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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