Get Started with Wild Fermenting
What is wild fermentation?
Very simply, it's fermentation that relies on the naturally occurring bacteria and yeast on food; rather than the addition of commercial yeast or cultures.
You’ll only need to a few things to get started:
mason jars with 2 part lids
Masontops Pickle Pipes
a tamper or wooden spoon
whole spices & herbs
a kitchen scale
a drip tray
Some other normal kitchen stuff: a good knife, a big bowl, smaller bowls etc...
My Top Tips:
1. Use the nicest produce you can. The fresher the better, and organic if possible. You don’t want any traces of preservatives or pesticides that would hinder the bacteria doing the fermenting.
2. Use good salt. Kosher and sea salt are perfect. Table salt, especially the iodized kind, will upset the process and lead to funny flavors.
3. Use only whole spices and herbs. They won’t spoil like dry powdered ones will.
4. Use filtered water if you can. Tap water has added chemicals that can kill good bacteria.
5. Check your temps. 65-75 degrees is where it’s at. Too cold and the fermentation won't have a chance to get started. Too hot and it’ll ferment too quickly and have the chance to grow other “stuff” as well.
6. Limit oxygen exposure. A pickle pipe or airlock will prevent air circulation, and a weight will keep your veggies fully submerged. Lactic acid bacteria are anaerobic - they thrive in a low or no oxygen environment.
7. Take notes! There’s nothing worse than tasting the perfect finished product and not knowing how you made it. Trust me.
"HELP! Something weird happened in the jar."
The brine got cloudy — Good! That’s the bacteria at work.
A white film has formed on the surface — Just skim it off. It’s called kahm yeast; not harmful, but not very appetizing.
My finished veggies are mushy and/or slimy — The temperature could have been too high. Or, the vegetables weren’t fresh enough. Or there wasn’t enough salt in the brine.
Nothing happened — The temperature was probably too cold, or you used too much salt.
It got moldy — Uh oh. A little mold is alright (if you’re alright with it), just scrape it off or discard the affected veggies. Make sure everything is fully submerged - oxygen lets mold grow. And if you’re unsure about the safety, or it smells bad (ferments should smell a little sour, but pleasant), throw the whole thing out and start over.