small for some weeks, but will gradually grow in size. They do not need to be large for the mixture to work as a starter. Both the curds and the more liquid whey work well as starters. I always use a mixture of both.

For my sourdough starters I use 2 parts pure water to 1 part flour. There are some excellent sourdough threads on this forum.

If you do decide to try fermenting, please let us know your results.

Regards,
jt

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 6:05AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Just as Jim said, its a bit touchy even with broadband. Its because of all the photos that need to also get loaded in. If they were all taken at 8+ megapixels, they would be very slow to downlaod. Think of the poor people who only have dialup..!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 10:33AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Started a 2nd thread and thanks for the suggestion.

Lactic Acid Fermenting Thread #2

Off topic... I spent yesterday afternoon on my deck making chili red using 'chili-grind' sirloin, onions, hot peppers, tomatoes etc. Testing a new to me chili powder.. Gebhardt brand. Turned out most excellent! Today will adding fresh grated cheese and rolling into burritos. (because that is what I do) Then will be making breakfast burritos out of scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, onions and hot sauce. It's already 73° and not even noon yet. Life is good!!

jt

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 12:18PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Lucky you with the temps in the 70's. Here, we got snow dumped on us last night. Luckily, its warmer and it doesn't stay long. I was tempted to till yesterday, but decided to wait a bit longer as its still a bit muddy out there.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 10:52AM
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jimnginger(9)

Great thread that I don't want to disappear. There continues to be a growing interest in this topic and the food is really interesting.
Jim in So Calif

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 5:49AM
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psittacine

Still hope to one day learn how to ferment cabbage and possibly other vegetables, so thought I'd bring this thread back up. Maybe if I keep re-reading instructions/information, I will one day take the first step and collect all that is needed to get batch one started!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:25AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Just do it! Cabbage is on sale for Saint Paddies day if you don't have fresh!

I fermented my first batch recently. I used the recipe from the link below but added extra salt like a dummy. After a little tweaking it turned out very good. My co-workers loved it too. I cook for them often.

I followed the recipe exactly this time and it is going nicely! It is bubbling after only 5 days, which could be from the correct amount of salt or because the house is a little warmer.

It is staying close to 70 now, when I started the first batch it would drop to around 60 at times. We are getting a little touch of spring here and I like to keep the house cool at night to sleep better.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:29PM
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david52_gw

With friends who are hesitant to make sauerkraut, I've found that the utube link below from the Alaska State Extension service is very helpful.

Its a bit long at 38 minutes, but it covers an awful lot of ground. How to do it in qt jars is towards the end, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 4:05PM
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