So, what is that white milky on my fermented veggies? Occasionally when I make fermented vegetables a white milky substance forms on the top of the pickle brine. If this happens to you…don’t freak out.
I recently made a big batch of fermented carrots and 2 days into fermenting them a white milky substance formed on the surface of the brine. I thought it would be a good opportunity to take some pictures and share with you in case you run into this problem. I’ve had readers reach out to me via email about this too so I want to address it.
Don’t worry. It’s not mold and it’s not harmful.
Most people immediately think it’s mold and throw the whole batch away. Mold is circular, fuzzy, white and bluish.
What is it
The white milky substance that commonly appears on the surface of fermented vegetables is kahm yeast. It’s a type of wild yeast and it’s not harmful. It’s not very attractive and it can cause a bad odor if left alone. If you see this appear, skim the kahm yeast off the surface. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all. It won’t hurt you.
Fermented vegetables have a pleasant sour smell, but if they smell rotten or rancid then the batch went bad and you should throw it out and start a new one.
Why it happened
Kahm yeast can appear for many reasons. During the summer months the most common are warm temperatures. Other reasons are…
- Not enough salt added to the brine.
- Warmer than average temperatures.
- If the vegetables are not fresh than kahm yeast can appear.
- Cleanliness when preparing the vegetables. Make sure your jars, equipment and hands are washed thoroughly.
What to do about it
Don’t throw your fermented vegetables away if kahm yeast appears. Just skim it off the top. Remember that everything is fine under the brine. The brine creates an anaerobic environment that mold can’t live in.
I hope this helps and prevents you from throwing out a batch of perfectly good fermented vegetables. Have you experienced kahm yeast on your fermented vegetables? What did you do about it?
One more thing…have you experienced any other weird things when fermenting vegetables, like white foam on top, surface mold or strong smells?
Have a great day and please share with your friends and family if you think they would benefit from this advice.