SURFACE MOLD ON SAUERKRAUT

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SURFACE MOLD ON SAUERKRAUT

Postby Denise on Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:56 pm

If mold is caused by spores, and the sauerkraut is fermented in a mason jar with tight fitting lid, where do the spores come from that sometimes cause surface mold?
Last edited by Denise on Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Surface Mold on Sauerkraut

Postby Tim Hall on Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:13 am

They're in the air EVERYWHERE...unless you have a good HEPA filter running. Even then there are likely mold spores on the surface of veggies and fruits.
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Re: Surface Mold on Sauerkraut

Postby Denise on Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:19 am

Thank you, Tim. I have learned so much already from this website.
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Re: Surface Mold on Sauerkraut

Postby Tim Hall on Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:47 pm

Denise, really the trick is to keep things clean (not sterile) and provide a frementing environment in which the good bugs will quickly out-compete the 'bad.' Sanitizing/sterilizing things is really overkill, and just to be clear, I'm not suggesting you get a HEPA filter.

Fungi (mold) needs lots of oxygen to grow, and most molds grow on the surface of things where oxygen is abundant. It might actually serve you well to stir your ferment once, after it gets started...this will submerge the [inevitable] mold spores where they can't get easy access to oxygen, where they're competing directly with good bacteria, preventing them from turning to mold, producing mycotoxins, making your kraut look like it needs a shave, etc.

All bacteria and fungi produce what are called, in scientific terminology, 'competetive factors.' Lactobacillus produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide that is lethal to mold spores. The faster the Lactobacillus takes hold, the less likely you'll have mold. And a perfectly sterile environment is not good for the bacteria, just like it's not good for the mold.
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Re: Surface Mold on Sauerkraut

Postby Denise on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:44 am

Thank you, again, Tim. I am understanding more how this fermentation process works.
Fermentation Blessings!
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Re: Surface Mold on Sauerkraut

Postby MarciGal on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:12 pm

Holy cow, Tim, THAT is one informative post! THANK YOU from this fermentation 'newb'! =)

Tim Hall wrote:Denise, really the trick is to keep things clean (not sterile) and provide a frementing environment in which the good bugs will quickly out-compete the 'bad.' Sanitizing/sterilizing things is really overkill, and just to be clear, I'm not suggesting you get a HEPA filter.

Fungi (mold) needs lots of oxygen to grow, and most molds grow on the surface of things where oxygen is abundant. It might actually serve you well to stir your ferment once, after it gets started...this will submerge the [inevitable] mold spores where they can't get easy access to oxygen, where they're competing directly with good bacteria, preventing them from turning to mold, producing mycotoxins, making your kraut look like it needs a shave, etc.

All bacteria and fungi produce what are called, in scientific terminology, 'competetive factors.' Lactobacillus produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide that is lethal to mold spores. The faster the Lactobacillus takes hold, the less likely you'll have mold. And a perfectly sterile environment is not good for the bacteria, just like it's not good for the mold.
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Re: SURFACE MOLD ON SAUERKRAUT

Postby Denise on Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:37 am

I agree with MarciGal. My fermentation has become so much easier applying Tim's advice. And so far, no mold!!!

In the case I would ever get mold, I now know, from this site, to simply skim it off. So simple.
Fermentation Blessings!
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Re: SURFACE MOLD ON SAUERKRAUT

Postby woollyprimate on Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:04 am

If I may revive an older thread...

I think I may be too worried about scum formation. I was concerned that even if I skimmed it off the top, I couldn't get it all, and some of it might get into my kraut or veggies, or as I pulled the kraut out of the jar, it would come in contact with some of it.

However, I realize that the ferment is inhospitable to mold, so it wouldn't be able to take hold and grow. And if I happened to ingest a bit of it, b/c I couldn't get it all skimmed off, how bad could it be? After all, the mold spores are on the surface of fruits and veggies. Take a bite of an apple, and you're probably eating mold spores, but they aren't in large amounts.

So, maybe I won't worry so much, but I'll still use my airlocks and cover my jars. :-)

When I was growing up, my dad made pickled corn quite a bit in buckets that he'd keep down in the cellar. I was going to try a piece until he told me he had to lift up an edge of the "carpet" to get at the corn.
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Re: SURFACE MOLD ON SAUERKRAUT

Postby Denise on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:55 pm

woolyprimate:

I recall my mother (born in 1916) telling me that when she was a little girl, her grandpa would make sauerkraut and leave it on the step (the steps that go down to the outside door). She would see that sauerkraut and want some. She would pull back the surface mold to make an opening for her hand to get into the crock, and reach in and grab a handful and pull it out. Yum, she said. She is not alive now, so I can't ask her any details. Seems like surface mold on sauerkraut is a normal thing.

I enjoyed reading your post with your logic about how safe the sauerkraut is, even with surface mold.
Fermentation Blessings!
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Re: SURFACE MOLD ON SAUERKRAUT

Postby KimAB on Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:43 pm

The only real mold I ever got was when I was trying to ferment in a plastic bucket. I've had a couple little suspicious looking dots on the top, but I picked them off and never really had a problem.

I think that the idea of mold has become so frightening to us (My generation) that we aren't willing to taste and decide anymore. My kimchi looked a little different a couple days ago with white spots on some of the veggies. It also smelled different, but not BAD. I gave it a taste and it was really good so I gave it a stir and put it in the fridge. I haven't gotten sick from it and if anyone would - it would be me. In fact I've never gotten sick from ANY fermented product.
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