What causes spoilage?

Image Pickle Scum There are a variety of reasons including fruits or vegetables that were:

  • over-ripe
  • had “bad” spots, already beginning to decay
  • blossom ends (pickling cukes – especially important!) weren’t removed
  • leaving out at room temperature, especially when over 72F, so mold develops
  • stored too long in warehouse or in root cellars
  • immature – picked too early so not enough sugar/starch development
  • infested with fruit flies

Here are some technical fermentation reasons why spoilage occurs:

  • not enough salt
  • food is sticking above the brine
  • initial fermentation occurred when temperatures were too warm – above 72F
  • initial fermentation occurred when temperatures were too cool – below 68F
  • not stored in a cool place – root cellar, basement or refrigerator
  • not skimming “scum” or “pancake” waxy-style yeast growth from top of brine
  • fermenting container wasn’t sterile
  • using ground spices instead of using whole spices
  • old spices which had fungus spores
  • using iodized salt
  • using chlorinated or fluorinated water

Failures are good for experience. When dealing with living-food, just like with all other living-creatures, you can expect a wide variety of experiences and variables! Unlike their dead-nutrient, pasteurized counterparts which have nothing to offer as far as living nutrients, enzymes, probiotic benefits, fermented foods are worth the journey of learning! Don’t be discouraged!

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