THE FOOD SPOILS EVEN AFTER FERMENTATION SEEMS TO HAVE BEGUN, OR FERMENTATION NEVER BEGINS.
If your ferment hasn’t begun to ferment after 1 to 3 days at room temperature (between 60 and 85°F), you may have to compost it and start again.
The batch should be thrown out if the food smells terrible (fermented food should have a faint sour scent, not a rotting one), or if there are threads of hazy muck in the liquid. Keep in mind that mold is not always a cause to stop fermenting (see below).
Adjusting the salt content in accordance with the surrounding temperature and/or adding a live culture starter made from whey (such as that from strained yogurt; see the Dairy chapter) may both help avoid both a non-starting ferment and a spoilt one.
YOUR FERMENTS HAVE SCUM ON TOP OF THEM.
Any scum that develops on top of ferments is innocuous and may be easily skimmed away, provided that all the indicators of a healthy fermentation have happened or are happening (non-moldy, foamy bubbling, and a clean, faintly sour scent).
The top layer of the fermented food may also be easily removed: Usually, what is underneath is in flawless shape.
After boiling water bath or pressure canning, a canning jar may not seal for four basic reasons.
either a pressure can or a water bath.
The first is filling the jars to the top. A good vacuum seal won’t form if you don’t leave enough head space, which is the distance between the food’s surface and the jar’s rim, as instructed in the recipe.
If the recipe’s directions don’t mention how much head space to leave, a suitable all-purpose distance to utilize is between 12 and 34 inches. It is simple to measure since it is also the distance between the jar’s rim and the ridges just under its screwband part.
The presence of food or liquid on the jar’s rim is the second factor that might prevent a jar from sealing.
This may hinder the adhesive ring’s ability to adhere to the bottom of the lid. Always clean the jar rims after filling them with the food you are canning in order to avoid this occurring. Use a paper towel or a clean, wet cloth.
The canning lid being faulty is the third cause of a jar failing to seal. Though it is uncommon, this may occur with new lids. You most likely used a canning lid twice. The screw-on ring of two-piece lids may be reused, but not the center disk.
Single-piece lids should never be used again. The adhesive ring may have been worn out from past usage or there may be a little bend or depression that prevents a seal.
The smallest chip or fracture in the jar’s rim is the final possible explanation for why it could not seal. Before using, always give each jar a close inspection; discard any with chips or cracks. This is particularly true for jars that you have used repeatedly or that you bought used at a yard sale or charity store.
A JAR THAT DIDN’T SEAL: WHAT TO DO
When you removed the jars from the canner, all except one had sealed as they cooled. What do you do with the jar that isn’t sealed? You are given two choices. The first is to just put it in the fridge right away and consume the contents within a week. Reprocessing the jar with a new lid is the second option.
To do this, you must first empty the jar, reheat the meal till boiling, clean the jar, and then re-fill it with the ingredients. Before reprocessing in a boiling water bath or pressure canner as directed by the recipe, be sure to allow enough head space, clean the jar rim, and apply a new cover.
Remember that food loses nutritional value as well as texture and flavor quality when it is heated more than once.
Only jars that were recently canned may be handled in one of these two ways with an open jar. A completely different situation arises if a jar was initially sealed but is no longer so when you remove it from the shelf weeks or months later.
It is no longer sealed when you take it off the shelf weeks or months later. Tossing the meal is the best course of action in this situation.
DURING PROCESSING, A JAR BREAK
When you open the canner, you see food and shattered glass floating in the boiling water. Or maybe everything seems to be in order until you reach in with your jar lifter to remove one and the whole bottom of the jar falls out. No fun.
The three potential causes of what went wrong are listed below, along with advice on how to avoid a recurrence occurrence.
The jar’s most probable offender is a hairline crack that you missed when you took it out for your canning endeavor. As I said in the remarks about using unsealed jars above, always check jars to make sure they don’t have any chips or cracks before using them.
Another risk is an abrupt change in temperature.
Even though canning jars are made to handle high heat, they may shatter if you pour boiling-hot food into them while they are cold, if the jar and the food within it are hot but the water in the canner is cold, or if there is any other fast change from hot to cold (or vice versa).
The majority of the time, you won’t see this little hairline fracture until the jar cracks during processing. Always heat empty jars with hot water until they are warm, then empty the jars and add hot food. Before putting the hot food jars to the canner, make sure the water is similarly hot.
The fact that you didn’t place a rack or cloth in the bottom of the canner before inserting the jars is a final factor that might cause jars to shatter during boiling water bath or pressure canning.
As a result of the glass jars’ tendency to bounce about during processing, you need to put a barrier between their bottoms and the canner’s metal bottom and the heat source situated right underneath it. This won’t be a problem if you follow the canning directions in this book.
FRUIT FLOATS AND COLOR CHANGES
The tomatoes separated from their juices and are now floating above an unpleasant watery layer, the peaches floated up out of their canning syrup, and the harvested green beans ascended out of their brine.
These jars are all unattractive.
The fruit or vegetable pieces that rose above their canning liquid into the headspace under the cover run the risk of becoming brown, which is much worse. Yuck.
The food within is now safe to consume assuming it was prepared as directed and the jars were properly sealed.
Even so, after the color has faded or the solids have separated from the liquids (it’s true that we eat with our eyes first! ), it doesn’t seem very appetizing. The first step in avoiding these issues is to stop the fruits or vegetables from rising above the canning liquid.
just prevent the produce from rising above the canning liquid.
Many components have a propensity to turn brown once removed from the canning liquid.
When dealing with reasonably lengthy food items that you want to stack vertically in the jars, such green beans, carrot spears, or cucumbers, the first technique works well. Make careful to securely pack the food. really closely:
Push the pieces in until there is no longer any place for even one more. This is crucial for dishes like pickles, which begin with raw veggies in the jars: Throughout the canning process, they will slightly contract.
This brings us immediately to the second way to prevent float and discoloration, which is to avoid packing food for canning fresh. I advise hot packing for fruit, tomatoes, and vegetables that don’t need to be crisp (i.e., those that will be diced and cooked into a soft-textured dish like chutney or pressure-packed in a basic salt brine).
When you “hot pack,” you slightly heat the food before putting it in the jars. This action effectively reduces float and discoloration.
Nevertheless, there can be a little gap between the solid food on top and the liquid at the bottom of the jars. You may evenly spread the contents of the jars by softly shaking them once they have totally cooled and had their lids securely fastened.
But it’s crucial to wait until the components have completely cooled and sealed before doing this, otherwise, you risk preventing or undoing a secure closure.
“HELP! MY GARLIC GOT BLUISH.
On sometimes, pickled garlic will become blue. When the sulfur compounds in garlic are exposed to air and then an acidic environment, such as a vinegar-based pickle brine, an enzymatic reaction, which happens periodically, results.
The pickles, including the blue garlic, are nonetheless completely safe to consume despite their startling blue appearance, which may first seem scary.
It’s unpleasant when your pickles come out mushy since crunch identifies cucumbers just as much as their tart flavor. A pickle that has already softened cannot be made firm again, but there are techniques to increase your chances of getting the crisp consistency you want.
The quality of the components you start with is the single most crucial factor. Never, ever will a limp cucumber become a crisp pickle. For the tastiest pickles, start with firm, imperfect fruits or vegetables.
Typically, this refers to younger and smaller veggies. Instead of pickling huge chunks of food when working with imperfect produce, use a finely chopped or pureed dish like chutney, relish, or ketchup.