Frequently Asked Questions
Our senses come in handy when determining the condition of lacto-fermented foods. Slimy, soft, smelly = spoiled. Each of these undesirable attributes can be seen, smelled, or felt.
Your nose will tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether your lacto-fermented foods are still healthy.
Instead of having a saliva-response, a signal your body recognizes healthy food, you’ll have quite the opposite – feeling repulsed and probably taking a step or two away from the container, when its opened. You’ll know it when you smell it.
Slimy pickles are usually soft, discolored pickles. It’s rare to have soft, slimy pickles without the “smell”, so use your senses to help you decide.
Wise friends suggested I should intentionally leave a small container of ferment-of-my-choice sitting out at room temperature (in the middle of summer, no less!) and take an occasional sniff of it over the next few months. It was good training, fast-tracking in my question to reclaim lacto-fermenting skills.
Here are two helpful sources offering more ideas about common pickle problems including soft spots, “off”-smell, soft texture or hollow areas:
Did you know...
The Greeks held beet root in great esteem, offering it on a silver platter to the god, Apollo. In the middle ages, a meal was not considered complete without beetroot soup which would have been made from fermented beets.
—Greek Beet Soup
We managed to let our Pickl-It pepper mash go for 1 year & 8 days but we were frothing at the mouth & had to dive in. The earth moooooved at first bite! The taste buds exploded into exuberant happy dances. Our senses reeled with gustatory joys. Now, it is pepper mash on EVERYTHING . Yuuuum!!!!!!!!!! TikiBlu has just SWOONED!!!
—TikiBlu H. - Washington