Fermenting

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by GoodEnoughGear, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I waited 6 days before doing a taste test. Although given the heat in SoCal I think I should have checked after three days.

    Cucumbers - These were the worst. When i tried to get one out with my chopsticks, it went completely through it. Ended up being mushy and when I found a part that was firm it was very bitter. I thought the whole batch was ruined but there were two on the very bottom that were still firm and the ones I cut in halves and spears were okay. Brine was 3.6% and temp for a few days were 80F - 90F. This is also a different cucumber type from the first batch sold as a 'pickling cucumber'. The first batch, while way too salty, had zero mushy cucumbers.

    Tomatoes - 2nd worst. These were mushy but not totally irredeemable. Taste was a bit sour. Not something I would eat by itself but I think it could be salvaged in a tomato relish or part of a salsa.

    Escabeche - excellent results! The only negative to report is that the radishes completely leeched out their red color and made the brine pink. Everything is still firm except the radishes which are a little softer but not too much. Jalapeños cut into rounds and quarters are much better this time around. I also still have some jalapeños I still kept whole, but they are at the very bottom and wasn't able to sample them. I suspect they are alright. Peppers are much less spicy then when they were fresh.

    Onions - excellent results! If you want a raw onion without the harsh taste, this is the way to do it. Onions are still crispy with a slight sourness. Seems nice to have a small bowl of these with a beer or glass of wine. I also think this works great as an accompaniment to pho or thit kho.

    Given that my cucumbers did better when my brine was more salty, I suspect that the water heavy cucumbers and tomatoes ended up diluting the solution a bit and it actually requires a higher concentration than 3%. I think the magic number might be 5%.
     
  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    So i believe I have uncovered some general guidelines in case you mess up

    -If your vegetables remain firm but have no fermentation then you have too much salt. Reduce the concentration the next time

    -if your vegetables turn out mushy then your salt content is far too low. Increase the salt concentration next time

    Ideally you want to find a salt level where your produce is preserved but bacteria can still thrive. Somewhere in the 3-5% range. Higher concentrations are better for large vegetables (whole peppers, cucumbers, etc). Lower concentrations are better when everything is chopped up (sauerkraut, onions, relish)
     
  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Doing another batch of cucumber. This time at 5%

    300C9957-99E3-49AF-9741-F728A2E7F3C2.jpeg

    I started on 12/12. They've been in the garage which has been 55f-70f. Mostly on the cooler side, so fermentation had been far slower. Here is what they look like after 7 days

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    The darker ones on the left are from a jar I bought for reference. Mine are lighter. Already far better then my first two attempts, although not quite pickled enough. They need at least two weeks and probably closer to a month
     
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  4. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Update on my latest batch

    6F44F211-F109-4B62-A3D8-BE29C411D399.jpeg

    There's some white parts where it isn't fully pickled but it's 90% there. I read a lot of recipes where they say 7 days is enough but I don't see how that is possible with these. I bought 'pickling cucumbers' which very bitter fresh and I think the recipe people post are for the regular types people use in salads. These need a minimum of 2 weeks to me.
     
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  5. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    That's looking like the business! You should call them "Perseverance Pickles".
     
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  6. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  7. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Finished another batch. First two weeks there was no sourness. After week 3 though there was lots of bubbles indicating fermentation.

    F4DB7E1B-5C0B-4332-A756-85FCA923D800.jpeg

    If they still look raw it's a feature of the brine fermentation. Still crunchy.

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    Once again, make this your first pickling project. Serve along side olives when you have drinks.
     
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  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I've sort of turned this thread into a personal pickling blog. Anyway, here's something new

    CB8A15D0-A57D-4D84-B160-5EAA3CFEE29B.jpeg

    This is my hot sauce jar. Idea it to gather all the ingredients you would use for hot sauce and ferment everything in the same container. When finished, strain out the liquid and blend everything with some vinegar and some of the brine. In this jar I have habaneros, a carrot, an onion and some garlic.

    I also made a jar of pickled garlic and it turned completely blue! Apparently this is totally normal due to trace amounts of certain metals in the water. In China they actually do this on purpose and it's called 'jade garlic'.
     
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  9. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Blended up the peppers but held back a little on the carrots and onions.

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    Instead of adding vinegar to get it to a liquid consistency, I added the brine. It's not as spicy as I thought it would be, but I think I did well for a second effort. Great color.

    I already got some ideas for the next batch and I plan on getting small bottles for Xmas gifting.
     
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