If our grandparents stored their ferments down cellar and we store ours in the refrigerator, then how in the world do you have a successful ferment when it’s 90-degrees in your kitchen? This post includes tips for fermenting in hot weather.
I was in Florida recently visiting with family and the topic of home-fermented sauerkraut came up. I suggested someone try it for her health when another person contradicted me.
“You cannot ferment in Florida. She’s got to buy it at the store.”
Warmer temperatures speed up the fermentation process. Some folks report a greater incidence of mold developing in the summer. And, warmer temperatures produce a softer (or mushier) end product. But, I know friends in Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma who ferment their foods with great success, so I knew that even if it were different, there is a way to ferment in hot weather.
7 Tips for Fermenting in Hot Weather
How to Ferment in Hot Weather:
• Use a colder storage location. Areas such as a garage, basement, or root cellar are more conducive to fermenting than the kitchen counter in the hot summertime.
• If you don’t have any cold storage locations, keep your air conditioning turned down to at least 68 degrees.
• Fermenting that takes weeks in the winter could only take days in the summer. Therefore, start tasting your food on the second day. Once the flavor is perfect, immediately place it in the refrigerator.
• Play with your recipe. Adding additional salt can help to prevent the development of mold. But too much salt could stop the good-guy bacteria from forming, too. It’s a trial and error method.
• Place your jars in a cooler of cold water. Or, if it’s really hot outside, pack some ice around the jars.
• Do you have two refrigerators? You can always place the jars in your extra refrigerator. The fermentation will take a longer period of time, but it will eventually happen. If you are a serious fermentor, you could purchase a small dorm-sized refrigerator just for fermenting and keep the temperature turned up higher than a regular refrigerator.
• Finally, remember to keep all your food submerged beneath the level of the brine by using a weight. Mold will not grow on food that is submerged.
Now it’s your turn. Who ferments in the warmer climates? Please share your secrets to success in the comment section.
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