Semi-Newbie Pickle Fermenter w/Storage & Brine Questions

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Semi-Newbie Pickle Fermenter w/Storage & Brine Questions

Postby Arlo26 on Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:57 pm

The last two years, I have fermented just a few jars of pickles. This year we grew our own cukes and I have been making pickles endlessly, the plants being much more prolific that I could've imagined. One big batch was fermented in an open ceramic crock, weighted and covered with a towel. I skimmed off the kahm yeast every few days although it probably should've been every day. They took longer to reach the desired stage than those fermented in jars, having gone through a long bitter phase. Once they tasted ok, I put them in a plastic tub with all its brine and into the fridge.
Now, ten days later, I checked on it and it's still getting kahm. Plus, not all pickles were fully submerged. My questions are:
- Once the room temp ferment is done and pickles are in fridge, do they still need to be completely submerged?
- Is it normal to keep getting kahm once refrigerated? There's not a ton of it, just a light layer on top, with brine being very cloudy (I read cloudy ok).
- Ideally I would have more fermented brine around from previous batches, but I don't (I gave some jars to friends). Can I make new 4% brine for this batch for this batch (and other batches)? How best to increase brine?
- It was not my plan to store in plastic tub (food grade, of course) but I ran out of options. Is it ok to store in plastic?
I clearly have a storage problem, not having anticipated so many cukes!
Thank you.
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:41 pm

Re: Semi-Newbie Pickle Fermenter w/Storage & Brine Question

Postby Christopher Weeks on Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:37 am

The fridge doesn't halt fermentation but slows it down very greatly. That applies to your cukes in brine, to the kahm growth, and also to pathogenic colonizers. So it's better to keep them under the brine, but it depends on time and temp. You could also stir the tray up twice a day so that different faces and different cukes are always poking out.

I wonder why your crock took longer than your jars. That makes it seem like you did something different -- stored in a different place, used more salt, different cukes...something?

Cloudy brine is expected and fine. I have ferments that grow kahm in the fridge, but I think not usually pickles. Chile paste is pretty bad about it.

I do just add brine sometimes but if you're adding a lot, I'd worry about loss of acidity.
Christopher Weeks
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