Second Opinion on Moringa, Jalapeño, and Onion Ferments

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Second Opinion on Moringa, Jalapeño, and Onion Ferments

Postby agines19 on Mon Dec 26, 2022 2:24 pm

Hello everyone! I'm new to fermenting and trying my best to learn. I would like a second opinion on some of my ferments if you are able to provide some input on what may be occuring I would greatly appreciate it.

I shot quick videos to show what I am observing. Last video is pH tests for all.




pH Tests
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Re: Second Opinion on Moringa, Jalapeño, and Onion Ferments

Postby Christopher Weeks on Tue Dec 27, 2022 7:41 am

Hi Anthony,

The growth on your Moringa looks like mold to me. Anything that floats to the surface will act as an anchorhead for mold spores to establish a colony. Fifteen years ago, it was pretty common to find people telling you to just get that out with a spoon, prevent future floaters, and maybe wash the insides of the jar above your brine with vinegar, and keep going. Because that's what was done historically and people didn't get sick. I do that sometimes. Currently, a lot of people will tell you that if there's any visible mold, then it has reached down through the entire jar and contaminated it all -- to do anything other than throwing it out is to risk death. I'm not sure if they have the science on their side or what. I know that I've eaten stuff that previously had mold and didn't get sick, but I can't be sure that trace chemicals that might lead to nervous damage or cancer weren't there. You have to decide for yourself what your level of risk-aversion is.

That's totally kahm on your jalapeños. It might throw flavors you don't like, but everyone seems to agree that it's harmless. I've seen the pellicle grow thick and waxy in exceptionally long ferments and then that provides a platform that mold can inhabit, so it's maybe not literally harmless, but nearly so.

I don't know what's going on with your first onions, but I'm put off by the matt of bubbles. I'm leaning toward composting it, but I'd also smell it to see what I thought. The pH that you have for it also suggests that normal lacto-fermentative processes are not happening as expected. Probably the second one is fine, but keep an eye out.

Also, with a lot of things going wrong, if you catch it early enough, you can remediate a lot just by scooping or decanting nasty stuff off the surface. A lot of the microbiology that we're harnessing is sort of a statistics problem. We don't mind that mold spores exist (because they exist everywhere), we just want to provide an environment they find hostile (salty and acidic). I'm not clear what your ferments look like when you're not filming them, but you might do well to rubber-band some cheesecloth over the top of the jars to keep large particles and bugs out. And many folks would suggest an airlock of some kind. I particularly like fermenting in Fido jars and using the rubber gasket as a lock.

I don't pH test, so I don't really have anything specific to say about that, but it seems like your intuition that the one jar that isn't acidifying with the others should be tossed is sound.
Christopher Weeks
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Re: Second Opinion on Moringa, Jalapeño, and Onion Ferments

Postby agines19 on Wed Dec 28, 2022 1:48 pm


Thank you for the reply. I really appreciate the detail.

I did end up composting the moringa and 1st jar of onions.

As for the jalapeños, the yeast does seem to have altered the flavor. Kinda milky taste.

Will try to start checking my ferments daily. Sort of forgot about them for the 5 days and got a nice surprise although good learning moments. Also, I have been just keeping them open, but it would seem prudent to cap them :). Thanks again for the confirmation and tips!!
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