Fedi folks who lacto-ferment: can you use a cloth lid if the veg/fruit is submerged completely in a salt water brine? I fermented a glass jar of blueberries with 2% salt, weighed down with a ziplock bag of water, with a paper towel and rubber band over top of the jar. 5 days later it smells sweet but a little bit like wine. I have cucumbers and jalapenos going the same way and now I'm wondering if I should I do new batches with proper lids instead?

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Thanks, everyone! This was very helpful. I decided to compost what I had and start again. Some of it smelled gross and was slimy and I figure if my stomach turns then best to let the compost eat it 😂

I'm going to try the glass jars with clasping glass lids this time instead. I have a couple of those jars and I'll just "burp" it every day and see how that goes.

@tickfoot
I've never heard of fermented blueberries, or any other fruit, except when the result is wine. Have I been living under a rock?

I kind of believe that your veggies will ferment okay, but any fruit will become wine.

But don't add salt to the wine for gods sake 😄. I would make blueberry jam instead 😋 or wine :flan_wine: , but jam is a better use of blueberries in my opinion.

@JohanEmpa Hahaha! I got the blueberry ferment idea from The Noma Guide to Fermentation newyorker.com/culture/kitchen-.

This might be a daft question, but how easy is it to make ferments that can make you sick? My general understanding of it is to keep oxygen out (which I did via brine and the ziplock bag weight basically acting as a seal also), use salt to prohibit "bad" bacteria, and that the longer it ferments the stronger the effect/flavor. It's basically controlled rotting, right? 😂

@tickfoot
👀 That sounds like some creative use of blueberries.

I'm no expert on fermenting, but I believe that the main thing is that is should become sour. The acid kills the bad bacteria. If it smells like pickles, wine or yogurt and taste sour it's good. If it smells really bad and doesn't taste sour it's bad.

@tickfoot it doesn't seem to ferment at all if it's not absolutely air tight, it sounds like that's what happened to yours. I would probably not eat those.

@tickfoot I always ferment with cloth lid and the only way that works for me is to seal with a layer of oil on top.
I use a cabage disk, a stone and oil. Never had a failed batch again. (and I used to have many)

@maleza oh that's very interesting! I will have to look into that method more. What kind of oil do you use?

@tickfoot I use sunflower oil because is the cheap but not awfull option here. Just a thin layer (about 3/5 mm).

@tickfoot I only fermented leafy stuff before (cabbage, ashweed, wild buckwheat,..) and we have a dedicated container for it. It has a lid where you have a kind of "water seal". So the brim of the container has a dent, where you pour in water and the lid gets submerged in it. Like you said, it's for keeping the air from getting in, but also to let gasses out, that are produced by the bacteria inside. I've read that you can use the regular lid of a jar, but don't screw them totaly shut.

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@tickfoot The bacteria just uses up the rest of the oxygen in the jar. (So maybe even a jar thats totaly shut would work.)

There's also a plate (fermentation weight) for pressing the contents down. But the ziplock should do fine.

Also it can smell harsh if you open it, but as @JohanEmpa said, it shouldn't smell unpleasant. It still tastes a bit salty, but you definitely get a good sourness - though I can only speak for fermented leafy bits. It's hard to describe.

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@tickfoot
Maybe I would do a new batch, if it smells real bad.

I never fermented fruit, maybe I'll try, sounds fun!
Then I can also provide some more info.

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