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john__showme__usa

Lactic acid fermenting

John__ShowMe__USA
17 years ago

No more airlocks and balloons, just weights (glass beads in nylon bags) &

canning jars w/tight lids. My new compact 'fermenting' refrigerator arrived this week and am now tweaking the

temp settings after filling with jugs of water to temporarily take place of

fermenting veggies.

A picture of the glass beads that I use for weight. I now use sea salt and

have always used nylon tulle to enclose them and not the plastic netting

shown in the picture. I scored 12 lbs beads for $5.94 at 1/2 price sale at Hobby Lobby a week or so ago. :)

Garlic

Horseradish... 1/4" fresh-sliced 'coin'

Hot peppers.... 3 habaneros sliced in half & 1 Pasilla Bajio

2 tsp sea salt

3 tbls sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar

1 tbls freeze-dried Kefir starter

10 days at 64-68F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 6

weeks

Green beans

3 1/2 cups grean beans

3/4 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed

1/2 small onion sliced

3 tbls sea salt to 1 qt water (water used for boiling beans)

1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

1 tbls fresh grated horseradish root

1 sprig fresh savory

1 tsp minced garlic

8 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 4

weeks

Carrots

Baby carrots & Onions #1

4 peppercorns (Indonesia Muntok)

1 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed

2 leaves fresh Mexican Oregano

1 small sprig fresh Arp rosemary (abt 4-5 needles)

2 sliced Aribibi Gusano hot peppers w/seeds and placenta

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp sea salt to 1 qt water (to fill jar to just above veggies)

1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

Sliced purple & yellow onions

Baby carrots peeled and washed

Baby carrots & Onions #2

4 peppercorns (Indonesia Muntok)

1 tsp brown Canadian mustard seed

1 sliced Chocolate Habanero w/seeds and placenta

1 tbsp sea salt

2 tsp sea salt to 1 qt water (to fill jar to just above veggies)

1 tsp Kefir freeze-dried starter

Sliced purple & yellow onions

Baby carrots peeled and washed

10 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 6

weeks

Radishes

10-18-06 Fermented Radish

Whole radish(s)... roots and greens removed

2 fresh garlic cloves... thin sliced

Sweet onion (rings)

Turnip... 1/4" slice

Horseradish... 1/4" coins (2)

Ginger root... thin slices (3)

Hot pepper.... Orange Cherio (C. chinense) sliced in half

3 tblsp sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar

1 tsp freeze-dried Kefir starter

10-18-06 Fermented Radish

Whole radish(s).. roots and greens removed

2 fresh garlic cloves... thin sliced

Sweet Onion (rings)

Baby Carrots (6)

Hot peppers... 2 White Bullet habaneros (C. chinense) sliced in half

3 tbls sea salt to 1 quart distilled water to fill jar

1 tsp freeze-dried Kefir starter

10 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 6

weeks

Sauerkraut

10-20-06 Sauerkraut (to make 2 quarts)

Red cabbage... shredded (2 lbs 8 oz)

Yellow onion... shredded (10.3 oz)

Sour apple (Granny Smith)... shredded with peel (5.9 oz)

Caraway seed... 1/12 tsp

Juniper berries... (6) 3 ea jar

Sea salt... 2 tsp

Kefir starter (freeze-dried)... 1 tsp

16 days at 64-68°F in my basement and then into 46°F fridge for at least 4

weeks


About Lactic Acid Bacteria

Lactic acid is formed as a product of energy exchange during the metabolism

of microorganisms and other life forms, both plants and animals. The name

is derived from the Latin word for milk, as the bacteria were first isolated

in sour milk. The salts of lactic acid are known as "lactates." Lactic

acid bacteria cause catabolic changes in certain sugars. The changes result

in two new products: lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The lactic acid

breaks down foods, making them more easily digestible. The lactic acid

process brings about another boon: the natural preservation of the

fermented food. There are, in fact, two kinds of lactic acid bacteria: one

that is adapted to milk and milk products, and one that is adapted to

plants.

Bacterial floras are responsible for providing lactic acid to the mucous

membranes in the mouth, the intestines and the female genital organs. In

the plant kingdom, species growing close to the soil have the most lactic

acid bacteria. It is important to note that almost all vegetables are

plentifully supplied by nature with lactic acid-forming bacteria.

Traditional methods of lactic acid fermentation preservation (that do not

involve the addition of a bacterial culture to start fermentation) rely

strongly on this fact. Vegetables and fruits provide their own lactic acid

bacteria. The white film you find on fruits, like plums, apples and grapes

is the yeast that starts the fermentation process and turns the fruit sugar

into alcohol. The same white film on cabbage and other vegetables is the

beneficial bacteria that starts the fermentation process and turns vegetable

carbohydrates into lactic acid. Likewise, unpasteurized milk sours by

itself. The friendly bacteria from the grass the cow grazed on are carried

into the milk and turn the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. Adding a

starter culture, like lactobacillus acidophilus bulgaricus, yogurt of kefir,

to make sour milk is only necessary with milk that has been pasteurized.

Lactic acid fermentation has four basic requirements:

1. A certain concentration of salt

2. A specific temperature

3. An oxygen-free environment

4. Pressure on the foods being fermented.

A special kind of fermentation occurs during which lactic acid is formed.

Microorganisms, yeast and bacteria all play a role in this process. These

organisms can only developed, however, if suitable conditions prevail and if

they receive enough nourishment.

The process of lactic acid fermentation occurs in two different phases.

First, there is a slight decomposition due to fermentation. The salt

initially protects all vegetables from decay until enough lactic acid has

formed. Eventually so much acid is produced that the bacteria that cause

decay and the butyric acid (a fatty acid that inhibits the fermentation

process)can no longer be produced. Yeast fungi, which contribute to the

delicious and characteristic fermentation aroma, are also part of the

initial fermentation process.

A successful first phase is the foundation on which the whole lactic acid

fermentation process rests. It must take place quickly and must not be

interrupted. In this first phase, temperature plays an important role. The

ideal temperature for sauerkraut is 20-22°C (68-72°F); for cucumbers 18-20°C

(64-68°F); and for carrots around 20°C (68°F).

After two days another phase begins: The lactic acid-producing bacteria

start gaining the upper hand and eliminate all other bacteria. This process

must not be rushed. Lower the temperature to 59-64°F (15-18°C) for cabbage

and to about 18°C (64°F) for other vegetables. Fermentation should continue

without any problem. Soon, it will reach the critical pH of 4.1, where

butyric acid and decay bacteria can no longer form. It is during this phase

that new substances like acetylcholine, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and enzymes

are formed.

When fermentation stops-after 10-14 days (two to three weeks for

cabbage)-the vegetables must be put in a cool place, ideally between 8-10°C

(46-50°F). A thermometer set on top of the fermentation crock will show

whether the temperature is right.

It is important not to open the fermentation crock before the end of

fermentation; if you do, the carbon dioxide that prevents yeast formation

will escape. If you are using a Harsch crock, check occasionally to ensure

that the water gutter is filled. If you use jars with twist lids, put them

in a cool place 45-50°F (8-10°C) for ten days without opening them. If you

use open containers, the kahm layer must be removed. (More information

elsewhere)

Once the vegetables have been put in a cool place, patience is required, as

all biological processes need time. Acid formation only takes place during

the first, or warm, stage. (It is better, by the way, to make the warm

period a little too long rather than too short.) Aroma develops during the

cool storage period. To develop the aroma, bacteria need sugar and other

nutrients. If all the sugar present has been used up during an overly long

and warm fermentation, your product will be well preserved, but it will

taste sour, so, stick to suggest fermentation times.

Has the Fermentation Been Successful?

The aroma and taste of your product will tell you. A successful

fermentation develops a characteristic pleasing aroma. The taste should be

pleasant and slightly sour. If you do no want to rely on your tongue alone,

buy some litmus paper at your local drugstore and test the pH-value.

We should briefly explain that pH-value is a measure of the degree of

acidity or alkalinity of a fluid, and is rated on a scale of one to

fourteen. The lower the pH, the more acidic the fluid. Around the middle,

at pH 7, the solution is neutral. Above pH 7, the solution is alkaline.

For lactic acid fermentation, the critical pH is 4.1. Below this value,

decay cannot occur. Decomposition or decay has its own characteristic and

unpleasant smell; when this happens, butyric acid forms, and the vegetables

turn slimy. Throw them away and try again!

Common Problems

1. Vegetables grown too rapidly, or those over-fertilized or sprayed with

pesticides can spoil during fermentation.

2. The water level on top of Harsch crock dried out permitting oxygen to

enter the fermentation pot.

3. The pickling jars did not close properly (check seals carefully),

permitting oxygen to enter jars.

4. Fermentation can also fail if insufficient salt was used. Salt is the

preservative to bridge the time until lactic acid is formed.

Preserving Jars

You can use ordinary glass preserving jars for fermentation of you wish, or

any glass jar with a twist lid. The essential thing is that the lids close

tightly. Check the lids of used vacuum jars carefully as they may have been

damaged when the jar was opened. You might have to use double rubber rings

to get a good, tight seal if you are using preserving jars. Prepare the

food in the same way as you would if you were using a fermentation crock.

You can then press the vegetables into the jar, making sure you don't fill

it to more than 80 percent of its capacity.

When preserving in jars there should always be one-half inch (1 cm) of brine

on top of all fermenting vegetables as some liquid will escape the jar as

vapor. The sealed jars should also be stored on a towel, as any escaping

liquid will dribble down the sides.

The jars must be kept in the dark during the fermentation stage and

subsequent storage. Put them in a carton, or cover them with a cloth.

Using smaller containers like twist-top jars can be more practical for small

families and single people. It, however, easier to obtain good results when

working with larger amounts of vegetables because a larger number of

microorganisms will then be interacting with each other. Plastic jars are

not recommended as harmful substances can leech into preserved foods over

time.

.............................................................................................................

Most of the above is quoted from the book "Making Sauerkraut and Pickled

Vegetables at Home: Creative Recipes for Lactic Fermented Food to Improve

Your Health". Hopefully won't be many typos and if you see any errors please let me know.

The recipes & methods that I used are my interpretation/adaptations of what

I think to be correct and I won't know if successful until the final pH and

taste test.

It's almost time to peek into my Harsch fermentation crock again. 5 lbs of hot pepper mash that I started Sept 3rd. Did some things wrong, but am still mildly optimistic.

I'm very confident that can do correctly the 2nd time around and tomorrow hope to pick a bunch of hot pods most of which are habs. The crock will fit nicely into my new fridge and is where should have been for some weeks. Now if I can only find the pH 4.0 and 7.0 calibration solutions for my pH testers!

Comments (127)

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ken writes: > Lots of stinky sulfur in garlic!! Good luck!

    Yep. Probably another fool's errand, but have got to give it a shot.

    Finished up the left over onion rings in a fermented pickle jar today. Outstanding! Very crisp. It's little things like this that make it all worthwhile.

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pepper mash.

    I am having great results using a sourdough starter for starting hot pepper mash. And the live kefir grains are doing almost as well. Excellent, excellent acidic results in only 4 days. All are reading in the pH 3.4 to 3.5 range except one that is 3.7 pH.

    Ho-hum or what the heck is he talking about to most here, but exciting to me. I love the hot stuff!!

    So far have been dehydrating the mash into powder as don't know how to properly preserve sauce in 5 oz woozies w/plastic caps yet. As acidic as the mash is it probably doesn't need much more than refrigeration if even that.

    jt

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  • jimster
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John,

    You are the madman of the mash. It has become difficult to follow you, through no fault of yours. You have provided detailed and nicely illustrated reports on your research.

    Of the many questions I have, there is one which interests me most at this time. Aren't different species of lactobacillus or yeast associated with the fermentation of particular foods? For instance, does a lactobacillus which thives on milk also ferment cabbage? My limited knowledge says "no". Yet, your experiments indicate "yes".

    I'm starting a small experiment in which this is a relevent issue. It seems we would benefit by knowing the answer. My experiment will not provide the answer, but it will be a start in that direction.

    Jim

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    > For instance, does a lactobacillus which thives on milk also ferment cabbage? My limited knowledge says "no". Yet, your experiments indicate "yes".

    Jim

    My answer is yes. And the 'grainlady' in the gardenwebbie cooking forum was surprised too. It does work. She wasn't surprised by the live kefir grains working, but by the sourdough starter. Although I just might have misread her thoughts.

    jt

  • bejay9_10
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jt -

    Hi - I'm lurking here.

    About sealing things with low pH. I just happened to think, my home made vinegar came out to a 5% acidity, but it is sitting on the shelf. I didn't think it needed to be "preserved" in the sense that we have been doing other canned foods.

    After about 3 months of being "indoctrinated" by the mother culture, this culture was strained out, the mixture brought to boil, and that is where it is - not sealed for preservation. Should it be for prolonged shelf life?

    Just my 2 c's.

    Bejay

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bejay,

    I just don't feel qualified to answer. For MY personal use it wouldn't bother me although my new minimum pH is 3.9 at least. I pulled out a half dozen pepper mash woozies with airlocks and balloons still attached. They were ones with marginal pH numbers after a week or more so I let them sit in my 45° fridge for another month to see if would improve. They didn't change much and were still around pH 4.0 What really disturbed me is that one of the bottles had formed a little bit of what I took to be a crusty-looking white mold. Probably a harmless kam yeast, but into the trash it went anyways. The other 5 bottles of pepper mash were dehydrated and ground for powder.

    The pH of a liquid measured with a pH meter does not really tell the whole story. I forget the term now but the 'strength' of the mixture is important. Did you know that you can dilute vinegar with distilled water and not significantly raise the pH? How many here knew that and believe it? Please raise your hands.

    jt

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I should have mentioned that the 'mold' was on the very top lip of the woozie and these bottles had been opened and tested for pH so the CO2 had escaped and fresh air in it's place. It still surprised me.

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My most recent sourdough starter was stored in the fridge, until yesterday, when I planned to make some bread with an active batch. When I opened the sealed cover onf the glass jar, I heard a lot of gas escape. Its also CO2 and could probably have bursted the jar if left that way. I figured that it wil now settle down due to the expelling of the gas. My mostly whole wheat sourdough bread came out very light and airy this time. I think part of the reason was it had been active for about 5 days before the bowl was put in the fridge last week. This made the bubbles stop, and when making the bread, I added a litte regular yeast and soem regular flour, along with a bit of potato starch and wheat gluten. I think, without these, the bread may have been heavier and not rise as much before the baking. The baking was done by setting the oven to 500 degrees and forming the french loaves. Allowing the dough to rise about 3-4 hours. Once in the oven, the temp was lowered to about 375 after just a couple of minutes. This helped to prevent the top of the loaves from collapsing before they were finished baking. The bread goes very well with my pastrami..

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ken,

    My pure garlic mash is 4.93 after 9 days. I give up! It was a good learning experience though. Into the dehydrator it goes.

    It's going to be one busy dehydrator. I also have a quart of fermented mash made from hot peppers, onions, carrots, garlic, some salt etc. It turned out awesome! Will make a very flavorful powder. Getting a really nice stash of fermented mash powder and got some great new plastic shakers in the mail last week. Really nice ones and just perfect size. Ordered some 1" round labels to put on them and can't wait to get all together so can share some.

    Purchased some really nice pickling gherkins yesterday and can't wait to start fermenting another batch of pickles. Haven't seen pickling cukes in the stores for some time now & was happy to find.

    Do you really think a canning jar will explode from gas pressure?

    jt

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    TBHQ is food additive that is an antioxidant.

    I've been planning for some time to use Mrs Wages Refrigerator Sweet Pickle, Refrigerator Polish Dill, Quick Process Kosher Dill and/or Quick Process Sweet Pickle mixes as the spices in a fermented cuke trial. My original fermentation recipe with the fresh herbs and spices turned out fantastic, but want to try a shortcut.

    Plans are to use a yet undetermined amt of the mixes plus a lot of sliced onions, distilled water and quite possibly my wild sourdough as a starter rather than dried kefir grains.

    Do you think TBHQ will inhibit the fermentation? I know you aren't supposed to double post forums, but will probably post in the cooking forum too just so can get grainlady and Annies input.

    jt

  • david52 Zone 6
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John, I froze my pepper mash in 1/2 pint jars, and it thaws out very nicely. I think the result is better than canning it, which kills off all that fizz. Freezing it knocks it down, but its still there.

    One year I tried leaving the mash in a gallon container in the 45º storeroom and not processing it. By the next spring, there were some very interesting things growing in there, and I had to chuck it out.

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Actually the canning jar the sourdough is in, is an old style jar with rubber ring and wire bail. It originally had some kind of commercially made preserves in it and came from France or Germany, can't recall. The jar was similar to the old types Ball made, but very short and a bit wider than most any of the older rubber ring types (approx. 1 pint) . I wasn't planning on using it to do any home canning, just a nice glass container that was air tight. Because the sourdough culture is now almost finished its fermenting and is starting to smell like booze I doubt it would blow up. My brother was into Kim Che and other fermented stuff. I took him to the local wine and beer making supplier a few times and he was into making beer too. Soon, he realized it was cheaper to buy commerical beers as opposed to making your own. He passed away two years (age 62) ago after two quad bypasses, and ignoring some serious diabetes problems.

    I found one kind of dill pickle mix had a lot of sugar in it, which I didn't care for. I forget if it was a Ball mix or a Mrs. Wages. When I use these for making pickles, I usually look to see if its the one with sugar or salt in the ingredients list. The extractives of spices and flavorings in the mixes are quite powerful, as opposed to just using dried spices like dill, etc, so I usually get a much stronger flavored pickle when using the mixes along with the regular spices like garlic and dill. I don't care if the mix has tumeric or not as thats just mostly for the yellow color anyway. Last summer, at Big Lots, I found some interesting Ball mixes not seen elsewhere. I guess they tried to market a batch of 'quick to make' picking mixes for making some fresh pickles from cukes, and just refrigerate them, as opposed to home canning. They were in much smaller packets and each made only about a single quart.

    Don't know anything about the TBHQ, but did find a source for poly-sorbate, and you can always use a bit of either sodium or potasium metabysulfate as a preservative too. Anti oxidents aren't quite the same as a preservative to prevent wild spores of mold, etc. The sulfer based products are also sold by my local wine making supplier.

    I believe that the vinegar is added after aging to 'stabilize' the fermented tobasco. Kind of like what I do when making the half sour pickles and adding that dash of vinegar to stop the working of the brine.

    If you want bulk calcium chloride, I get mine from the Bulk Foods web site. Its almost the same cost as the Ball packages, but Balls' product is a powder whereas the Bulk food product is small granules, which are measured almost the same. Make sure its kept out of contact with dampness or air as it will absorb water and get runny if its left exposed.

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dave,

    I'll probably stick with canning rather than freezing. Oddly (?) enough I freeze my hot cheese sauces in 12 oz woozies and they thaw and store in fridge really well. These are for nacho dips and adding to burritos etc. No water separation whatsoever if use the Rico's condensed cheese sauce mfg for commercial use and i get at Sam's Club. The other institutional size uncondensed cheese sauces all separate.

    Ken,

    Mfgrs do add vinegar to their mashes to bring the pH down before bottling. I prefer to do it by fermenting.

    Sounds like Weck jars? The wire bail one.

    One of my commercial hot sauce making friends has warned me more than once that jars under fermenting pressure can explode. I quite honestly do not believe it and deliberately screw the regular lids and rings down as tightly as I can to try and get a jar to do it. Seriously.

    jt

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm not too worried. The sourdough is a big glob, and quite firm. Even if it blew, the stuff would just sit there on the shelf. I make mine quite thick, the less liquid, there is the less that it seperates. As to Weck, the jars at their site are quite different, although they do appear to look a little like the 'Deco' type, except theirs have no wire bails. I suppose if I can make a heavy duty wine bottle break, due to extreme pressure, it could happen to a canning jar too. Remember the old days when making root beer, the yeast and sugar way. POW!
    Ever do anything with rennet? Maybe you should give some cheese making a try too..

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ken,

    Had to google that one. Very interesting! The grainlady over on the gardenwebbie cooking forum has mentioned making a cheese from kefir grains. I took it to mean like a cottage cheese & will have to recheck it. So love the kefir grains just like they are after a few days fermenting in milk.

    Started a single quart jar of pickles today. 4 gherkins (very strong tasting to me), a half medium yellow hot onion sliced 4 ways for nice size strips, 1 tablespoon Mrs. Wages Polish Dill Refrigerator Pickle Mix, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 2 tablespoons live kefir grains, 1/4 tsp of my fermented hot pepper mash powder and distilled water. Trimmed the ends of cukes and poked a few holes in them to allow more fluid transfer. The fermented pepper mash is awesome and should be a starter in it's own right. (looks like another experiment coming up)

    Am planning to put more onions in my fermentations. They sometimes steal the show such is in the baby carrots and onions. Broke a 2 day fast (medical procedure) with fermented string beans and onion slices today. Both very crisp and delicious!! Followed with one of my sauerkraut (& hot pepper) fermentations. Great way to get my system back in shape.

    Idea... onion slices with fermented hot pepper mash as a starter!!! Will do tomorrow. A pint jar.

    jt

  • bejay9_10
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ken - you mentioned something that I've been wondering about - my sourdough starter may be a bit too thin (too much liquid). The last pizza crust that I made was a bit tough, and I surmised too much water in the dough from the watery starter.

    Once the pizza sat for awhile (actually steamed), the crust absorbed some of the liquid from the topping sauce, and became quite edible. But when I first tried to cut it - right out of the oven - it was pretty tough.

    Maybe it's time to chuck it, and start over. It was better in the beginning. I like the idea of the potato water too, perhaps mixing dried potato flakes in the batter might be worth a try - it could be a bit lighter.

    jt - I've made a cheese from the curds (like cottage cheese), the idea is to press the curds and age them, which finally makes a cheese. It takes a considerable amount of milk to make a small amount of finished cheese. Hence, unless I own a dairy someday, I decided it wasn't worth the effort.

    Just my 2 c's.

    P.S. Love your posts - I admire your persevering spirit.

    Bejay

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My mom used to make cheese from yogurt. She liked that better than creamed on bagels. The dough can be tough if its kneaded too much, or the gluten has been exposed to too much microwaves or steam heat. I made some english muffins using simple bread dough and when nuked after being frozen, they were quite chewy. I use a pizza stone for my pizza and build up on the stone as opposed to trying to get it off a peel. Coating the formed dough before adding he toppings helps to keep the dough from getting too soggy. Also, adding a little olive oil to the dough when making it will give a lighter texture. Years ago, my first pizzas were like cookies, as I never kneaded the dough enough.
    I would avoid using sea salt in fermentations, as you never know what else is in that salt, and some unknown things can give very odd taste. Unless its 100% pure, salt needs to be somewhat refined prior to using in pickling. Those purple and other color salts are nice additions for veggies, but fermentation, I would expect, would need much purer ingredients. Adding distilled water and then 'contaminating' it with sea salt, is doing something negative to the mix.

    I did make an offer if anyone wanted some of my dried sourdough culture mix. When I do the starter, its almost a dough to begin with, and can be spooned out of the container in a big glob. The bread I made the other day was one of the best tasting I have ever had. It was made with mostly whole wheat flour as well as allowing the starter to sit in the fridge for 5 days after being on the kitchen counter for 3 prior days. I added a small amount of diastatic malt (natural sugar), some ascorbic acid, and some potato flour. I even added a little powdered lecithin as it helps to keep the bread moist like potato flour does I suppose you could also use the flakes. The ONLY dried potato I use to make mashed (in a pinch) is Potato Buds. These are great to add to a stew for natural thickening too. After the loaves were baked and cool, I bagged them and they are in the fridge. This helps to keep them from geting too dried out and stale. If I left them out, they would be hard as a rock in 3 days, too much for my chewing.

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There are no colors other than white in my 2.37 lb container of Tone's Mediterranean sea salt. Many of the recipes in my fermenting books call for sea salt and all of them for non-iodized salt. Probably used 1 1/2 lbs already. That's still a great caution though. Other brands may not be as good.

    I use a pizza stone too. Sure miss those live online Friday night pizza cam presentations that tadpole terror and his kids used to do.

    Potato Buds are what I mostly use to thicken up burrito mixes if needed. One of my favorite ever was a steak and mashed potatoes one using the Potato Buds. Great flavor.

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Boy, did I mess up!

    I'm down to a couple of forkfuls of my fav fermented veggie... green beans w/onions. Every morning I have something fermented with one of my meds that must be taken with food and then don't eat again until just before bedtime.

    So, anxious to try out my new Calphalon stock pot I put in a little over a gallon of water and cranked up the propane burner on my deck. Nice and bubbling so I dump in abt 3 lbs cold string beans. Apparently way too much at one time? When it finally started boiling again I timed for the 5 min the recipe said for crisp beans. They turned out very soft. So disappointed. Still going to use them, but know am going to be dissatisfied every time I eat them.

    Here's my question... are green beans really poisonous and do they need to be boiled a minimum of 5 min before eating? That's what it says in my fermenting book.

    Will head to Sam's tomorrow morning early and buy more beans and then to WallyWorld for some more horseradish root. (incredible low price anymore. My dad grew it for years and I no longer think worth the trouble to grow) I have plenty of fresh savory. Then will try again. What I think I need is some kind of basket to put the beans into before adding to the boiling water. Something with a handle on top that I could grab with a pliers or something and snatch out of the boiling pot.

    jt

  • jimster
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Did you put the beans in an ice water bath soon as they were cooked? If not, that would prevent them from continuing to cook and keep them crisper.

    Jim

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I eat raw string beans all the time. If the beans were frozen, they will get mushy once thawed or cooked. If your blanching them they need only about 2 minutes and then the cold dip afterwards.

  • bejay9_10
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My favorite way to eat string beans and sugar snap peas is to steam them. (Other veggies too).

    I bought a Farberware steamer, which has a heavy bottom and a steamer insert - just love it for fast steaming of all veggies. They come out still a bit crisp and very flavorful.

    Bring about an inch of water to boil in the bottom pan, put vegetables in the steamer basket. When the steam comes out, turn off the heat and steam till tender - about 2 to 3 minutes.

    I froze some snap peas this winter, and they are good that way - still a bit crunchy.

    Just my 2 c's.

    Bejay

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks, guys

    I guess it is safe then. Here is where I read it:


    Didn't even think of an ice bath. Wouldn't have helped as they were already soft.

    And I have a Farberware steamer that I use all the time, but never for beans to ferment.

    Today I bought 2 lbs of unfrozen French beans that are really fresh and nice. This time will blanch for two minutes a small amt at a time and then decide if want to cook some more. Forgot to buy ice, but it's 40° outside and I have several large very heavy duty aluminum food service trays to spread them out on. I pack the jars one at a time so should be able to get a nice rotation of blanch to cool to jar going.

    I wonder if horseradish root can be grated and frozen? I use it in a couple of my fermentations. 1 tbs per quart is usually called for.

    jt

  • bejay9_10
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I planted horseradish about 6 years or so ago. I never pay much attention to it, neglect really - and it just keeps on reproducing. It is in a semi-shady spot under the trees, sandy soil, never fertilized, but seems perfectly happy.

    When I harvest it, the worst part is getting it clean, as it has a lot of nooks and crannies to catch dirt. But once that is over, I grate the root in my food processor, add a little vinegar and pop into the fridge. It keeps forever practically.

    Bejay

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bejay,

    My dad was not a gardener. My mom and I could not get enough of growing things. I had a garden spot before I could read and both reading and gardening have been a life-long passion. He did grow horseradish & absolutely loved grating, adding vinegar at just the right time and refrigerating it.

    4 min has proven to be just the right time for boiling the French string beans. Just the right tenderness and they get sweeter than the 3 min trials. (I started with 2 min & then 3 etc) Fermenting in pint jars this time.

    jt

  • david52 Zone 6
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Last summer I fermented green beans straight from the garden with Kefir. They came out crunchy. I also eat them raw when I'm standing around, contemplating stuff. When I blanche them for freezing, my general procedure is to bring to a boil 2 gal. of water in a 3 gal stockpot, dump in the beans, bring to a boil again, which can take a few minutes, then drain quickly. That seems to do it, and they thaw well, with a good amount of crunch left.

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Odd about string beans being nasty eaten raw. As to blanching, corn, peas, beans, and many other veggies do need a quick blanch and then freezing. The blanch is just a quick dip in boiling water (a few at a time), then a dip in ice water to stop the cooking. A quick dry and freeze. When I freeze the corn, I blanch it on the cop first, then cut it off and freeze. If its not blanched, they tend to have odd 'earthy' flavors that are not like any fresh cooked ones. Now that have been growing and eating waxed beans, I like these more than regular string beans.

    Horseradish tastes odd if you use too much white vinegar in it. When I dig mine up, its usually just before or after the ground had/has been frozen then thawed. I clean it (quite tedious!) and then put in a blender with a little water. NEVER stick your nose in there after pureeing it as the fumes can knock you out! Mine lasts only about two months and then starts to turn a light tan color, thats when its lost its punch, and is tossed.

  • bejay9_10
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jt - that is curious - about string beans being poison or ?

    However, when I made the Euell Gibbon recipe - about fermenting veggies in a dill pot (Stocking Up III), he did mention blanching ONLY the beans before adding them to the brine. Your reference is only the 2nd time I've heard that about beans.

    Since he is much more venturesome about eating lots of other "things" that grow wild, I am surprised he would mention that about beans in particular.

    I'm still checking to see if my newly planted pole beans will sprout. If I don't find a piece of wire to put over the spot, the birds may get their treats, and I will never see any. Must do today!

    Just another 2'c

    Bejay

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bejay,
    Beans usually take only a very few days to sprout. something like just 5 to 6 days, unless there is a soil problem or the seeds are old. Here, I have some very old seeds and tend to cope with no germination quite often. I hate throwing away a bag of seeds after a year or two. Some of the seeds I still get to sprout are tomatoes, and flowers, and a few others, and they can be about 5-10 years old. The older, of course has the most losses to no germination.

    I have never heard of string beans needing to be blanched before eating. Maybe Linda Lou has some insight on this??

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The toxic substance is called phasin if that helps.

    My two 1 quart jars of regular string beans are bubbling nicely after 2 days at 75° and tomorrow I'll move them to 65° for a week and then into the 45° fridge for 3 or 4 weeks. Hopefully the 4 pint jars of the French ones will be active by tomorrow. I had thought about doing 2 with the faster sourdough starter and 2 with the kefir grains and whey, but do not like the strong odor of my sourdough ever since I started feeding whole wheat flour. I bought some Hodgson Mill organic white flour yesterday and have started new cultures with that.

    Today I hope to do 4 more pint jars of the French beans and get started on fermenting some more hot pepper/onion/carrot mash. I dehydrated the last batch and it made some incredibly good powder if I do say so myself.

    jt

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Careful with the whole wheat flour, it can quickly go rancid too. That may be the cause of the 'funky' smell, and not the sourdough culture itself.

  • habman
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just finished my first hot sauce.

    Thanks to this thread the sauce turned out great :)

    I used Kefir starter mix , 8% salt by weight of peppers and hot long peppers from the market.
    This is only a trial before I hopefuly get a nice crop of Habaneros this fall.

    I tried a batch without kefir and 1 with kefir.
    After 3-4 days the non-kefir batch had a big white mold growing and was quickly discarded.The kefir batch had no signs of mold.
    The fermentation really started about 3-4 days and lasted about 3 days. I left the mixture in a dark warm place for 14 days. I added a dried chocolate Habanero pod 2 days before I put it in the refrigerator.
    The mixture was at a ph of 3.84 after 14 days of fermentation.
    Then I moved it to the refrigerator for 3 weeks.

    The mixture was boiled for 5 minutes and then I added white vinegar.
    Then final PH was 3.02. Tabasco sauce was at 2.68.

    I tried my sauce and then the good old Tabasco sauce.
    Wow what a diffrence. The Tobasco sauce tasted terrible. My sauce was simply divine :)

    Tried it with sushi wow words can't describe it. It was perfect.

    Ok need to go to the market and start a new batch...... :)

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey habman,

    Great illustrations! I like that.

    That the Tabasco was that low a pH really surprised me. I don't think there is any doubt that they are adding vinegar to their sauce too. 3.4 is I think the lowest pH I've ever gotten naturally and 2.68 is much, much more acidic.

    What kind of container did you ferment in? A closed system?

    That kahm yeast mold really sucks. I opened up a bottle of sauce that a friend sent me (pH 3.6 if I recall correctly) and it grew a mold on top in 2 days. While trying to find out if there are temp requirements for the mold (still do not know) I found this:

    Perfect Pickler

    Perfect Pickler - Glass

    Guess I'm not the only one that uses airlocks. Actually I don't feel the need to use anymore now that I have a good feel for this.

    Thanks for sharing!

    jt

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John,

    That perfect pickler - glass , looks just like a quart Ball jar with a plastic lid (they do leak!) and a cheap plastic water trap on top, shoved through a rubber grommet.If you do go that route, be sure to use some kind of gasket between the plastic lid and the lip of the jar.

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    > That perfect pickler - glass , looks just like a quart Ball jar with a plastic lid (they do leak!) and a cheap plastic water trap on top, shoved through a rubber grommet.If you do go that route, be sure to use some kind of gasket between the plastic lid and the lip of the jar.

    Ken,

    Thanks for the warning, but there is certainly no need for me to go that route. My own ho-made airlock system is sufficient and I no longer need to use airlocks anyways now that am confidant of what I am doing.

    Nevertheless, even though pricey I think this is a fairly well thought out system for someone just starting out fermenting. Certainly a better value than the Harsch crock in my opinion. Not knocking the Harsch crock, but just think there are better ways to go about fermenting.

    Beautiful day here in the KC area and spent it on my beloved deck watching roundball, slicing hot rocotos, manzanos, red ripe jalapeños and some habaneros to dehydrate and then made about 3 quarts of extremely potent hot peppers, onions, carrots, garlic and some raisins mash that will start fermenting tomorrow.

    The part about the plastic Ball lids leaking is right on. They leak like a sieve.

    Life is good!

    jt

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The water seal is cheap, at a buck ten each at the following location.

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here is something that I have been working towards... fermenting in 5 oz woozies that are tightly sealed from the start and that I won't have to heat process. Not something that a manufacturer could get by with I don't think. And I'll probably only share with people that have a pH meter or test strips.

    I'm using 3 times the usual bacteria starter than normally use. The pint jars I know work with lesser amts, but am also increasing the amt for them as a sort of control.

    The plan is 2 days at 75°, 1 week at 65° and 1 month at 45°. I already know that I can make a decent tasting ferment in one week at 75, but want to try and improve the taste by doing according to suggested methods in my books. Heat and acidity I know can get, more subtle flavors am working on.

    jt

  • jimster
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John, as I said before, you are the madman of the mash!

    Your posts are endlessly entertaining and informative. I love the pics.

    Jim

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Maybe its time to do a PART 2 of Lactic acid fermention?

  • mutluturk
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John, I've read this page couple of times again again try to learn and understand and i must say that this forum is really inspiring! Now i can say that i am a true lactic acid fermentation believer:)
    Here are couple of questions for the experts of this forum which i like to make my mind clear before starting my experiments:

    Have you ever tried fermenting paprika, and did you get good results? I mean the taste.. Frutescens are hard to find here and i have to choose annuums for start.

    About the weight, glass in a nylon tule or a nylon bag like a freeze bag right? Is it safe to use nylon bag inside? No problems because of acidity?

    And about the starter.. we dont have kefir grains or sourdough sold in the market here. So I simply bought a liquid kefir drink and strained it from a thin cloth, thinking the fluid straining is whey. But i am not sure it will work. Any better ideas?

    Thanks all of you for sharing, I really appreciate your engineering approach.

    Turk

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ken writes: > Maybe its time to do a PART 2 of Lactic acid fermention?

    Ken,

    Why? Is the thread taking too long to load? My computer is fast and my cable connection is awesome so sometimes I need a reminder to ease up. I more and more am trying to insert clickable thumbnails or hot links for photo illustrations, but sometimes am just too much in a hurry.

    If the above or any other reason is the need for thread #2 then please someone say so again and I will happily do it.

    jt

  • jimster
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Vertical scrolling gets a little touchy with such a long thread. Not unusable, just touchy.

    Jim

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Turk,

    Although there is always an acidic taste with lactic acid fermenting the original flavor of the vegetable always comes through. I've grown several paprika types from Spain and have started a very highly recommended hybrid (Paprika Supreme) this year, but have not fermented any yet.

    I chose nylon tule for my weight bags because I believe it to be stable and food safe. And that is also the reason I chose the glass beads. A much more convenient solution to weighting would be a plastic bag with water and some air in it. More and more I find myself not using any weight whatsoever because the starters I use are so active.

    If your liquid kefir drink hasn't been pasteurized or treated with preservatives it should make an excellent starter. I would put a few ounces into a jar, add some whole milk and wait 3 or 4 days and see how it ferments. You should get a nice sweet, acidic smelling result. The grains (curd) will be very small for some weeks, but will gradually grow in size. They do not need to be large for the mixture to work as a starter. Both the curds and the more liquid whey work well as starters. I always use a mixture of both.

    For my sourdough starters I use 2 parts pure water to 1 part flour. There are some excellent sourdough threads on this forum.

    If you do decide to try fermenting, please let us know your results.

    Regards,
    jt

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just as Jim said, its a bit touchy even with broadband. Its because of all the photos that need to also get loaded in. If they were all taken at 8+ megapixels, they would be very slow to downlaod. Think of the poor people who only have dialup..!

  • John__ShowMe__USA
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Started a 2nd thread and thanks for the suggestion.

    Lactic Acid Fermenting Thread #2

    Off topic... I spent yesterday afternoon on my deck making chili red using 'chili-grind' sirloin, onions, hot peppers, tomatoes etc. Testing a new to me chili powder.. Gebhardt brand. Turned out most excellent! Today will adding fresh grated cheese and rolling into burritos. (because that is what I do) Then will be making breakfast burritos out of scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, onions and hot sauce. It's already 73° and not even noon yet. Life is good!!

    jt

  • ksrogers
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lucky you with the temps in the 70's. Here, we got snow dumped on us last night. Luckily, its warmer and it doesn't stay long. I was tempted to till yesterday, but decided to wait a bit longer as its still a bit muddy out there.

  • James McNulty
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great thread that I don't want to disappear. There continues to be a growing interest in this topic and the food is really interesting.
    Jim in So Calif

  • psittacine
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Still hope to one day learn how to ferment cabbage and possibly other vegetables, so thought I'd bring this thread back up. Maybe if I keep re-reading instructions/information, I will one day take the first step and collect all that is needed to get batch one started!

  • wertach zone 7-B SC
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just do it! Cabbage is on sale for Saint Paddies day if you don't have fresh!

    I fermented my first batch recently. I used the recipe from the link below but added extra salt like a dummy. After a little tweaking it turned out very good. My co-workers loved it too. I cook for them often.

    I followed the recipe exactly this time and it is going nicely! It is bubbling after only 5 days, which could be from the correct amount of salt or because the house is a little warmer.

    It is staying close to 70 now, when I started the first batch it would drop to around 60 at times. We are getting a little touch of spring here and I like to keep the house cool at night to sleep better.

  • david52 Zone 6
    11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    With friends who are hesitant to make sauerkraut, I've found that the utube link below from the Alaska State Extension service is very helpful.

    Its a bit long at 38 minutes, but it covers an awful lot of ground. How to do it in qt jars is towards the end, unfortunately.

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