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mold ghost chili dry ghost chili ferment thai chili

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#1 emanphoto

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 04:43 AM

I began on April 12 a new batch of sauce fermenting thai chilies, prik chee fa, 80 dry ghosts, onion, shallot and garlic.  

To prep for this I:

 

1. Briefly rinse the ghosts (which are dry) then put them in a bowl and add boiling water to soften them.  I then go do my other steps listed below.

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2. All other ingredients are smoked.  I leave out a bit of each ingredient from smoking as the heat can kill the good bacteria.

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3. I wash all bottles and before adding mash, I rinse each bottle in dilute bleach and hot water and rinse afterwards.  I added 6 cups of water to which had been added 4% (of the weight of the fruits) Thai sea salt.

Then I add the salted mash and cap them with airlocks lid.

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I had full-on fermentation the next morning.  Excellent.  

 

Now, it's hot season here and effen 100°+ everyday.  We only AC the rooms we are in and running AC just for the ferments would be nuts and super expensive.  There is no cool dry place here unless YOU make it.

A few days after fermentation kicked off, #$%$#@ mold appeared on the surface of mashes.  

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Pissed as all get out given the lengths I've gone to prevent this, I did this:

 

1. Scooped out 1/2 inch of each bottle. The spoon I used was dipped in dilute bleach, rinsed, scooped out moldy chili, dump moldy chili, rinse, dip in dilute bleach, rinse, repeat.  

 

2. Once all the moldy chili was removed, I went a step further.  Since the spoon was dragged with the moldy chili up the sides of each bottle, I'm pretty dang sure this spooged each bottle side with mold.  So I took a paper towel, dipped that in the dilute bleach and squeezed it dry, then wiped the inside of each dagnabbed bottle. I give each bottle some air time before closing the lids to let the dilute bleach outgas and turn to water.  

 

3. I put the lids back on each and kept the bottles in AC rooms which meant walking up a flight of stairs with 10 bottles with 600MLS in each one.  Not fun.

 

Next day, mold again!!!!!!

 

Now I need to add here that I had made, on the following day as the ghost mash, a batch of my original Thai chili sauce prepared in exactly the same way except no ghost chilies and no airlocks as I had used all those bottles.  I had to use the typical clasp style bottles.  Otherwise everything in my methods were identical.

Those 2 bottles of original recipe HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO MOLD.  Same brutal temps.  They are only a day younger than the ghost mashes that are fermenting and getting moldy.

So the only difference between moldy and not moldy is the ghost chilies, and I can only conclude that my handling of the dry ghost chilies is incorrect.  I'm not doing something right before adding them to the mash.

Does anyone have any suggestions?  When I add the ghosts to the mash, I add the water they were soaking in as well, FYI.  

 

My only guess is that I need to first add boiling water to them to kill molds & bacteria, let them soak a bit, then dump that water and add boiling water again as there must be mold or something in these ghosts despite being from a commercial grower in the US who sells online.  I can see no mold on them and you can see them in a pic above.

 

I've managed to save the ghost mashes I made so far by following my above procedure AGAIN, then putting all the mashes into 2 giant clasp bottles and then putting them into the fridge.  There is very little headspace in these since the highly active fermenting is done.  I figured worst case, it will be easier to scoop off from only 2 bottles instead of 10! ;)

 

TIA for an help!

 

 


Edited by emanphoto, 21 April 2019 - 05:51 AM.


#2 emanphoto

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 05:06 AM

I wanted to add that this is my 2nd batch of thai/ghost recipe.  The first batch was fermented without airlocks and they all got mold.  My guess back then was that the lack of airlocks even tho mold hadn't been a problem before without airlocks.  Now that it has happened again with the only common denominator being the dry ghost chilies, I highly suspect them to be the culprit.

 



#3 Durge

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 01:29 AM

If I were you, I would fill a spray bottle with hot pure water and a few Tbsp of sea salt. Shake the bottle and let the salt dissolve completely. Spray down your dried chilis with this salt water solution before blending them with your other ingredients. Then when you've filled the jars with the mash, and the contents in the spray bottle are cooled down, you can spray the inside of the jar several times.

Also, from the pictures you sent me, I saw serious seperation in your ferments. I like to shake my ferments during the first 2 weeks because the solids tend to get pushed to the top by the gasses, and this may contribute to the mold problem. That liquid at the bottom of the jar is concentrated salt water juice and lactic acid, so it's always best to mix it back into the rest of the mash. These suggestions may help with future mashes.

Edited by Durge, 01 May 2019 - 01:31 AM.


#4 salsalady

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 08:57 AM

I would lightly simmer the dry ghosts in water for a few minutes. This will help rehydrate and also kill any nasties on the dry chillis. When cool,add the ghosts and the water to the mix.

The other big red flag I saw is...bleach mixed with hot water...
Hot water kills the effectiveness of the bleach. Bleach should be mixed with cold water, or at most, tepid water. Soap also kills the effectiveness of bleach, so never add bleach to hot soapy water thinking to wash and disinfect in one step. Wash with soapy water, rinse with clear water, then sanitize. Allow to air for the bleach to dissipate.


Also, it might help to have a little more liquid, make it easier to shake the bubbles out. Often times, I often put a folded up cabbage leaf in the top of the jar to help kickstart fermentation. Discard, or eat the leaf, before processing.

Good luck.
SL

Edited by salsalady, 01 May 2019 - 09:02 AM.

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#5 emanphoto

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 02:57 AM

Thanks Durge. :)

I used to pour boiling water into my jars before adding the mash, but after a few jars cracked I gave up that practice.  

I had employed the airlocks and decided I wasn't going to go in there and stir as much (as I wanted to) as I was beginning to think part of the reason that I had gotten mold in the past was from peeking and stirring.  I've been limiting myself to stirring a day or so after the initial massive burst of fermentation takes place.

If I were you, I would fill a spray bottle with hot pure water and a few Tbsp of sea salt. Shake the bottle and let the salt dissolve completely. Spray down your dried chilis with this salt water solution before blending them with your other ingredients. Then when you've filled the jars with the mash, and the contents in the spray bottle are cooled down, you can spray the inside of the jar several times.

Also, from the pictures you sent me, I saw serious seperation in your ferments. I like to shake my ferments during the first 2 weeks because the solids tend to get pushed to the top by the gasses, and this may contribute to the mold problem. That liquid at the bottom of the jar is concentrated salt water juice and lactic acid, so it's always best to mix it back into the rest of the mash. These suggestions may help with future mashes.

 


Edited by emanphoto, 02 May 2019 - 03:16 AM.


#6 emanphoto

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 03:14 AM

Thanks SL, I like your simmering idea but I'll make the call about adding the water as well on the day I next start a batch.  As I mentioned, I'd used boiling water to immerse them but it wasn't a simmer, just a soak and the temp went down over time.  So a 5 minute simmer should do it?

 

RE: Bleach.  How hot is hot?   ;)

Again I used the electric kettle and filled the sink basin (a separate sliding basin) 1/2 way with "cold" water.  To this I added the hot to make it not too hot to touch.  I DO remember your post from a couple years back saying not to mix bleach with soap and I have kept them separate ever since.  In any case, I'll eliminate the hot water altogether from any solutions containing bleach.

 

FYI, in Thailand we don't have hot water at the tap typically, and only use it in showers during the "winter" here. Many showers don't even have hot water.  With ambient water temps in the 80's and outdoors in the 90's, it makes no sense to take hot showers.  That's a (very necessary) northern climate thing.   ;)

 

I would lightly simmer the dry ghosts in water for a few minutes. This will help rehydrate and also kill any nasties on the dry chillis. When cool,add the ghosts and the water to the mix.

The other big red flag I saw is...bleach mixed with hot water...
Hot water kills the effectiveness of the bleach. Bleach should be mixed with cold water, or at most, tepid water. Soap also kills the effectiveness of bleach, so never add bleach to hot soapy water thinking to wash and disinfect in one step. Wash with soapy water, rinse with clear water, then sanitize. Allow to air for the bleach to dissipate.


Also, it might help to have a little more liquid, make it easier to shake the bubbles out. Often times, I often put a folded up cabbage leaf in the top of the jar to help kickstart fermentation. Discard, or eat the leaf, before processing.

Good luck.
SL

 


Edited by emanphoto, 02 May 2019 - 03:14 AM.


#7 Durge

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 03:25 AM

I had employed the airlocks and decided I wasn't going to go in there and stir as much (as I wanted to) as I was beginning to think part of the reason that I had gotten mold in the past was from peeking and stirring.  I've been limiting myself to stirring a day or so after the initial massive burst of fermentation takes place.
 


In my experience, I find that even a bit of residual disinfectant on a spoon can have adverse effects on my ferments if used to stir. Also, I tend to shy away from opening up the containers also. It's for this reason that I like to gently shake my ferments instead of stiring. You eliminate the risk of introducing disinfectants or other organisms into your ferment this way. Also, if you do it gently enough with some patience, you can avoid getting mash on the walls and lid of the container while still shaking everything thoroughly enough.

Goodluck on your ferments in the future, I hope these tips help! And it was very interesting to hear about hot water usage in Thailand.

#8 salsalady

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 05:11 PM

Re: bleach...sounds like your bleach mix is ok. Straight hot tap water or boiling water is not good. Bleach mixed with lukewarm water is fine.

Interesting notes on the water usage and temps. Do you have hot taps in the kitchen for washing dishes, or for laundry?
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#9 emanphoto

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 01:06 AM

The only hot water we have is for the 3 showers and one jacuzzi tub.  These are instant on electrical units that we don't use much actually.  I've never used the tub as a hot bath in these temps is not appealing. The washing machine may have a heater in it for hot water, as there is only one water inlet to the machine, but we never use it and only wash in "cold".  For dishes, same.  There are times we use the dishwasher but usually the stuff needing a wash is so oddly sized that the dishwasher isn't practical.  Hot water help get grease melted but otherwise isn't needed.  

 

I've never done this, but I took a reading of the cold water today with my Kodak Process Thermometer accurate to ± .125°F.  I was surprised at how hot it is.  I knew it was warm but..!

This is not an average water temp as this is summer here.  We'll get some relief with the rainy season, but not a lot.  There is always humidity here.  I've read from fellow expats who've lived in Gulf States that water there can burn you it's so hot, so we're fortunate in that respect!

lol.

 

F21F4064751547569F542FAC489F770B.jpeg

Re: bleach...sounds like your bleach mix is ok. Straight hot tap water or boiling water is not good. Bleach mixed with lukewarm water is fine.

Interesting notes on the water usage and temps. Do you have hot taps in the kitchen for washing dishes, or for laundry?

 







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