Frequently Asked Questions
Some amount of “cloudy” brine is normal, created by the lactic acid bacteria during fermentation, especially during the first few weeks of a new batch, but it will eventually settle, turning clear.
There are other factors that may turn a brine cloudy and they should be eliminated:
- Possible spoilage – Spoilage in a bail-wire system is extremely unusual. If you’ve moved your pickles or fermented food into another type of container – wide-mouth canning jars with screw-on lids – spoilage is possible as they do not offer a good enough seal to keep oxidizing oxygen or mold spores out.
- Anticaking agents in salts – Kosher salt, unrefined sea salt, or pickling salt is recommended. Read salt labels as they will list “anticaking agents” on the ingredients.
- Hard water minerals – If soft water is not available, boil the hard water for 15-minutes, cover and allow to sit for 24-hours. Remove any surface scum, and avoid using any sediment that collects on the bottom.
- Spices must be whole – Powdered spices, spices that are out-of-date or not fresh or whole spices left in a brine during storage all cause cloudy brines. Whole spices should be placed in the ferments in an organic, unbleached spice bag, muslin, cheesecloth, or natural-fiber unbleached tea bag. Remove the whole spices when the ferment is complete, as spices will continue to break down in the fermentation liquid during storage.
Did you know...
1989 – Roy Fuller credited with suggesting a definition for “probiotics”, still in use today: “A live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance”
I was intrigued by the whey-method although I kept thinking, "This really can't work. It sounds like a bad idea." I had my undergrad class check out whey-ferment vs no-whey, using the German crocks. Wow. I should have listened to my original thinking. Bad idea! Don't use whey! Not only is it low-count, but the flavor is awful and the texture even worse! Love your Pickl-It! Great tool for teaching!
—Gary, University Microbiology Professor