Preserving (rec.food.preserving) Devoted to the discussion of recipes, equipment, and techniques of food preservation. Techniques that should be discussed in this forum include canning, freezing, dehydration, pickling, smoking, salting, and distilling.

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Old 21-07-2004, 02:20 PM
The Joneses
 
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Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

I am attempting my first batch of fermented pickles and am not sure if
I have a problem or not.

I am a wine and beer maker and am used to seeing at least some
bubbling as a byproduct of fermentation. If that's happening, I am
missing it.

I followed the guidelines on the USDA website since that seems to be
what most state extension agents refer to. I used pickling salt, the
only deviation from the USDA gudlines was addition of at least twice
the amount of garlic they suggested.

These have been fermenting for slightly over two weeks at around 70F
under a towel, I check each day and remove any mold that forms on the
pickling liquid.

The cucumbers are at least two inches under the liquid. I tasted one
last week, I got mostly salt from it. Good, but not exactly a pickle.
This weeks sample may have been closer to a pickle, but I have no
experience here and want to ensure I am making food, not something
else... They look like pickles and are firm.

My question is this:

Should I see signs of active fementation, like bubbles? If so, and am
not seeing them is there anything I should do or should I pitch these
and try again? It's a 5 gallon batch, I had a LOT of cucumbers.

I can pull a sample and check the amount of acid and pH of the liquid,
but have no guideline as to expected values. If I should do that any
advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance and best regards,
Joe


My sympathies - my fermented pickles didn't do well at all. How do you
check the pH? I bought a soil tester, but it registered 5% vinegar at
6.5. Obviously not calibrated or something. Where did you get your testing
supplies?
Edrena




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Old 21-07-2004, 02:20 PM
The Joneses
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

I am attempting my first batch of fermented pickles and am not sure if
I have a problem or not.

I am a wine and beer maker and am used to seeing at least some
bubbling as a byproduct of fermentation. If that's happening, I am
missing it.

I followed the guidelines on the USDA website since that seems to be
what most state extension agents refer to. I used pickling salt, the
only deviation from the USDA gudlines was addition of at least twice
the amount of garlic they suggested.

These have been fermenting for slightly over two weeks at around 70F
under a towel, I check each day and remove any mold that forms on the
pickling liquid.

The cucumbers are at least two inches under the liquid. I tasted one
last week, I got mostly salt from it. Good, but not exactly a pickle.
This weeks sample may have been closer to a pickle, but I have no
experience here and want to ensure I am making food, not something
else... They look like pickles and are firm.

My question is this:

Should I see signs of active fementation, like bubbles? If so, and am
not seeing them is there anything I should do or should I pitch these
and try again? It's a 5 gallon batch, I had a LOT of cucumbers.

I can pull a sample and check the amount of acid and pH of the liquid,
but have no guideline as to expected values. If I should do that any
advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance and best regards,
Joe


My sympathies - my fermented pickles didn't do well at all. How do you
check the pH? I bought a soil tester, but it registered 5% vinegar at
6.5. Obviously not calibrated or something. Where did you get your testing
supplies?
Edrena



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Old 21-07-2004, 02:35 PM
Ross Reid
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

(Joe Sallustio) wrote:

I am attempting my first batch of fermented pickles and am not sure if
I have a problem or not.

I am a wine and beer maker and am used to seeing at least some
bubbling as a byproduct of fermentation. If that's happening, I am
missing it.

I followed the guidelines on the USDA website since that seems to be
what most state extension agents refer to. I used pickling salt, the
only deviation from the USDA gudlines was addition of at least twice
the amount of garlic they suggested.

These have been fermenting for slightly over two weeks at around 70F
under a towel, I check each day and remove any mold that forms on the
pickling liquid.

The cucumbers are at least two inches under the liquid. I tasted one
last week, I got mostly salt from it. Good, but not exactly a pickle.
This weeks sample may have been closer to a pickle, but I have no
experience here and want to ensure I am making food, not something
else... They look like pickles and are firm.

My question is this:

Should I see signs of active fementation, like bubbles? If so, and am
not seeing them is there anything I should do or should I pitch these
and try again? It's a 5 gallon batch, I had a LOT of cucumbers.

I can pull a sample and check the amount of acid and pH of the liquid,
but have no guideline as to expected values. If I should do that any
advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance and best regards,
Joe


Sounds like everything is going along as it should.
With your wine and beer making, primary fermentation is via yeast and
is normally over in less than a week so, you see lots of activity and
bubbles.
With pickles and sauerkraut, the fermentation is mainly via bacteria
and takes upwards of 4 to 6 weeks so, there is not really any sign of
an active fermentation.
To paraphrase Charlie Papazian: RDWHAHP (Relax Don't Worry Have A
Homemade Pickle).

Ross.
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Old 21-07-2004, 05:59 PM
Brian Mailman
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Ross Reid wrote:

With pickles and sauerkraut, the fermentation is mainly via bacteria
and takes upwards of 4 to 6 weeks so, there is not really any sign of
an active fermentation.


Hmmm... I dunno. My sours start in at about 3 days, and no longer than
a week.

Joe, post your recipe--you may have too much or too little salt (should
be a scant tablespoon of coars/kosher salt per cup of water.

Also, reserve a few tablespoons of the brine for the next batch as a
starter.

B/
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Old 21-07-2004, 05:59 PM
Brian Mailman
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Ross Reid wrote:

With pickles and sauerkraut, the fermentation is mainly via bacteria
and takes upwards of 4 to 6 weeks so, there is not really any sign of
an active fermentation.


Hmmm... I dunno. My sours start in at about 3 days, and no longer than
a week.

Joe, post your recipe--you may have too much or too little salt (should
be a scant tablespoon of coars/kosher salt per cup of water.

Also, reserve a few tablespoons of the brine for the next batch as a
starter.

B/


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Old 21-07-2004, 09:18 PM
Ross Reid
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Brian Mailman wrote:

Ross Reid wrote:

With pickles and sauerkraut, the fermentation is mainly via bacteria
and takes upwards of 4 to 6 weeks so, there is not really any sign of
an active fermentation.


Hmmm... I dunno. My sours start in at about 3 days, and no longer than
a week.


Do you mean your fermented pickles start to ferment in no longer than
a week, or that they finish in no longer than a week?
I've been making fermented dills and sauerkraut for well over 20 years
and I've never had either dills or kraut finish in as short a time as
a week or even less. I try to keep the ambient temperature in the
fermentation area at ~68-70F and fermentation runs the above noted 4
to 6 weeks.
The OP said:
Quote
I am attempting my first batch of fermented pickles and am not sure if
I have a problem or not.
I am a wine and beer maker and am used to seeing at least some
bubbling as a byproduct of fermentation. If that's happening, I am
missing it.
My question is this:
Should I see signs of active fermentation, like bubbles? If so, and am
not seeing them is there anything I should do or should I pitch these
and try again? It's a 5 gallon batch, I had a LOT of cucumbers.
Unquote

Although I only started making pickles and sauerkraut some twenty odd
years ago, I've been a home brewer and wine maker since 1968 and I
know that making pickles or sauerkraut does not produce anything
remotely resembling an active wine or beer primary fermentation.
My post was in answer to the OP's original question.

Ross.
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Old 21-07-2004, 09:18 PM
Ross Reid
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Brian Mailman wrote:

Ross Reid wrote:

With pickles and sauerkraut, the fermentation is mainly via bacteria
and takes upwards of 4 to 6 weeks so, there is not really any sign of
an active fermentation.


Hmmm... I dunno. My sours start in at about 3 days, and no longer than
a week.


Do you mean your fermented pickles start to ferment in no longer than
a week, or that they finish in no longer than a week?
I've been making fermented dills and sauerkraut for well over 20 years
and I've never had either dills or kraut finish in as short a time as
a week or even less. I try to keep the ambient temperature in the
fermentation area at ~68-70F and fermentation runs the above noted 4
to 6 weeks.
The OP said:
Quote
I am attempting my first batch of fermented pickles and am not sure if
I have a problem or not.
I am a wine and beer maker and am used to seeing at least some
bubbling as a byproduct of fermentation. If that's happening, I am
missing it.
My question is this:
Should I see signs of active fermentation, like bubbles? If so, and am
not seeing them is there anything I should do or should I pitch these
and try again? It's a 5 gallon batch, I had a LOT of cucumbers.
Unquote

Although I only started making pickles and sauerkraut some twenty odd
years ago, I've been a home brewer and wine maker since 1968 and I
know that making pickles or sauerkraut does not produce anything
remotely resembling an active wine or beer primary fermentation.
My post was in answer to the OP's original question.

Ross.
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Old 22-07-2004, 02:42 AM
The Joneses
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

Edrena,
I have a pH meter and can titrate the acid, I use the equipment for
measurements in winemaking.

pH and percent acid are not related very well, pH is a log measurement
where that percent value is a linear function. I would expect it to
read below 7 which is not an acid or a base, 6.5 makes sense. A pH of
5 is 10 times 'stronger' than a pH of 6.
I can email you a pH meter FAQ from rec.crafts.winemaking if you would
like. It applies to meters in general and explains what you need to
do the measurements and how to calibrate the meter. A decent meter is
around $50 to $80 (US), you need calibration supplies too, that can
vary from $15 to $30.
I think titration equipmnet is what you you want, you can buy that at
a local winemaking shop for around $10. It measures in a linear
value. The stuff in winemaking shops is really not intended to
measure acid that high; 5% is about 5 to 10 times more than wine
normally is. It would work but it may need a fudge factor for the
type of acid. Vinegar is acetic acid, wines in the US are expressed as
tartaric.
Grainger.com is all over the US and Canada and has decent meters at a
decent price.


Yeehaw. That's a lot of info. I flunked chemistry about thirty years ago so
some of them words is patently not English I did stop by a scientifc
supplier here in town who would order me a handheld meter for about $80US. I
bought a package of ph test strips instead.
I'd like to see that winemaking FAQ ( I got a book around here sumplace), just
to figger out the difference between titration and linears and stuff.
Many thanks,
Edrena


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Old 22-07-2004, 02:42 AM
The Joneses
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

Edrena,
I have a pH meter and can titrate the acid, I use the equipment for
measurements in winemaking.

pH and percent acid are not related very well, pH is a log measurement
where that percent value is a linear function. I would expect it to
read below 7 which is not an acid or a base, 6.5 makes sense. A pH of
5 is 10 times 'stronger' than a pH of 6.
I can email you a pH meter FAQ from rec.crafts.winemaking if you would
like. It applies to meters in general and explains what you need to
do the measurements and how to calibrate the meter. A decent meter is
around $50 to $80 (US), you need calibration supplies too, that can
vary from $15 to $30.
I think titration equipmnet is what you you want, you can buy that at
a local winemaking shop for around $10. It measures in a linear
value. The stuff in winemaking shops is really not intended to
measure acid that high; 5% is about 5 to 10 times more than wine
normally is. It would work but it may need a fudge factor for the
type of acid. Vinegar is acetic acid, wines in the US are expressed as
tartaric.
Grainger.com is all over the US and Canada and has decent meters at a
decent price.


Yeehaw. That's a lot of info. I flunked chemistry about thirty years ago so
some of them words is patently not English I did stop by a scientifc
supplier here in town who would order me a handheld meter for about $80US. I
bought a package of ph test strips instead.
I'd like to see that winemaking FAQ ( I got a book around here sumplace), just
to figger out the difference between titration and linears and stuff.
Many thanks,
Edrena


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Old 22-07-2004, 03:02 AM
Reg
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

I can email you a pH meter FAQ from rec.crafts.winemaking if you would
like. It applies to meters in general and explains what you need to
do the measurements and how to calibrate the meter. A decent meter is
around $50 to $80 (US), you need calibration supplies too, that can
vary from $15 to $30.


Hi Joe,

Is it possible to post that FAQ to this group? It looks like
a few people here might like to see it, including myself.

Thanks!

--
Reg email: RegForte (at) (that free MS email service) (dot) com



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Old 22-07-2004, 03:02 AM
Reg
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

I can email you a pH meter FAQ from rec.crafts.winemaking if you would
like. It applies to meters in general and explains what you need to
do the measurements and how to calibrate the meter. A decent meter is
around $50 to $80 (US), you need calibration supplies too, that can
vary from $15 to $30.


Hi Joe,

Is it possible to post that FAQ to this group? It looks like
a few people here might like to see it, including myself.

Thanks!

--
Reg email: RegForte (at) (that free MS email service) (dot) com

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Old 22-07-2004, 06:36 PM
Brian Mailman
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Ross Reid wrote:

Brian Mailman wrote:

Ross Reid wrote:

With pickles and sauerkraut, the fermentation is mainly via bacteria
and takes upwards of 4 to 6 weeks so, there is not really any sign of
an active fermentation.


Hmmm... I dunno. My sours start in at about 3 days, and no longer than
a week.


Do you mean your fermented pickles start to ferment in no longer than
a week, or that they finish in no longer than a week?


Yes, and possibly both depending on the weather.

I've been making fermented dills and sauerkraut for well over 20 years
and I've never had either dills or kraut finish in as short a time as
a week or even less.


Perhaps we're speaking of two different fermentation processes?
Salt-brined pickles never take more than 3 days to begin bubbling for
me.

Although I only started making pickles and sauerkraut some twenty odd
years ago,


Not important, my g'ma said to me almost 45-50 years ago that it's one
of those things that if you do correctly once is all you need.

B/
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Old 22-07-2004, 06:46 PM
Brian Mailman
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

Brian,
I used:

24 pounds of pickling cucumbers
3 cups pickling salt (Morton)
1.5 cups 5% distilled vinegar



Erf, can't help you on this. I've never fermented pickles with vinegar
added so since I have no experience with that I can't say what the
difficulty is. I've seen recipes where one adds it for storage after
fermentation, though, even though even if I've not tried that, either.

Does any of this look way off kilter to you? Assuming 1 tbs salt is
1/2 ounce I may be ok from your values. I wonder if I used 2 gallons
of water instead of 3?


Lessee... 3 gallons is 48 cups, so that's 48 tbsp of salt, minus a
couple for "scant" maybe. Let's say 45 for a guestimate. So that's
roughly 24-25 ounces (giving 1/2 ounce per tablespoon) and that's the
three cups. That part's fine.

I dunno. Like I said, I'm not familiar with fermenting cukes in vinegar
(I make B&B pickles but those are processed in a vinegar brine, not
fermented) so I await to hear what those with greater experience with
that.

B/
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Old 22-07-2004, 06:46 PM
Brian Mailman
 
Posts: n/a
Default Fermented Pickle Problem?

Joe Sallustio wrote:

Brian,
I used:

24 pounds of pickling cucumbers
3 cups pickling salt (Morton)
1.5 cups 5% distilled vinegar



Erf, can't help you on this. I've never fermented pickles with vinegar
added so since I have no experience with that I can't say what the
difficulty is. I've seen recipes where one adds it for storage after
fermentation, though, even though even if I've not tried that, either.

Does any of this look way off kilter to you? Assuming 1 tbs salt is
1/2 ounce I may be ok from your values. I wonder if I used 2 gallons
of water instead of 3?


Lessee... 3 gallons is 48 cups, so that's 48 tbsp of salt, minus a
couple for "scant" maybe. Let's say 45 for a guestimate. So that's
roughly 24-25 ounces (giving 1/2 ounce per tablespoon) and that's the
three cups. That part's fine.

I dunno. Like I said, I'm not familiar with fermenting cukes in vinegar
(I make B&B pickles but those are processed in a vinegar brine, not
fermented) so I await to hear what those with greater experience with
that.

B/


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