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Scum on (not on top of) fermented pickles

Posted by bobinmsp (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 1, 10 at 15:57

Hello all:

I've tried to search for an answer to this before posting, but haven't found an answer to my question. I apologize in advance if this is old ground that has already been covered.

I'm trying my first batch of fermented pickles using the Claussen recipe that is here (not the Claussen Clone). Everything seemed to be going well until about day 12 when I noticed that there was scum starting to grow on the pickles - not on the surface of the brine. I've read several threads about scum on the surface of the brine, but have not found very much info on scum growing on the pickles themselves.

In the last 2 days, it has spread throughout the jars. After reading a bunch of posts, I haven't been able to tell whether this is normal or if I should avoid these things.

The scum is white and fluffy. It does not smell moldy. I've smelled the pickles - they seem to smell alright. I've cut them and they seem fairly solid and not slimy. The cut pickles seem translucent to some extent but are not fully translucent. I did taste one and it was very salty and a little tangy.

My thought is to take them out of the brine, rinse them and then process them tonight in fresh brine (using the recipe that I found in a University of Wisconsin Extension pamphlet). Am I risking any safety issues by trying this?

I've uploaded some pictures to Flickr in case that helps anyone.

Thanks in advance for your help to a newbie.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pickle Scum on Flickr

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Scum on (not on top of) fermented pickles

I've never made that particular recipe so this may not be much help. But I linked the Trouble-Shooting Chart for fermented pickles below. Be sure to check it out.

But "usually" what you are seeing is yeasts and bacteria growing on them and they come from air exposure and fermenting at too high a temp OR not enough salt in the brine OR not removing the blossom end of the cuke.

Personally, I don't keep them to eat when that happens because I don't trust the lactic acid level. JMO. But many do. So wait to see what others have to say about them.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP _ Trouble Shooting Fermenting Prob.

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