Why Your Ferments Go Bad…
- You don’t sterlise your jars.
- You don’t make sure everything is blow the level of your liquid/brine (including your cabbage leave or stalk if you use these to weigh things down). I always aim for 2cm of brine above the level of my veggies. The veg will rise up as it ferments, thats fine at that stage, just not when you start.
- You mess about in the jars after the fermenting has started (pushing things down or adding ingredients or water etc).
- You did not check for mould on your fruits or veggies before adding them in.
- Using tap water to top up the brine.
- Not using the right ration of salt or a previous brine. You want to aim for between 2 to 2.5% salt for the weight of all your ingredients for most things. High water content veggies might need more.
- Not using a sterlised weight. You dont have to use an actual weight but if you add something in, make sure it sterile. I often use reusable wax (dehydrater) sheets cut to size, which are always sterile.
- Using water without any minerals left in it for certain fermented drinks like water kefir.
- Not shaking some very liquid ferments like my chilli sauce recipe or some chutneys etc enough. These sorts of things need shaking several times a day as they cannot be weighted down.
- Mixing ferments, either in the bowl or on the counter. Having kefir and kombucha too close together can cross contaminate them and you can find some beautiful looking spidery moulds on them.
- They haven’t gone bad!
11.a: A lot of people feel they have killed their kombucha scoby (this is almost impossible – they would survive the apocalypse like cockroaches), even after a year of being left alone you can start fermenting these again.
11.b: If you find a thin white powdery mould (like you find on olives) on your ferments, this has not gone bad, this is kahm yeast. This is totally fine to eat, but it will start to change the flavour of the food.
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