It was time to check up on my fermenting pickles. The cloudy water was not encouraging. When I opened up the jars the smell was: garlicky dill with a hint of food-gone-bad. It almost smelled right but really didn’t. I suppose that they might be safe to eat when you consider that people have been burying fish to rot them for eating joy for hundreds of years.
But I am not a person who buries things until they’re rotted just-so. My dog does this. There is nothing finer to her than to bury a bit of rawhide in a good rainy spot, let it acquire a strong odor of dead body, and then dig up the blackened delicacy to eat at my feet.
I don’t know what I did wrong. The cauliflower I fermented two years ago never went bad. I had it in the cupboard for months before we finished it off. I was completely confident in it and we enjoyed eating it. I followed essentially the same process. An acquaintance of mine has suggested they got too warm. This is a very real possibility as September and part of October was pretty hot and there isn’t a truly cool spot in the house to store pickles.
I’m disappointed, obviously. Such a waste of pickling cucumbers. But as with all skills – there is a learning curve and some failures are expected. My olives seem to be doing alright still and I can start a new fermentation project using winter vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, and possibly some greens. My friend Cam suggested fermenting mustard greens like her mom did when she was growing up. She says she’ll see if she can get the recipe for me.
On the bright side of the food preserving front – last night I didn’t want to make dinner. I was too tired. But hungry. So I pulled a jar of my tomato sauce from the pantry and whipped up a super easy and quick marinara sauce and had spaghetti with roasted cauliflower and it was so good! This is why I do all the canning work I do.
Have any fermenting tales to share? I want to hear them!