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Old October 18, 2019   #49
shule1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Idaho (BSk climate)
Posts: 950

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Regarding Moshou's recipe, with the moderator safety note, it looks to me like this recipe is already more in the realm of fermentation than canning. It might seal the jar without even heating the water, just for the record (although maybe not as quickly).

I make a lacto-fermented chile sauce, which is capable of fermenting for a very long time compared to other lacto-ferments I've tried. It uses vinegar and salt (much as this recipe, but different amounts; 3 cups of vinegar and 4 to 6 tablespoons salt to about a gallon of blended peppers), as well as added lactic acid bacteria (since I cook it first). Although I haven't used canning jar lids made for water bath canning during the ferment, I have noticed that when using distilled white vinegar, instead of needing to burp the jars, it creates a vacuum. My hypothesis there is that acetic acid bacteria attracted to the vinegar use up the air (but I could be wrong about the reason). I'm not sure if the same thing happens in other people's houses (let me know if you try a vinegar ferment, how much you do or don't need to burp the jar).

Anyway, both salt and vinegar should slow the growth of botulism considerably whether or not it's dead. I'm guessing those tomato pickles would be good for at least a couple months that way (but I could be wrong, especially as I'm not sure how many quarts are being made, for the amount of salt; so, take this with a grain of salt). Bacteria on the tomatoes would probably make lactic acid to make it more acidic during that time, too (lactic acid bacteria do that with my chile sauce). Despite adding lactic acid bacteria, I still don't need to burp the jar very much, if ever, because of the vinegar (so I use a tight lid with a silicone seal, since it keeps the outside air out better than a lid with an airlock). So, it seems the carbon dioxide is used up, somehow, too. I don't have an explanation for that, but it sure tastes like the lactic acid bacteria are living. I know others use vinegar in lacto-fermentation, and it still works.

The vinegar should help to reduce the odds of mold developing considerably, since it seems to reduce the air in the jar considerably (and adds to the acidity, while putting vinegar fumes in the air). I never had mold develop (but I certainly did at times without vinegar, with things that weren't chile sauce)!

If I opened the jar to taste it, I would always make sure to stir the sauce to prevent mold (which you might not want to do with things that aren't sauce). Doing that would speed the fermentation considerably (but it would still ferment without opening it). I preferred the taste most if I let it ferment for a good while, open it, taste and stir, let it ferment one to three more days, and then it was complete. When refrigerating, I had to use a silicone seal to keep the bacteria inside so it wouldn't make things in the refrigerator sour (e.g. watermelon).

I only let it ferment for some weeks, but I imagine it could go longer, especially in cooler conditions.

I probably prefer to do cooked sauces like this over whole, raw fruits/vegetables, though, and add extra bacteria after cooking (yes, I know the botulism coukd survive that easy, but the salt and vinegar would slow its growth considerably). For raw stuff that isn't sauce, I think I prefer the taste without vinegar, just lacto-fermenting the regular way.

So, if you pickle tomatoes, why not pickle tomato sauce? It would probably be a good salsa substitute.

Last edited by shule1; October 18, 2019 at 04:12 PM.
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