Many people worry when fermenting and pickling foods at home, regarding spoilage of food – what if, they wonder, the food spoils, and I don’t notice, and I eat something harmful?
One of the reasons that fermenting has survived as a preservation method for thousands of years, is that it is pretty easy to tell when something is good, and when it is not.
Trust your senses:
If it LOOKS strange – odd color, moldy, or otherwise disgusting. It should look like FOOD.
If it SMELLS strange – odd smell, or bad smell is a tip-off that something is not right. It should smell like FOOD.
If it FEELS unusual – squishy, slimy, or way too soft. Some foods do get softer over time even when still healthy, but mushy is not good. It should FEEL like the food that it is supposed to be.
If it TASTES bad, or if the taste makes you queasy – generally one of the other senses will tip you off, but if you put something in your mouth that isn’t right, just spit out out and rinse your mouth with water. Honestly, people pretty much never get to that point unless they just aren’t paying attention to their other senses – because bad food always has some other tip-off that it isn’t right! It should TASTE like food.
In the majority of food poisoning cases, there was something not right about the food, which the consumer ignored while eating it. The flavor was off, or the color was not right, or something which caused them to think something was wrong, but which they ignored.
Trust your senses. You’ll notice a common theme there – Food looks, smells, tastes, and feels like FOOD. If it doesn’t, then don’t eat it!
With fermented foods, it is usually pretty easy to tell when it is not good. Most spoilage happens at one of two times:
- During the initial ferment. Something is wrong right from the start. This means that it goes bad usually before you’ve even had a chance to sample it. The kind of spoilage that happens here is very visible – typically involving mold, a layer of nasty stuff on top of the ferment, or other very visual indicators that something hasn’t worked correctly. Often it is due to contaminated food, hot temperatures, insufficient salt or brine coverage, or something else simple, so it is not only easy to detect, it is easy to correct.
- During storage – usually after prolonged storage. In this instance, you made so much that you aren’t using it regularly. It has been shoved to the back of the fridge, probably in a half-filled container, or it has been left on a shelf in the basement or root cellar and not looked at or used in a few months. Usually, it just got stored a little too long, or at too high temperatures, or in a container with too much airspace for too long a time period. Spoilage of this kind is also generally easy to detect – and will more often involve slimy, mushy, bad smelling gook, and may arrive one day in your kitchen, in the hands of a child, who is asking, “Mom? Is this supposed to look like this?”. This type of spoilage is also easy to avoid, and one of the easiest ways to correct it is by making small batches of things you don’t use frequently, so they get used in a timely manner. Proper storage – little airspace in the jar, cool temperatures, and checking them once a month – also helps to eliminate spoilage during storage.
With fermented foods, there is pretty much never an instance of spoilage serious enough to actually make you sick that is not detectible by more than one means. So if your nose doesn’t work as well as your neighbor’s, do not fear. Your eyes and hands will tip you off instead.
This applies to traditional salt and acid fermentations, and to milk or fruit based fermentations. We do not recommend fermenting vegetables without salt.
Trust your senses! Pickle with confidence.
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
Wholesale, Export, and Manufacture of this product by other companies is an option. International distributorships are available for those wishing to export. Please email us to inquire about access to our wholesale website, or in regards to manufacturing any of our products.
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