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Another fermenting question

Posted by gardengalrn 5KS (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 4, 12 at 15:45

I'm wanting to make a small batch of kimchee kraut. Would it be acceptable to exchange the scallions in the recipe with sliced leeks? My recipe also calls for dried chili or hot pepper powder but all I could find at the grocery was paste. What do you guys think? Lori


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Another fermenting question

I wouldn't


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RE: Another fermenting question

That's strange as chili powder is a very common spice found in the spice section, dried chili peppers maybe less so, but chili powder is used for many things and sold under many brand names.

You can also buy dried red pepper flakes (like those in the shaker on the table in most pizza places). But the paste products contain thickeners - corn starch and flour - so they aren't recommended.

As for substituting the leeks? I don't know how the pH of them compares with the pH of scallions not to mention what it would do to the flavor. That's your choice.

Since there are no tested and approved recipes for kim chee that I know of it is difficult to comment on what substitutions could or could not be made. There is just no base for comparison and no guidelines to go by. Kim chee is a do at your own risk thing.

Dave


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RE: Another fermenting question

Leeks or scallions should not have impact on the final pH of lactofermentation. Acidity is not added to fermentation, but produced when lactobacillus convert lastose into lactic acid.So pH of the final product will depend on time and temperature of your fermentation. Too hot or too cold and fermentation can go by wrong path. Temperatures around 65-72 are usually good for lactofermentation.
I don't know about paste, but leek/scallions substitution should be fine.
Olga


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RE: Another fermenting question

Per NCHFP:

Caution: The level of acidity in a pickled product is as important to its safety as it is to taste and texture.

Do not alter vinegar, food, or water proportions in a recipe or use a vinegar with unknown acidity.
Use only recipes with tested proportions of ingredients.
There must be a minimum, uniform level of acid throughout the mixed product to prevent the growth of botulinum bacteria.

However, the salt used in making fermented sauerkraut and brined pickles not only provides characteristic flavor but also is vital to safety and texture. In fermented foods, salt favors the growth of desirable bacteria while inhibiting the growth of others. Caution: Do not attempt to make sauerkraut or fermented pickles by cutting back on the salt required.

Since the amount of salt is so crucial, how would you know how much salt to add?

Found the pH on the leeks and scallions. Leeks are 5.49. Scallions are 6.20 so much more alkaline than leeks. So using the leeks would be better than using the scallions.

Dave


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RE: Another fermenting question

Dave, I was not suggesting to cut on salt, so not sure why you posted this quote from NCHFP. No canning involved, so reference to botulism is irrelevent. Difference in pH between 5 and 6 in starting ingridients is not an important factor for lactofermentation. This is all I said. Acidity will be provided by lactobacillus, convertic sugar to acid, not by vinegar or low pH of starting ingridients. This is different from vinegar pickling. As for salt concentrations, if you add approx the same amount of scallions as leeks, there should not be a problem. Safe salt range is quite wide and if you keep it on a higher side, ther is no danger to dilute it by slightly changing ingridients. Again, I am not talking about canning, so there is no danger of botulism whatsoever in making Kimch to store in fridge.
Olga


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RE: Another fermenting question

Olga - NCHFP isn't just about canning. The approved USDA/FDA guidelines at NCHFP are for ALL forms of food preservation, including fermentation. And yes I fully understand the difference between fermentation and pickling. I simply copied the complete quote which references both. The mention of pickling in the quote does not negate the importance of the fermentation info.

Difference in pH between 5 and 6 in starting ingridients is not an important factor for lactofermentation.

Respectfully, yes it is. pH of 5.4 to 6.2 is a substantial incremental difference in pH and would require a much higher acid level to keep the fermentation process below 4.6. So it would require that the amount of ingredients added to create that acid level be adjusted as well

You indicated that room temp and time were the governing factors in safe fermentation yet the importance of the proper amount of salt and even the types of salt used in the fermentation processed is frequently stressed as vital to safe fermentation. Nor do the guidelines indicate that the safe salt range "is quite wide". It is quite specific to both the weight of the foods used and to the pH of those foods.

And I'm sorry but reference to botulism is not irrelevent in fermentation. While it is true that the incidence is low, botulism can indeed grow in improperly fermented foods. There are numerous warnings to that effect available from both WHO and CDC as well as many other sources. Just Google "can botulism grow in fermented foods" for many references.

I think the issue is, if I understand correctly, you have indicated in the past that most of your fermentation information is based on European practices. That's fine, your choice. My point is that the US guidelines for safe food fermentation are quite a bit different.

I realize that many people worldwide practice fermentation using methods that would not meet the USDA criteria for safety. That is their choice of course. They may have done it for centuries and may or may not have ever become ill or worse from them - who knows. But that doesn't mean those practices are necessarily safe or that they should be encouraged when tested safe guidelines are available.

Dave


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RE: Another fermenting question

I respectfully disagree. Most vegetable fermentation in US is based on European practices. Sauerkraut, dilled pickles, etc are based on recipes brought from Europe by first immigrants. Probably native americans fermented too, but still..
Every food can result in some adverse events. Meat,poultry vegetables, honey, etc. There are certain practices that has to be followed to keep your food safe. For canned food the bar is very high because of real botulism danger. So approved recipes are probably necessary. As for fermentation, it is more likely to get botulism from honey than from properly fermented food. Application of the same rules to fermentation as to canning prevents people from fermenting. It results in fermentation paranoia. Just knowledge and common sense are sufficient to ferment safely. The fact that there is no approved recipe for Kimchi should not result in disappearance of Kimchi from peoples menu. What we need is good books and other information sources on "safe fermentation practices".
Forgive me if I am wrong, but I suspect you have relatively limited first hand knowledge of fermentation, much less than your canning experience. So you try to apply the same rules to fermentation.
People need to learn how to ferment safely and feel comfortable with it.
I will not post more on this topic. Please excuse if my post somehow offended you. I really appreciate your efforts on canning safety.
Olga


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RE: Another fermenting question

Forgive me if I am wrong, but I suspect you have relatively limited first hand knowledge of fermentation, much less than your canning experience. So you try to apply the same rules to fermentation.

Actually I do quite a bit of fermentation, primarily cucumbers, fruit, cabbage and even some beers and wines and I have taken several classes in safe fermentation practices. So I follow the USDA fermentation guidelines, not the canning guidelines. Just as fermentation is not canning, they are two separate sets of guidelines both of which have been linked here many times.

And I agree that folks need to learn how to practice fermentation safely. Safely being the operative word. But most vegetable fermentation in the US is based on lab tested recipes and guidelines, not on European practices.

As with fermentation, there are many canning practices in Europe and the Middle East that would never be considered safe nor recommended here.

The ultimate choice of "how" still resides with the person doing it but I think it is important that they first understand the possible associated risks.

Dave


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RE: Another fermenting question

Personally I think leeks would be an improvement because they are less watery than scallions and add an appealing garlicky touch. However, I would be careful to remove all tough parts, as that might be unpleasant in the finished product.

I'm surprised the pepper flakes or powder were not available. My guess is it's either shelved elsewhere in the store (flakes with pizza supplies) or under another name (i.e. cayenne pepper). This would be something to ask the manager or customer service.

Another option, if your store has a Mexican/Southwest foods section is to get some dried peppers and crumble them. There are no safety issues.

A sufficiently strong brine should offer flexibility with a number of low-acid vegetables.

Carol


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RE: Another fermenting question

"Would it be acceptable to exchange the scallions in the recipe with sliced leeks?"

That's strictly a matter of taste that's up to you. I routinely use elephant garlic scallion in fermented tomato pepper relish and salsa. The leek will probably be a little more course than the scallion just as the elephant garlic scallion is, and the flavor will be different, that's all.


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