Jump to content

  •  

Photo

Why Your Ferment Grew Mold, What to Do,and How to Prevent It


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Chili Monsta

Chili Monsta

    Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 743 posts
  • Location:Kentucky

Posted 13 June 2014 - 07:48 AM

If you’ve been fermenting vegetables for a while then you’ve probably faced a shock discovery. You’ve cut or shredded your vegetables, added salt or brine, submerged them in said brine, and then left them to ferment.

Then a day or more later you opened your jar to find, much to your horror, a white film of mold. Or, worse yet, a big hairy mold patch of varying colors.

You’re probably heartbroken, or at least disappointed. You may assume that all of that time and money you put into those vegetables you were fermenting was wasted.

Recognizing Mold

The first thing to know is that the white film that is often present in vegetable ferments is probably not mold, but something called kahm yeast.

Kahm yeast is a type of film that can readily be found in cultured and fermented foods. It is not harmful, although it may be unattractive or even smell a little odd. It should be removed from the ferment so it doesn’t impart a bad odor, but a little bit left in the jar won’t hurt the vegetables, and won’t hurt you.

Kahm yeast is likely to develop if a fermentation solution is insufficiently acid, especially when you start it, or if there is not enough salt in the brine. Kahm can also develop if the culturing temperature is too warm, or if the brew is over-exposed to oxygen. Poor hygiene can be another cause.

If kahm yeast develops in your ferment, skim it off the surface of the liquid. Discard any solid matter that has it. As usual, your senses are the test: if it smells and tastes okay, it probably is.

True molds are usually colorful and the deposits are round and often fuzzy or fluffy. They might even be white, but there is a distinctive difference between the smooth film that is kahm, and the puffy growth that is mold.

What to Do with a Moldy Ferment

If you opened your jar or vessel up to find a layer of mold on top, don’t panic. You may be able to easily dispose of this and have perfectly good fermented vegetables below the brine.

Lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process meaning it must be in an oxygen-free environment for it to happen properly and fully. Any oxygen put into the mix can cause unwelcome microorganisms such as mold or yeasts.

So while your vegetables may be happily fermenting under the brine, the surface of the brine is still exposed to oxygen if you are using a jar or open-crock method of fermentation. This is common, though, and it was very common in times past to simply go to the cellar to check on the ferments, scrape any growth off the surface, and retrieve the fermented vegetables below.

Factors That May Contribute to Mold Growth

If you are experiencing a mold epidemic of sorts in your ferments then their maybe something more at play. You may want to investigate the following possibilities:

Fermentation Temperature

Ferments like sourdough and yogurt might prefer a warmer temperature of 80°F or 110°F, respectively, but vegetable ferments, in general, prefer a cooler temperature. This makes it especially difficult when you are attempting to preserve at the peak of the growing season, which is most likely the hottest time of the year.

Try to find a cool place to ferment your vegetables. A root cellar is ideal, and traditional, but a cool basement or garage is also helpful. Or just find the coolest place in your home. A temperature of 65° to 80°F is your best bet in avoiding mold.

Vegetable Submersion

Probably the most important factor in lactic acid fermentation is the submersion of the vegetables underneath the brine. Lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process, meaning it requires a no-oxygen environment.

If you are experiencing mold problems check to make sure your ferment is under the brine. If it is not then you will need to weight the vegetables down with a clean rock or weight.

Salt Content

The purpose of salt in a lacto-ferment is to inhibit the growth of undesirable pathogens including molds and other microorganisms. Too much salt won’t allow lactic acid fermentation to occur fully, but too little salt can result in off flavors or mushy vegetables.

Likewise, too little salt will not preserve the food between the start of fermentation and when the lactic acid bacteria begin to proliferate and create an acidic environment on their own. This can lead to mold more readily taking hold of your ferment.

Introduction of Starter Culture

The introduction of an already established starter culture can help prevent unwelcome pathogens from taking hold of your ferment before the lactic acid bacteria have a chance to form.

You can use whey or a starter culture in these circumstances for a little extra insurance.

Bad Microorganisms Present on Your Vegetables

Finally, consider the vegetables themselves. Are they in a state of decay? Did you wait too long to get them fermented? Were they sprayed with chemicals that could interfere with the natural fermentation process?

If any of these are a factor then you may want to consider using only fresh, organic produce in your ferments if you have access to them.

In conclusion, mold occurring above the brine is a fairly normal part of fermentation, but anything out of the ordinary may be caused by a number of non-ideal situations for your ferments.

 

Source: http://www.culturesf...e-ferments-mold



#1A Guest

Guest

  • Guest
  • Pip
  • 1 post

#2 RocketMan

RocketMan

    On Fire!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,431 posts
  • aka:RM
  • Location:Titusville, FL
  • (x2)

Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:00 PM

Absolutely AWESOME post here Brother, thank you!!


Answering The Call For Fire!  If you can't stand the Heat, don't tickle the Dragon!

#3 Chili Monsta

Chili Monsta

    Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 743 posts
  • Location:Kentucky

Posted 13 June 2014 - 01:00 PM

I thought you might appreciate this one RM.

I'd wager that you've responded hundreds of times to questions pertaining to mold and kham yeast....not to mention optimum fermentation temp,and the importance of keeping the mash submerged beneath the surdface of the brine solution.

 

BTW...a belated housewarming package from Ky will be heading your way Monday...heavliy weighted toward the "warm" end of the scoville scale.



#4 RocketMan

RocketMan

    On Fire!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,431 posts
  • aka:RM
  • Location:Titusville, FL
  • (x2)

Posted 13 June 2014 - 01:18 PM

You would be correct about the questions, and again thanks. It will be put to good uses helping Floridians to stay warm :cool:


Answering The Call For Fire!  If you can't stand the Heat, don't tickle the Dragon!

#5 Greenguru

Greenguru

    Heating Up

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 458 posts
  • aka:Greenguru
  • Location:Atlanta, Georgia

Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:34 PM

If you’ve been fermenting vegetables for a while then you’ve probably faced a shock discovery. You’ve cut or shredded your vegetables, added salt or brine, submerged them in said brine, and then left them to ferment.

Then a day or more later you opened your jar to find, much to your horror, a white film of mold. Or, worse yet, a big hairy mold patch of varying colors.

You’re probably heartbroken, or at least disappointed. You may assume that all of that time and money you put into those vegetables you were fermenting was wasted.

Recognizing Mold

The first thing to know is that the white film that is often present in vegetable ferments is probably not mold, but something called kahm yeast.

Kahm yeast is a type of film that can readily be found in cultured and fermented foods. It is not harmful, although it may be unattractive or even smell a little odd. It should be removed from the ferment so it doesn’t impart a bad odor, but a little bit left in the jar won’t hurt the vegetables, and won’t hurt you.

Kahm yeast is likely to develop if a fermentation solution is insufficiently acid, especially when you start it, or if there is not enough salt in the brine. Kahm can also develop if the culturing temperature is too warm, or if the brew is over-exposed to oxygen. Poor hygiene can be another cause.

If kahm yeast develops in your ferment, skim it off the surface of the liquid. Discard any solid matter that has it. As usual, your senses are the test: if it smells and tastes okay, it probably is.

True molds are usually colorful and the deposits are round and often fuzzy or fluffy. They might even be white, but there is a distinctive difference between the smooth film that is kahm, and the puffy growth that is mold.

What to Do with a Moldy Ferment

If you opened your jar or vessel up to find a layer of mold on top, don’t panic. You may be able to easily dispose of this and have perfectly good fermented vegetables below the brine.

Lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process meaning it must be in an oxygen-free environment for it to happen properly and fully. Any oxygen put into the mix can cause unwelcome microorganisms such as mold or yeasts.

So while your vegetables may be happily fermenting under the brine, the surface of the brine is still exposed to oxygen if you are using a jar or open-crock method of fermentation. This is common, though, and it was very common in times past to simply go to the cellar to check on the ferments, scrape any growth off the surface, and retrieve the fermented vegetables below.

Factors That May Contribute to Mold Growth

If you are experiencing a mold epidemic of sorts in your ferments then their maybe something more at play. You may want to investigate the following possibilities:

Fermentation Temperature

Ferments like sourdough and yogurt might prefer a warmer temperature of 80°F or 110°F, respectively, but vegetable ferments, in general, prefer a cooler temperature. This makes it especially difficult when you are attempting to preserve at the peak of the growing season, which is most likely the hottest time of the year.

Try to find a cool place to ferment your vegetables. A root cellar is ideal, and traditional, but a cool basement or garage is also helpful. Or just find the coolest place in your home. A temperature of 65° to 80°F is your best bet in avoiding mold.

Vegetable Submersion

Probably the most important factor in lactic acid fermentation is the submersion of the vegetables underneath the brine. Lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process, meaning it requires a no-oxygen environment.

If you are experiencing mold problems check to make sure your ferment is under the brine. If it is not then you will need to weight the vegetables down with a clean rock or weight.

Salt Content

The purpose of salt in a lacto-ferment is to inhibit the growth of undesirable pathogens including molds and other microorganisms. Too much salt won’t allow lactic acid fermentation to occur fully, but too little salt can result in off flavors or mushy vegetables.

Likewise, too little salt will not preserve the food between the start of fermentation and when the lactic acid bacteria begin to proliferate and create an acidic environment on their own. This can lead to mold more readily taking hold of your ferment.

Introduction of Starter Culture

The introduction of an already established starter culture can help prevent unwelcome pathogens from taking hold of your ferment before the lactic acid bacteria have a chance to form.

You can use whey or a starter culture in these circumstances for a little extra insurance.

Bad Microorganisms Present on Your Vegetables

Finally, consider the vegetables themselves. Are they in a state of decay? Did you wait too long to get them fermented? Were they sprayed with chemicals that could interfere with the natural fermentation process?

If any of these are a factor then you may want to consider using only fresh, organic produce in your ferments if you have access to them.

In conclusion, mold occurring above the brine is a fairly normal part of fermentation, but anything out of the ordinary may be caused by a number of non-ideal situations for your ferments.

 

Source: http://www.culturesf...e-ferments-mold

 

THANKS FOR THE TIME AND HELP !

 



#6 RocketMan

RocketMan

    On Fire!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,431 posts
  • aka:RM
  • Location:Titusville, FL
  • (x2)

Posted 15 June 2014 - 04:54 AM

I did a little scouring of old posts and came up with a couple of pictures of Kahm and Mold in ferments.

 

**** WARNING, the following is for Mature Stomach's Only! If your stomach is under 18 years of age or if it's the morning after the night before, we've all been there ;) please go forward to the next post :)

 

Kahm Yeast:

 

Kahm1_zps23d0a10a.jpg

 

Kahm2_zpsbea8214f.jpg

 

Kahm3_zps9bbf58cc.jpg

 

Mold:

 

Mold1_zps10e3e305.jpg

 

Mold2_zpsa9ebe61a.jpg


Answering The Call For Fire!  If you can't stand the Heat, don't tickle the Dragon!

#7 Chili Monsta

Chili Monsta

    Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 743 posts
  • Location:Kentucky

Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:40 AM

Excellent RM....!

Once again, a picture is worth a thousand words.

No doubt which is which.



#8 HillBilly Jeff

HillBilly Jeff

    Smokin' Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,912 posts
  • aka:HillBilly Jeff
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 28 August 2014 - 03:15 PM

Excellent RM....!

Once again, a picture is worth a thousand words.

No doubt which is which.

 

You mentioned fresh peppers in your ferment.  So I shouldn't use peppers from the freezer that I have been saving up until I have enough to do one kind of pepper?


You do your thing, I'll do mine.


#9 RocketMan

RocketMan

    On Fire!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,431 posts
  • aka:RM
  • Location:Titusville, FL
  • (x2)

Posted 28 August 2014 - 04:30 PM

No sir, frozen peppers are good to go for fermenting :)


Answering The Call For Fire!  If you can't stand the Heat, don't tickle the Dragon!

#10 Chili Monsta

Chili Monsta

    Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 743 posts
  • Location:Kentucky

Posted 28 August 2014 - 04:41 PM

Amazingly enough....it takes monumental sub zero temps to kill the LAB bacteria...(but boiling kills them)...go forth and ferment with that stock from the freezer !!!

CM


Edited by Chili Monsta, 28 August 2014 - 04:45 PM.


#11 MikeUSMC

MikeUSMC

    Smokin' Hot

  • Extreme
  • 3,259 posts
  • aka:Iron Mike
  • Location:Central Connecticut (Zone 6A)

Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:59 AM

This thread should be pinned too, IMHO. Great info here :)

Edited by MikeUSMC, 19 April 2017 - 09:59 AM.

"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."
-General James "Mad Dog" Mattis (to Iraqi tribal leaders, 2006)

#12 ShowMeDaSauce

ShowMeDaSauce

    Smokin' Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,853 posts
  • Location:St Louis Mo

Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:20 PM

Use a starter from a previous ferment and a little sugar source if needed and ferment whatever you want. Active lacto bacteria can live for ages in the fridge. Give it a little fresh fruit puree for the sugar and you will have many billions of them in a couple days.



#13 MikeUSMC

MikeUSMC

    Smokin' Hot

  • Extreme
  • 3,259 posts
  • aka:Iron Mike
  • Location:Central Connecticut (Zone 6A)

Posted 12 June 2017 - 08:24 AM

Boss, any way we could get this thread pinned? Chili Monsta and Rocketman did a great job on this thread

Edited by MikeUSMC, 12 June 2017 - 08:24 AM.

"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."
-General James "Mad Dog" Mattis (to Iraqi tribal leaders, 2006)

#14 MikeUSMC

MikeUSMC

    Smokin' Hot

  • Extreme
  • 3,259 posts
  • aka:Iron Mike
  • Location:Central Connecticut (Zone 6A)

Posted 07 August 2018 - 11:27 AM

Boss, any way we could get this thread pinned? Chili Monsta and Rocketman did a great job on this thread

:whistle:

(It's been over a year since the first time I asked ;) )

Just sayin'........
:seeya:
"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."
-General James "Mad Dog" Mattis (to Iraqi tribal leaders, 2006)

#15 SmokenFire

SmokenFire

    Smokin' Hot

  • Moderators
  • 4,081 posts
  • aka:the ralphster
  • Location:chicago
  • (x9)

Posted 07 August 2018 - 04:23 PM

:whistle:

(It's been over a year since the first time I asked ;) )

Just sayin'........
:seeya:

 

Why pin when you keep bumping?

 

;)


It felt like satan pissed in my mouth it was so hot and lasted a long time. It was a horrible experience eating one of them. - SavinaRed
I would love to travel to your castle to roam the land,eat pie and hunt woman. - sicman
 
 

#16 MikeUSMC

MikeUSMC

    Smokin' Hot

  • Extreme
  • 3,259 posts
  • aka:Iron Mike
  • Location:Central Connecticut (Zone 6A)

Posted 10 October 2018 - 03:05 PM

Thanks Pook ;)
"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."
-General James "Mad Dog" Mattis (to Iraqi tribal leaders, 2006)

#17 nmlarson

nmlarson

    Hot

  • Extreme
  • 595 posts
  • Location:Zone 7a/b, South Central Pennsylvania

Posted 11 October 2018 - 06:12 PM

Thanks for this info! When I checked my newest ferments this evening, I discovered one with mold on it. I did not have enough of weights, so I used the top of a Weck canning jar on this one, hoping it would be enough. It wasn't.

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#18 RocketMan

RocketMan

    On Fire!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,431 posts
  • aka:RM
  • Location:Titusville, FL
  • (x2)

Posted Today, 03:27 AM

Ok, I need to address something that Ive seen in a few posts and around the web when people are talking about ferments that have gone astray. So heres my Public Service Anouncement.

If you have a ferment that gets ANYTHING other than a Kahm yeast in it, DO NOT, in any way think that its going to be a good idea to take just a little taste of it! Even a little taste from the bottom of the jar or just a spoon of the juice.

Botulism is nothing to toy around with. Its a poison, which can be cured, but yourre not going to have a very good time, just take a look at the symptoms listed by the CDC:

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the bodys nerves.

Symptoms of botulism usually start with weakness of the muscles that control the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. This weakness may spread to the neck, arms, torso, and legs. Botulism also can weaken the muscles involved in breathing, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death.

Furthermore:

The bacteria that make botulinum toxin are found naturally in many places, but its rare for them to make people sick. These bacteria make spores, which act like protective coatings. Spores help the bacteria survive in the environment, even in extreme conditions. The spores usually do not cause people to become sick, even when theyre eaten. But under certain conditions, these spores can grow and make one of the most lethal toxins known.

The conditions in which the spores can grow and make toxin are:
Low-oxygen or no oxygen (anaerobic) environment
Low acid
Low sugar
Low salt
A certain temperature range
A certain amount of water

For example, improperly home-canned, preserved, or fermented foods can provide the right conditions for spores to grow and make botulinum toxin. When people eat these foods, they can become seriously ill, or even die, if they dont get proper medical treatment quickly.

Did you see the part there that said, ONE OF THE MOST LETHAL TOXINS KNOWN?

To find out more you can visit the CDC site at: https://www.cdc.gov/...sm/general.html

Edited by RocketMan, Today, 03:30 AM.

Answering The Call For Fire!  If you can't stand the Heat, don't tickle the Dragon!

#19 Chili Monsta

Chili Monsta

    Hot

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 743 posts
  • Location:Kentucky

Posted Today, 04:29 AM

Please....Read and heed....

 

                                                          Did you see the part there that said, ONE OF THE MOST LETHAL TOXINS KNOWN ???

 

 

When in doubt.....throw it out.

 

Excellent post RM !!


Edited by Chili Monsta, Today, 04:32 AM.





4 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 4 guests