Replacing a vegetable topper on fermented pickles

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Replacing a vegetable topper on fermented pickles

Postby rettaa on Thu Feb 11, 2021 5:34 pm

I pickled my first batches of cucumbers, and they worked OK. One jar of sliced cucumbers and one of whole cucumbers. We're not generally-speaking pickle eaters, but in the face of a bumper crop, could only face so many salads! So, as far as the taste-test goes, they seemed OK, looked OK and smelled OK.
After I had had them in the fridge for a while I checked and found a bit of white mould growing on the vine leaves I was using as a topper to keep them under the brine.
Being over confident by this stage, I replaced the leaves with some freshly picked vine leaves without washing them first. It had been raining, so I figured they were clean.
Afterwards I worried that I may have introduced bad bacteria (bird droppings, etc.) into the batch which was now in the fridge, so no longer actively fermenting.
If I have done a bad thing, would I be able to tell by smelling them after a while, or would it be best to just cut my losses and try again next year?
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Re: Replacing a vegetable topper on fermented pickles

Postby Christopher Weeks on Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:23 am

I suspect you're just fine. As far as I know, most of the counter-pathogenic effect is caused by the environment made hostile, with salt at first and lactic acid later on. So even if there was a little bit of something nasty on the leaves, it doesn't require active fermentation. You put them into an environment where the nasties can't thrive. I would, however, make sure the leaves are submerged.
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