What's up with cloudy brine?
Naturally fermented vegetables are extra delicious and full of healthy bacteria, which are a couple of reasons a lot of folks are seeking them out. Fermented pickles also usually have some sediment at the bottom and when it’s a bit stirred up, that results in cloudy brine, which is totally fine! First, it is important to understand the difference between vinegar pickles and fermented pickles. Vinegar pickles are made by using a certain concentration of vinegar along with heat to kill any bacteria (good and bad), make the cucumbers sour and to create a shelf stable product that is easier to store long term and ship very long distances. Naturally fermented pickles are made by pouring a saltwater brine over cucumbers and then giving the bacteria time to work their magic. Yep, that’s it! The Lactobacilli are naturally hanging around all over the place and once we create their preferred environment with the brine, they start to metabolize the sugars in the cucumbers into Lactic Acid which acidifies the brine, makes the cucumbers sour and delicious, and kills off any pathogens that might be lurking around.
Our large, centralized food system has favored vinegar pickles because of long term storability and transportability and so many folks have never tasted a fermented pickle! Well lucky you! OlyKraut pickles are here and they are delicious and you can order them right to your door.
In vinegar pickles, a cloudy brine is more concerning and may indicate spoilage or contamination, but in a fermented brine, that’s pretty standard and should be a clue that you are in for a treat. Lactobacilli are the bacteria responsible for fermenting a lot of vegetables. They are not really active until they find themselves in an anaerobic environment and they even like it a little bit salty. They break down carbohydrates and make Lactic Acid and Carbon Dioxide, which is where the “lacto” in the name comes from – some people wonder if there is milk involved in the process, and there is not - OlyKraut Sour Pickles, and Sauerkrauts for that matter, are dairy free! The production of Carbon Dioxide during fermentation is why you sometimes may find that when you open the lid on your pickles or kraut it hisses and maybe even bubbles up – that’s from the CO2 that has been generated inside the sealed container when slight temperature fluctuations reactivate those lactobacilli and they start to ferment again. In the case of fermented foods, those bubbles are proof that your jar has active cultures that will help you digest your food and fend off pathogens in your digestive tract.
Some of the bacteria in functional fermented foods also exist in our guts when we are healthy, and the populations keep going if you keep sending in the foods they like, usually fiber rich vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Some of them are only there for bit after we eat these foods but can help out a lot while they are there, which we think is an excellent excuse to eat a pickle a day.
If you want to try OlyKraut sour Pickles, head on down to a Farmers Market in Olympia or Tacoma or over to our webstore - Visit OlyKraut.com!/