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What’s that Stuff Covering My Pickles?!

 

Sediment on Pickles

A very common question I get asked and one I see on many ferment groups on Facebook is, “What is this stuff covering my pickles? Is it mold and do I need to throw them?”

No!!! Don’t throw them! It’s not mold. Mold needs oxygen to grow (which is why you see it on the outside of foods and not on the inside). If it’s under the brine, it ain’t mold.

Sediment on Pickles

So what it is? It’s yeast. Yeast is a natural part of a ferment and it will settle on the pickles and the bottom of the jar. It’s actually a good sign that your ferment is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Yeast is microscopic but when enough of it gathers in one place, we can see it as a sediment. If you see a white sediment on your pickles, it worked!

If it bugs you, makes you squeamish, wipe it down, rinse it off, and enjoy.


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9 comments to What’s that Stuff Covering My Pickles?!

  • Stephen Eck

    Thank you for the information. I was wondering about that white stuff, I read somewhere it was the stuff they put in salt to keep it from caking and to buy the special pink salt. I have been using koser and pickeling salt,seemed to work.

    • Yes, regular store bought white salt has an additive that will settle as sediment on the bottom but it’s just a little bit and wouldn’t coat your veggies like the yeast does and you see it right away. I use either pink Himalayan salt or pickling salt, so no additive sediment, just yeast sediment.

  • Organic Girl

    Helpful post! Can you tell me if fermented pickles are better not consumed for people with candida problems, due to the yeast?

  • Scott

    There is another growth that I have been wondering about. After a jar has been opened and is sitting half full for a while a white layer can form on top. I have always thought it was yeast but have no way of knowing. Is there a test I can do or characteristics to look for to determine what it is?

    • That’s actually a post I have scheduled for next week. It would be mean of me to make you wait that long for answer so I’ll just tell you now 🙂 From your description, it sounds like kahm yeast which is perfectly harmless. I’ll have pictures with the post so you can compare, but for now, kahm forms a thin layer, is kind of powdery and white. Mold tends to form in small circles on the surface, is fuzzy, and can be all sorts of colors.

      • Scott

        Thanks Melanie. That’s good news. I’ll avoid molds like I avoid unknown mushrooms but yeasts seem to be OK. Looking forward to your next article.

  • Cay

    I just fermented 3 gallons of sauerkraut for 20 days. The kraut is crisp, sour, and delsh. The brine was just slightly pinkish at the bottom. I heard this is a bad kind of yeast. Is that true?

  • Robert

    Hei!
    I saw somewhere a comment where you said you tried to ferment fish. Do you know anything about how to ferment cod liver?

    In Norway we make something called Tran out of Cod liver, however the one I buy in the shop is heated, and I want to try to ferment it instead.

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