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- Spices must be whole – Powdered spices, spices that are out-of-date or not fresh or whole spices left in a brine during storage all cause cloudy brines.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...
Cauliflower stalks are fermented to produce achar tandal in India.
Thanks for the clear instructions, Kathleen! I mustered the discipline to let the fermentation work undisturbed, leaving it alone! I’m not used to that! Used to skimming off mold! I’m amazed how good my first attempt with it – khimchee – has come out. You made it so easy.
—Jamie - Massachusettes