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Oct 21 2014

Mold in Pickled Peppers

Moldy pickled peppers side by side

I have mold in my pickled peppers! Surprisingly, I was actually very excited about this turn of events because I got to break out my camera’s macro lens accessories and get some pictures to see what’s going on up close.

I go over this and follow up in Episode 11 – Listener Feedback, Cashew Cheese, Mold, & Food Safety (Have a listen!) and my post Five Questions on Mold and Food Safety.

Moldy pickled pepper jars

I looked in the second fridge and noticed what appeared to be colors other than the pale yellowish-green that I’m used to seeing with my pickled peppers.

Since I’m documenting all of my wins & fails in fermentation, I’ll occasionally make posts like this showing what can happen to a ferment when it gets mold, what it looks like, and what my verdict for what I did myself was:

What’s the verdict?

Do I scrape it off and eat the batch anyways?

Or do I follow of the golden rule: “When in doubt throw it out.”

Young mold on pickled peppers

You can see the mold above is a slightly younger that was just beginning to form and still had white areas that were beginning to turn green.

Old mold on pickled peppers

This mold was a bit older and more mature, forming more of a solid carpet on the entire surface and all dark green.

I’ve pickled jalepeno peppers quite a few times over the years in the same exact manner with the small jelly jar inside the larger quart jar. The strange thing is that I’ve NEVER had mold yet from any batches of pickled peppers and this is the first one to grow some of this fuzzy stuff (not harmless kahm yeast, but actual fuzzy mold) and not in just one jar, BOTH!

This actually leads me to believe that either:

  • I didn’t ferment it long enough (which I don’t think is the case because it was fermented the same amount of days at the same normal temperature as always)
  • Or, that this batch was possibly susceptible to begin with

I can tell you to start with that one of these jars in the past month actually did have a tiny bit of mold that was less than the size of a dime and I just scraped it off. If it’s a small amount, for myself, I’m not that worried about a tiny bit of mold, so sometimes I do just skim it off and go on with my life.

But for an occurrence like the one you see above off with the amount of mold that was on it, drum roll please!

Moldy pickled peppers outside

VERDICT: Feed the moldy peppers to my banana trees as compost!

Pickled peppers compost

Pickled peppers compost bananas

Now it’s very possible that Sandor Katz would say that this is still safe to eat, and that might possibly be true, but my personal comfort level told me to just throw the whole thing out.

It does bring up the interesting question to begin with though of why would this batch get moldy and not any of the others? And also, why did both jars get it? Maybe the mold spores already existed on these peppers and they just had a higher likelihood. In any case, I’ll be making a post coming up about mold and food safety and what my personal habits are.

The advice I’d always tell all my listeners and readers though is, you have a responsibility to figure out what comfort level you have when it comes to mold, and if you feel you have a doubt, don’t hesitate to throw it out!

You can always make another batch and tomorrow holds a whole new set of fermenting possibilities.

In any case, I have one happy bunch of bananas!

Happy banana bunch

I’ll have an upcoming post on mold and food safety and if you thought these pictures were up close and personal with our fuzzy nemesis, you haven’t seen anything yet!

1 ping

  1. Five Questions on Mold and Food Safety | The Fermentation Podcast

    […] « Mold in Pickled Peppers […]

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