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Fermenting Peppers 101


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#21 RocketMan

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:19 AM

Good to know it won't kill me! haha I have several small batches going on and I'm just testing out the different methods mentioned here and elsewhere. Again, this is only a test to see which method I find works best for me so I can use it on a big batch once I start harvesting larger amounts of peppers.

The hooch is working great (except for the white growth). It started bubbling almost instantly and pH has already dropped significantly after a few days. The yogurt method worked great too, I saw bubbles 2-3 days into the process and pH has also dropped down to below 4.

The only one that didn't seem to work was the one with powdered yogurt culture (can anyone explain this?). No pH drop or any bubbling. I added some hooch to it and sure enough it started bubbling.

If I keep swirling the jars would that inhibit the kahm yeast from growing?


No idea about the Powdered Yogurt culture, I've never tried it. swirling the jars would just work what ever was there back down into the mash. I have done that when I thought that the peppers on top were out of the brine to work them back down into the liquid but it wont keep it from growing. Like I said I've had it happen and it hasn't affected it at all. Maybe DiggingDogFarm can address that.
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#22 Chili Monsta

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:24 AM

aram...
it sounds like your experiments are doing well. I think the multi-starter approach is wise.
Personally, I use different methods for different ferment batches, usually based upon the kind of veggies I'm using. Each combo works differently due to the different characteristics/bacteria of the particular veggies.
And consequently, unique flavors are the result.
For instance, sometimes when I make a batch of brine (salt only)-sauerkraut I never actually see a CO2 bubble. But the air lock is being moved around and it's fermenting all the same.
Two things to remember:
(1)The various starters are "optional" and simply expedite the fermentation process which helps to ensure the LAB gets a head start.
(2)Salt will slow down the fermentation action of starters.(which could possibly be the issue you had with the powdered cultures)

And yes, swirling the jars will inhibit the kahm yeast growth because the swirling keeps mixing it back into the brine, where it can not survive. That's why, any vegetable/peppers beneath the brine surface are preserved.
Keep us posted on your outcomes. Granted,successful projects are most enjoyable...but many times, failures are more informative and educational which will ultimately result in greater success.
CM

#23 aram

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 10:37 PM

You two are the fermenting gurus! I realize that starters are not essential but what the heck, I'll just use them and leave nothing to chance lol

I'll take both your advice: I'll just mix the jar a few times a day. If the yeast survives so be it, RocketMan seems to think that it won't affect the taste. If the yeast won't survive in the brine solution all the better!

I'm gonna give another type of powdered culture a shot and see if it does anything. I'm gonna do a batch and split them equally between two jars. First one will be boiled before adding the culture, second won't get boiled and I'll add the culture directly to to the mash after blending. I'll note the pH changes, bubbling (if any) and taste and take notes. I might even get a third jar going with no salt to act as my control.

I'll keep you guys posted on the results!
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#24 Ezzer

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:18 AM

Cracking guide guys. Thanks it's just what i needed to give me the confidence to have a pop at a fermented pepper sauce. I'm doubting that I'll find any pickling salt, can I use sea salt? And does the amount of salt vary? You say " Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt into 2 cups warm water" how many peppers is this for?

Thanks again!
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#25 Chili Monsta

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:27 AM

Cracking guide guys. Thanks it's just what i needed to give me the confidence to have a pop at a fermented pepper sauce. I'm doubting that I'll find any pickling salt, can I use sea salt? And does the amount of salt vary? You say " Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt into 2 cups warm water" how many peppers is this for?

Thanks again!

Greetings Ezzar
Sea salt and/or Kosher salt works, as long as there are no additives (like iodine or anti-caking agents)
But the volume measurements are dependent on the size of the salt granules. Course salt takes up more space...but is actually less salt than a fine grain. The more accurate measurement would be by weight. For example:the ratio for 10% mash by weight (salt to prepared ingredients) would be... 453 gm of stemmed/de-seeded peppers mixed with 45gm of salt

Edited by Chili Monsta, 26 July 2011 - 08:36 AM.


#26 RocketMan

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:33 AM

CM, can you give them what a proper ratio of Salt to Peppers is? I use a low level of salt due to high blood pressure.
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#27 Chili Monsta

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:50 AM

CM, can you give them what a proper ratio of Salt to Peppers is? I use a low level of salt due to high blood pressure.

A strong brine(5.4%) is generally recommended for fermenting cucumbers/pickles as they are prone to mold growth.
A 3.6% brine should be used for all other vegetable lacto-fermentation recipes, such as:
peppers, carrots, garlic, mixed vegetables, sauerkraut, beets, green beans, broccoli

Brine Formulas (by volume measurements):

5.4% brine formula = 6 tablespoons salt to 8 cups water.
3.6% brine formula = 4 tablespoons salt to 8 cups water.
2.5% brine formula = 1 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water
(use 2.5% for supplementing sauerkraut & beets which are considered self -brining)

#28 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:09 AM

It's always best to use weight measurements rather than volume measurements, because the weight of different salts can be so different.

As an example.....Morton's Pickling salt weighs about 17 grams per TB, while Diamond Crystal Kosher salt weighs about 12 grams per TB.

So, in the above volume example for a 3.6% brine, if you use Morton's Pickling salt your salt percentage would be correct at 3.6%, but if you use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt you'll end up with about a 2.5% brine.

Just sayin'.....
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#29 Chili Monsta

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:25 AM

It's always best to use weight measurements rather than volume measurements, because the weight of different salts can be so different.

As an example.....Morton's Pickling salt weighs about 17 grams per TB, while Diamond Crystal Kosher salt weighs about 12 grams per TB.

So, in the above volume example for a 3.6% brine, if you use Morton's Pickling salt your salt percentage would be correct at 3.6%, but if you use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt you'll end up with about a 2.5% brine.

Just sayin'.....

I totally agree....see post #25
I use weight measurements exclusively(except for a supplemental brine)but for many recipes(that use volume measurements)making a brine using volume is much more user friendly, and have successful results also.

Edited by Chili Monsta, 26 July 2011 - 09:33 AM.


#30 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:38 AM

So, for a 1/2 gallon of water, 8 cups (1893 grams)

102 grams of salt for a 5.4% brine.

68 grams of salt for a 3.6% brine.

47 grams of salt for a 2.5% brine.
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#31 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

.....making a brine using volume is much more user friendly....


No doubt, If your using Morton's Pickling salt, not only is it easy, it's accurate too!!


:D
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#32 RocketMan

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:45 AM

CM, DDGM great info thanks guys

Cheers,
RM
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#33 Chili Monsta

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:01 AM

No doubt, If your using Morton's Pickling salt, not only is it easy, it's accurate too!!


:D

Yes indeed...+1 for pickling salt (IMO)

And the above brine calculations work for me.

Actually,I normally use the following method:
*weigh prepared ingredients and % of salt (I use metric because its easier and less prone to measurement errors)
*mix & mash together (to aid in the release of the natural juices)
*add filtered spring or distilled water (never tap water)
*press out air bubbles
*seal with air lock

Edited by Chili Monsta, 26 July 2011 - 10:03 AM.


#34 2p0p

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 01:11 AM

Hi guys...the yoghurt powder has probably been spray dried; this is a high temp. procedure and if spray dried -has killed all our lactobacillus friends .
Which also makes me wonder why after going to all the trouble and time of fermenting your wonderful chili concoctions you guys all seem to cook/kill all the life/pro-biotics you have so carefully grown...raw is the go imo...better flavour too. A good raw sauce ages like a good red wine does.

#35 RocketMan

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:33 AM

Hello 2p0p and welcome to the forums. There are a few others that like you prefer a raw sauce that they make for their own personal use. Most prefer a cooked sauce though. The school of thought being that uncooked is a smooth Salsa where as a Sauce is cooked, think of spaghetti sauce. Ultimately your personal sauce is just that a personal sauce that reflects what your taste preference is. For me I like the consistency I can get cooking the sauce and I donít like the bite of the raw. Also by cooking and adjusting the ph I can get a stable shelf life for my sauce so I donít have to keep 24 bottles in the fridge all the time.
Cheers,
RM
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#36 Chili Monsta

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:09 AM

Hi guys...the yoghurt powder has probably been spray dried; this is a high temp. procedure and if spray dried -has killed all our lactobacillus friends .
Which also makes me wonder why after going to all the trouble and time of fermenting your wonderful chili concoctions you guys all seem to cook/kill all the life/pro-biotics you have so carefully grown...raw is the go imo...better flavour too. A good raw sauce ages like a good red wine does.

Greetings 2pop,
This is my first time using kefir starter, and about 10 hours after I sealed the jars...there was no doubt that something was going on as it was very active.
I'm not familiar with the "spray dried" process you refer to,but the starter I used says it's freeze dried, so possibly that is the difference.
I'm one of those that chooses not to cook and process my ferment.While I have found that some of the fermented flavor and aroma still remains after cooking, it is much more subdued than I prefer.
However, there are times that I will make a cooked sauce , blending various fruits and spices, and after adding some pepper mash I let it simmer for awhile so the various ingredients come together and meld. But many times...I simply add some mash...stir well...and go.

Edited by Chili Monsta, 02 August 2011 - 07:10 AM.


#37 2p0p

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:08 PM

RM...i don't age my sauces in the fridge (although a cellar would be perfect for this)...i just make sure my primary fermentation is complete before bottling.

CM...In spray drying the water is removed via heat/steaming. In freeze drying the water is removed from the frozen substance via vacuum (a much better system for keeping things alive)...i started out using Kefir to inoculate my preserves (it works good)- these days i just use a bit (5-10%) of a finished sauce/pickle/paste to kick start the new batch.

#38 rmardis

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:50 PM

2p0p...I make my own kefir so this would work great with me, its always on hand. Do you strain your kefir and use the liquid whey or the kefir grains? I have also heard that it may change the taste some. Have you noticed any change in taste when using kefir as a starter with peppers?

Edited by rmardis, 03 August 2011 - 11:52 PM.

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#39 ZanderSpice

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:34 PM

RM...i don't age my sauces in the fridge (although a cellar would be perfect for this)...i just make sure my primary fermentation is complete before bottling.


I'd love to hear more about your sauces. Could you give a brief step by step? One of my main reasons for wanting to make a fermented sauce is so I can process and store my harvests efficiently and at a convenient pace. If I could simply blend, brine, ferment and store outside of the fridge it would be ideal.

#40 2p0p

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 04:59 AM

2p0p...I make my own kefir so this would work great with me, its always on hand. Do you strain your kefir and use the liquid whey or the kefir grains? I have also heard that it may change the taste some. Have you noticed any change in taste when using kefir as a starter with peppers?

I strain the grains out and use a bit of the "whey"...it's the bacteria you want ...i dont taste it in the finished sauce.




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