September 08, 2023 2 min read 0 Comments

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Fermented Veggies

Fermenting vegetables at home is a fantastic way to create delicious and probiotic-rich foods. However, every fermenter has faced the common issue of mold growth at least once in their fermenting journey. The good news is that with proper care and attention, mold growth is preventable. In this guide, we'll explore the potential reasons behind mold growth on your fermented veggies and provide you with essential tips to keep your ferments mold-free.

  • Cleanliness Matters:
    First and foremost, cleanliness is key to successful fermentation. Ensure that all your equipment, including jars, lids, and utensils, is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before you begin. Mold spores can thrive in a dirty environment, so start with a clean slate.
  • Quality Ingredients:
    The quality of your ingredients matters too. Always use fresh, high-quality vegetables and other ingredients. When buying from the grocery store, choose organic if possible. Avoid using overripe or damaged vegetables, as they can introduce mold spores into your ferment.
  • The Right Brine Solution:
    Pay attention to your brine solution. It should be correctly prepared with the right salt-to-water ratio. A brine that's too weak may not effectively inhibit mold growth.
  • Fermentation Temperature:
    Temperature plays a crucial role in fermentation. Most lacto-fermented veggies thrive at room temperature, typically around 68-72°F (20-22°C). Lower temperatures can slow down fermentation and make the environment more conducive to mold growth. Keep your ferment at the right temperature.
  • Submersion is Key:
    Make sure your veggies are fully submerged in the brine. Exposed vegetables can develop mold. To keep them under the brine, you can use fermentation weights (Pickle Pebble) or other methods.
  • Ensure Proper Airflow:
    Mold thrives in environments with poor airflow. To prevent this, avoid sealing your fermentation vessel airtight. Instead, use airlock lids (Pickle Pipe) and leave a headspace by not overfilling the jar.
  • Hygiene:
    Cleanliness extends to your hands and the environment you're working in. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling ingredients, and keep your workspace clean.
  • Surface Scum Removal:
    During fermentation, you might notice a white film or scum forming on the surface. While this is usually harmless, it's best to remove it regularly to prevent mold from taking hold.
  • Water Quality:
    Ensure that you use chlorine-free water for your brine. Chlorinated water can inhibit the growth of beneficial lactic acid bacteria, making the environment more susceptible to mold. To learn more about how turn tap water into chlorine-free water, click here.
  • Use Non-Iodized Salt:
    Finally, make sure you're using non-iodized salt for fermentation. Iodized salt can interfere with the fermentation process. To learn more about different types of salts and which ones are best for fermenting, click here

By addressing these factors, you can significantly reduce the chances of mold growth in your fermented veggies. Always remember that your senses of smell and sight are your most reliable allies in fermentation. If something smells or looks off, it probably is.

We also recommend watching this super helpful video playlist  with Sandor Katz, if you want to learn about some fermentation best practices from this fermenting guru. 

Now, you can use the tips mentioned above to prevent mold from developing in your awesome ferments and enjoy your fermenting journey every step of the way. 🙌 


Happy fermenting!