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Are my fermenting veggies supposed to stink?

Answered on February 20, 2014
Created February 12, 2014 at 12:05 AM

First crack at fermenting vegetables at home. I used wide mouth mason jars with water and a tsp. sea salt and a Tbs. celery juice in each. Sliced up all organic broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet potato, jicama, red peppers into 1-2 inch pieces. Filled the jars to completely cover the veggies with water and put stones or smaller jars into the mouth to make sure all the veggies stayed submerged under the water, then left them on the kitchen counter. The house stays around 65-72 degrees. Four days later, little gas bubbles come to the surface of each jar (the good bacteria growing, right?) But the whole house now smells of a strong sour oder. Is this normal? (I have tasted the veggies, taste just normal, no tangy taste, so I thought I should leave them out longer.) Any advice?

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 13, 2014
at 09:12 PM

Glad I was of assistance. It's good to hear that our hypothesis was correct, I was thinking about fermenting other cruciferous vegetables besides cabbage, but I paused when I thought about the high concentration of sulfur compounds in broccoli because I thought it might give off some unpleasant odors, good to know I didn't waste a good batch of broccoli. Enjoy the veggies.

0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 13, 2014
at 01:06 AM

I think you were right on about the broccoli, Gastronomer. None of the others (red peppers, carrots, jicama, sweet potato, kale) are putting off the strong sour/rotten smell. (and I am puzzled as to the down-vote on the above answer as I found it to be informative, helpful and pertinent). Thank you.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on February 12, 2014
at 10:05 PM

it should be closer to a tablespoon.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 12, 2014
at 08:34 PM

Looking forward to it, I would like to know if our hypothesis regarding broccoli producing unpleasant aromas is correct.

0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 12, 2014
at 02:56 AM

Okay thanks, I will let them go longer. I figured out it was the broccoli that was the stinkiest offender, so we ate that jar today. Will post later to say how the other 4 jars turn out.

0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 12, 2014
at 02:52 AM

1 tsp of sea salt in each quart jar. (I read on some how-to site that too much salt would kill off the bacteria that one wanted fermenting in there?) but maybe I got it wrong?

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7 Answers

0
0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 20, 2014
at 05:51 AM

OP here with an update: after 14 days on the kitchen counter, the kale, carrots, sweet potato and red peppers smelled of a "nice" kind of sour and finally tasted tangy enough for me. The jicama (which I did alone in it's own jar) smelled of a "nasty" sour, and had pink mold so I didn't eat it.

Lessons learned: the smaller the chopped pieces, the faster they fermented. Any little bits not kept under the water level led to mold growth. A warmer room temp could have sped things up.

Next time, I will use more salt, try to place in a warmer area and will try the airlock tops for the jars. Thank you all for your great suggestions!

(Oh, the reason I avoided using cabbage is I seem to have a lot of trouble with most of the Fructans on the FODMAPS list; bloating, excessive, smelly gas).

0
Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

on February 13, 2014
at 03:04 PM

'Stinking' is part of your mentality... You might think of them as tangy, pleasantly sour, like rotten eggs, int he case of broccoli ferments (okay maybe I agree this one can 'stink' sometimes......)

It's possible your preparation smells unpleasent because there is undesreable bacteria/mould/yeast growing for some reason or other - somethngbeing introduced because of inappriate sterilisation etc, perhaps udnersalting (although Salt isn't necessary, especially when using a starter as these are then generally shorter ferments). I like flavour it helps with though (and crunchy texture, I think...? of certain veg). If you can find white/diakon radish or a radish, I would say try this, add some ginger, any spices you want. Or cabbage. For first crack I think it would be wise to learn some 'classics' before expanding reporitoire through expeirmienting with less commonly/massly fermented things (which you will not be faimilar with flavour wise anyway, as much as saukraut, perhasp... Though nothing can beat homemade kraut imho! :)

ps The gas bubbles are co2 being formed, a byproduct of the bacteria feeding on the sugars...

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 13, 2014
at 01:12 AM

There's a difference between the smell of spoiled food and fermented food, but it's hard to put in to words. When I describe making cabbage kraut, I always tell people that it "smells like farts" (sorry, but it DOES!) at first and when it stops smelling like farts it's time to taste it to see if it's done. It has a clean, sour, yeasty smell when it's done fermenting. Dairy kefir smells like gym socks, but it's not anything like that awful, horrible, never get out of your memory smell of spoiled milk.

If the smells are bothering you, you could try fermentation airlocks. My favorite are BPA free recap lids with fermentation locks. (NOTE: Some things like dairy kefir and kombucha need air and won't work well with a fermentation lock).

0
736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on February 12, 2014
at 08:26 PM

Jaminet has a recipe for kimchi that doesn't require submersion. Haven't tried it.

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2013/03/shou-chings-moms-kimchi/

0
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on February 12, 2014
at 08:47 AM

Lots of information about fermenting veg in the following links

http://www.foodrenegade.com/3-biggest-fermenting-mistakes-youre-already-making/

http://www.probioticjar.com

In the second link, it is worth reading the Tutorials and Recipes particularly. My sauerkrauts etc have improved exponentially since using this approach.

0
Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 12, 2014
at 12:50 AM

You should leave them longer, until they taste tangy and acidic. They smell bad because fermentation is just a fancy way of saying "controlled rotting", whereby you let the vegetables rot in an anaerobic environment where the products of the fermentation are usually either lactic acid (the tangy acid in sauerkraut and in some cheeses), alcohol, or acetic acid (vinegar) depending on what you are going for. The fact that you used broccoli and kale tells me that the smell will be even stronger since these have sulfur compounds which can give off certain unpleasant aromas. Also, the sweet potato adds a substantial amount of sugar which could result in a lot more of the desired end product being created (that being lactic acid, alcohol, or vinegar).

0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 12, 2014
at 02:56 AM

Okay thanks, I will let them go longer. I figured out it was the broccoli that was the stinkiest offender, so we ate that jar today. Will post later to say how the other 4 jars turn out.

0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 13, 2014
at 01:06 AM

I think you were right on about the broccoli, Gastronomer. None of the others (red peppers, carrots, jicama, sweet potato, kale) are putting off the strong sour/rotten smell. (and I am puzzled as to the down-vote on the above answer as I found it to be informative, helpful and pertinent). Thank you.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on February 12, 2014
at 12:32 AM

how much salt did you put in a quart? My early attempts at krauts were under salted, and resulted in spoiled krauts.

0f8f77156cd0667d43194fc4b8bc3b5d

on February 12, 2014
at 02:52 AM

1 tsp of sea salt in each quart jar. (I read on some how-to site that too much salt would kill off the bacteria that one wanted fermenting in there?) but maybe I got it wrong?

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