Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

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Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby pepanita on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:17 pm

I always reach a point in my vegetable ferments (usually cabbage + other veggie combo, currently Japanese bran pickles that has miso and alcohol as well as lactic fermentation) where the bloom cannot be skimmed neatly and the brine becomes cloudy.

Is this the experience of other fermenters? When I buy live ferments the brine is always pretty and clear, and my untidy bloom makes me think I'm doing something wrong.

Any advice welcome.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby Tim Hall on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:57 pm

Cloudy brine is perfectly normal and to be expected. It's simply the dead cell walls of the flora floating around. Lots of B-vitamins in there. If you let your ferment sit long enough, eventually most or all of this will settle to the bottom, making clear brine.

I rarely buy live-culture vegetables, but I know of at least one brand that has this sediment in it - if you stir it up it becomes cloudy, just as it should.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby AHVincent on Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:27 am

Yes completely normal and actually expected and a sign of success.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby Kataok on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:48 am

I am not sure where I read this or heard this, but I remember from somewhere that if you used regular table salt which contains Iodine, it will cause your fermentation to be much much cloudier & will also kill the micro-organisms. So make sure that you are using pickling salt, or sea salt.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby Brrrandy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:10 pm

I second what other said, it's fine. You can create a new brine before canning to get rid of the cloudiness, but I did that once and it impacted fermented flavor-- they just tasted like regular pickles after that.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby music on Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:08 am

My kimchi brine is super cloudy, but according to those who have tasted the kimchi, it is the best they have ever had! What little brine there is in my sauerkraut is cloudy, but to a lesser degree, as is the liquid from my kid-friendly kimchi. And of course, anything I have primed with whey is super, super cloudy. Plenty of goodness in that cloudiness, you should drink it, and enjoy the fruits of a job well done!
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby Jack on Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:24 am

Some Table Salts contain Anti-Caking agents besides being Iodated which could both lead to cloudy brines.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby BenKRichardson on Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:30 am

I've read this post with interest since I have for the first time experienced the development of a white powder-like sediment which is turning the brine cloudy inside my first-time ferment of gherkins.

This might just be what Tim describes as the dead cell walls but I'd appreciate anyone that has seen this before visiting the separate thread I posted (with pictures and video) and verifying this from their experience viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19883

It is possible I've actually experienced the same or similar before in batches of kimchi and sauerkraut but within those I cannot really see the brine except at the very top of my jars, whereas with my gherkins the brine is free-flowing and easily visible distinct from the veggies themselves.
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Re: Cloudy Brine--Is that ok?

Postby captain.tinker on Wed May 01, 2019 11:48 am

powder like sediment? So, this isn't on the top and filtering down, it's actually just floating around in the brine and then falling to the bottom then? If it were a white powdery stuff on top, smell it to see if it smells "yeast-y". Otherwise, it has been my experience so far that a cloudy brine in general means it's working. It might be that when one purchases stuff at the store that the brine has been clarified for aesthetic purposes? I know that the Bubbie's brand of pickles and saeurkraut you generally see the cloudiness, in fact it says on the label to shake it up to make it cloudy again if the white stuff has settled to the bottom.
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