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Garlic Dilly Beans from leftover pickle brine?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:43 am
by dciolek
16 days later, my first batch of fermented garlic dill pickles are full sour stage and ready to come out of the barrel and into jars for the fridge. pH settled around 3.1 -- with no traces of mold, yeast or other scummy stuff ever finding its way into the batch. Taste test says crunchy and tangy and MORE PLEASE! :)
Finished at 16 days Small.jpg
Finished at 16 days Small.jpg (200.3 KiB) Viewed 1324 times

My CSA says they are well stocked with fresh picked green beans -- so I wonder if reserving the garlic, dill and seeds with watever brine is left over from filling jars would be a good way to inoculate a large batch of green beans? Add whatever new 5% salted brine is necessary to submerge them and it probably gets a faster start with all the active LABs left over from prior batch?

I know that salt level dropped in the prior brine due to water coming out of the cucumbers -- but as long as the ratio is maybe 4:1 new to old brine the starting salt level for the beans should be safe.

Anyone try to reuse brine from cucumbers to beans?

Re: Garlic Dilly Beans from leftover pickle brine?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:15 am
by RobertN
Congratulations to you garlic-dill gherkins!
I would not reuse the brine from that pickles because the microbial community is unique in each pickle (I would say even for two batches of the same pickle, depending on the time of the year, the pickling vessel, the aerial microbes, etc.).
If you reuse the brine, the microbial community from the gherkins will be attached to the beans. No one can say what will happen.
Fermentation processes are also not linear. To different time points, a different microbe species will dominate. If you add your old brine with a certain microbe species already dominant, you will skip some potentially important steps in development of a stable microbial community.
For example sauerkraut: if you reuse our brine from an older batch of sauerkraut, the fermentation process is disturbed. Leuconostoc mesenteroides is the first species to be growing in the sauerkraut. After the first few days the lactic acid concentration rises and restricts the continued growth of Leuconostoc mesenteroides. The environment surrenders to the control of Lactobacillus plantarum- an acid loving bacterium.
If you add old brine, mostly L. plantarum will live there and an important step in sauerkraut fermentation is skipped.

In short - I would recommend to use fresh brine for your dilly beans.

Hope this helps -


Re: Garlic Dilly Beans from leftover pickle brine?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:15 pm
by dciolek
Ok, I think I can follow that logic. Although it seems that I have read a lot about at least innoculating new ferments with prior batches -- so I can't see why draining all the liquid and replacing with fresh brine, but keeping all the garlic and dill and seeds in there would be too hurtful. There would still be a lot of LABs clinging to those items, but they would be highly diluted by fresh brine and a higher pH than is favorable for them.

The real reason is laziness, I'd hate to clean another 120 cloves of garlic. :D

But maybe I should just remove all that too and can the garlic separate and throw away the spent dill and spices.

Re: Garlic Dilly Beans from leftover pickle brine?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:04 pm
by RobertN
If you want to use your brine after you eaten up all gherkins you can use it for cooking or salad seasoning. I like to use my brine in salad dressing instead of vinegar + salt. The brine is sour and salty so that’s a very good replacement for vinegar. Plus it has lots of LAB‘s!
I am sure you find many more usages for your leftover brine.
Some people drink it pure, but 5% sodium chloride is too much for my taste :D


Re: Garlic Dilly Beans from leftover pickle brine?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:21 am
by dciolek
It sounds like a great idea in salad dressing. What ratio of brine to oil is typical to get a good emulsion and still have the tangy vinegar flavor apparent?

I typically use 3 to 1 to 1/3 (oil to vinegar to Dijon mustard) to get a strong emulsion. I start that with a stick blender and use it straight as a thick marinade or thin it down with up to another part water/juice to make it pour easily from a salad cruet.

A little math says that vinegar at the typical 5% acetic acid strength which starts at about 2.4 pH is still just 2.55 pH when diluted by half. With the pickle brine finishing up at a pH between 3.0 and 3.1, I would need to dilute regular vinegar with water down to 1 part in 20 to equal the acetic acid concentration in the pickle brine!

So I don't think that math is going to help with the recipe formulation here. Might have to resort to trial and error on the mix ratio unless there are some good recipes to follow that work well. About 1:1 oil to brine sounds like as good a place to start as any (I have lots to use up). :D

Re: Garlic Dilly Beans from leftover pickle brine?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:39 pm
by dciolek
The quarter bushel of dilly beans and about 60 banana peppers that I mixed together for the ferment are about a week shy of being ready to leave the primary fermentation and find a jar in a fridge somewhere.

While a quick sample early on says they are on track -- I have had to fight recurring Kahm yeast problems with this batch (have removed the layer every 3-4 days).

I hypothesize that using only 4 gallons height of a 10 gallon fermentation vessel didn't help with all the extra air in there. Am also guessing the reuse of the previous pickle ferment's spices, garlic and dill didn't help in the end either. The ferment started really fast and furious (allowing a couple of beans to blow past the plate holding them below the brine). Those probably started the Kahm and sported a little bit of mold that was easy to remove.

Dealing with those extra problems -- especially the kahm yeast wasn't worth the short cut. The new salt brine was still 5%, so either beans and peppers are slower to get to the safety zone (even with the innoculation help from the prior batch) -- or not starting over from scratch is a hit or miss proposition.

Since cleaning up the stray beans and mold, the beans and peppers are held below a plate at least an inch below the water line (and the recurrent kahm yeast) so I am hoping that no off flavors develop.