bottling Mold Issue

I've been fermenting peppers and cooking/bottling it for a while, but I've run into mold issues recently. Any idea what's causing this? If it's not something obvious, I'll add some more context. Thanks.

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peppersproutfarm

Extreme Member
Do you know the ph of finished sauce? How long was the ferment? How long did you cook? What was temp at bottling? How do you sanitize bottles? Many things can cause this. Definitely need more info.
 
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Interesting that the mold is forming consistently on the shoulder of the bottle, where residual bubbles tend to collect after bottling. Mold also requires oxygen to grow…

So, I think your bottling technique is leaving viable mold spores (not hot enough) which are then growing around bubbles on the shoulder. There may be too much time between coming off a boil and hot-fill-and-holding.
 
I don't measure the pH, but it was definitely not lacking in vinegar.

What I did was take a wild ferment and add it to a purchased bottle of sauce and cooked it all together, since I didn't like the flavor. It ended up making 3 bottles worth. The bottle that the original sauce was in was re-used, and that's the 1 out of the 3 that didn't get mold. The other 2 new woozy's are pictured above. So improper sanitizing would fit here.
 

Siv

Extreme Member
When you say not lacking in vinegar, how much are we talking? It should be a minimum of 1/10th 5% acetic acid vinegar by volume to get you to a pH around 3.5-4.0. Lower acidity vinegar and you'll need more. Higher pH starting sauce and you'll need more vinegar. It's something that I don't gamble with and $50 for a good quality pH meter means you are sure to be safe.

And an unused woozy has no guarantee to be sterile - you have no idea where it's come from and what was done to it before you got it. I have received "new" bottles that didn't look all that clean. Always wash and sterilize new bottles before using.

Finally, are you sure it's mold? What does your nose tell you? It could just be the sauce separating. It's funny that it's in the middle of the bottle as mold usually grows on the top.
 
Finally, are you sure it's mold? What does your nose tell you? It could just be the sauce separating. It's funny that it's in the middle of the bottle as mold usually grows on the top.
This was my first thought as well. There's a lot that happens in a sauce that's still active, which you obviously know; based on that, I wouldn't expect this to be mold.
 
When you say not lacking in vinegar, how much are we talking? It should be a minimum of 1/10th 5% acetic acid vinegar by volume to get you to a pH around 3.5-4.0. Lower acidity vinegar and you'll need more. Higher pH starting sauce and you'll need more vinegar. It's something that I don't gamble with and $50 for a good quality pH meter means you are sure to be safe.

And an unused woozy has no guarantee to be sterile - you have no idea where it's come from and what was done to it before you got it. I have received "new" bottles that didn't look all that clean. Always wash and sterilize new bottles before using.

Finally, are you sure it's mold? What does your nose tell you? It could just be the sauce separating. It's funny that it's in the middle of the bottle as mold usually grows on the top.
It's mold. Nose says mold.
 
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