How To Tell If Fermented Food Is Bad?

If you have ever tried a batch of fermented food, you know that they aren’t perfect. It’s important to remember that the longer a food is fermented, the softer it will become. There are a few reasons for this, and the longer it is fermented, the softer it’ll become. Carrots are one example of this. A long fermentation will result in a softer, soggy product. However, if they’re stored properly, they’ll retain their crispness.

To tell if fermented food is harmful, you must pay close attention to the smell. Many people believe that a foul odor means that bacteria have contaminated the products. Usually, these foods also release gases, and a foul smell indicates that the food is not good. If it has a strong odor, you should avoid it. A simple nose test can be an easy way to recognize inedible fermented food.

Symptoms That Your Fermented Food Isn’t Good

There are a few telltale symptoms that your fermented food isn’t safe to eat. When you are aware of the visible indications of recognizing poisonous food, you can detect when the food is terrible.

Some signals are so apparent that no one will have to inform you that a batch ought to be discarded.

Foul Smell

Harmful bacteria produce a nasty odor that you won’t be able to stand, let alone eat. Be aware that it may emit a foul odor when you open a jar as gases are released.

If the stench lingers after the jar has been open for a while, don’t eat the food. The nose test is a quick and easy to detect inedible fermented food.

To become acclimated to a successful ferment’s scents, colors, and textures, buy fermented goods from the grocery store.

When you’re ready to produce your own, you’ll have a good idea of what a healthy ferment looks and tastes like.


To tell if fermented food is terrible, look for signs of mold. This growth is caused by a fungus bacterium, which can attack pectins and lactic acid, vital components of the ferment. The resulting sour taste is a sign of a spoiled product, and mold can make your food unhealthy. A solution to this problem is to wash your produce before fermenting.

It’s crucial to look for mold on the jar’s cover or the food itself. The batch will be thrown out if the mold is brownish, reddish, black, or any other color other than white.

Mold growth indicates that the food has been contaminated during fermentation.

Remember that mold will only develop on the top of the brine and will not permeate it. Mold is unable to grow in salt brine.

How to Tell If Fermented Food Are Bad

It’s not molded if you see white, fuzzy stuff; it’s a form of yeast called Kahm. Kahm yeast is an aerobic yeast that emerges when the sugar in the ferment is depleted, and the PH of the ferment decreases due to the development of lactic acid.

Kahm is frequently confused with mold. In the summer, Kahm yeast can be found on the surface of many fermented vegetables, such as pickles and sauerkraut.

Even though Kahm yeast has an unusual odor and appearance, it is entirely harmless. Scrape it from the surface of the vegetables to remove it from the container.


Pay attention to the color of the fermented vegetables. You should not consume cabbage if the color has changed dramatically, such as when bright green cabbage has gone grey, black, or brown.

The discoloration indicates that the food has become hazardous due to the fermentation process. Color is maintained throughout the fermentation process in healthy fermented foods.

How To Keep Fermented Food From Going Bad?

As a general rule, start with fresh, high-quality vegetables. It’s not uncommon to discover that merely a tiny piece of fruit or vegetable is harmful.

It’s all too tempting to remove the problematic parts and utilize the rest for fermentation. However, it is conceivable for the spores from the harmful sections to spread.

During fermentation, the spores will multiply and spoil the entire batch.

When you start with the best ingredients, you’ll get the best outcomes from fermentation. At first, be extremely picky about the foods you eat.

Choose the healthiest and best-tasting veggies from the market or your garden for fermenting.

Because firms spray chlorine on vegetables to kill bacteria and maintain the freshness of the crop, most fresh foods contain preservatives to extend shelf life.

The preservatives in your food infect the contents of your jars, causing them to rot.

Washing the vegetable with filtered or good water before fermenting is a crucial step that should not be skipped.

When fermenting food, preservatives prevent the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Use Water That Isn’t Chlorine-Free

Chlorine and other pollutants in treated water may damage the healthy bacteria you’re aiming to grow during fermentation.

Chlorine, whether beneficial or toxic, destroys a substantial percentage of microorganisms in water. As a result, using treated water will destroy any beneficial bacteria required for the fermentation process.

Unfortunately, hardy bacteria that can tolerate chlorine treatment can also be found in treated water.

Hardy bacteria can outnumber beneficial bacteria, causing fermented foods to deteriorate.

To remove any traces of chemicals and chlorine, you should use healthy water or filtered water.

For a fermentation process, pure water is the best starter, and it enables you to make high-quality brine that will keep the goods safe throughout the procedure.

Another harmful practice is washing vegetables with treated water or vegetable washing detergent, which removes all of the beneficial bacteria from the vegetable.

Any preservatives will be removed while the good bacteria are maintained using a neutral liquid such as filtered or healthy water. You may shop at a farmer’s market for fresh, organic produce devoid of chemicals.

The Right Temperature For Fermentation

Temperatures of 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for fermenting most veggies (17-22 Celsius).

Be aware that shallow temperatures can kill some beneficial bacteria, while high heat hastens the process and turn the food to mush.

It can be challenging to maintain a 70 to 75 degrees temperature in the summer. Look find a more excellent spot to put the jars or crocks around the house, such as the basement, a low cabinet in the kitchen, or near an air conditioner or fan.

Because higher temperatures might make bacteria more active, it’s necessary to examine the jar frequently and keep in mind that it can be done a few days earlier than intended.

Strength Of The Brine

During the fermentation process, a weak salt brine might cause deterioration. It’s best to start with a high concentration of salt brine to increase your chances of success.

About the weight of the vegetable mixture, most fermented vegetable recipes demand a 2.0-2.5 percent salt brine.

However, there is plenty of evidence that a batch with a salinity of 1.5 percent can still be successful.

Cleaning And Sanitising The Equipment Properly

You’re probably familiar with sterilizing your jars if you’ve canned, pickled, or brewed beer before. When it comes to vegetable fermentation, though, the rules are a bit looser.

All that is required is that the fermenting crock or jars be clear of chlorine, iodine/iodide, and any food particles.

How Do You Clean Fermentation Equipment?

To remove any debris, clean them with boiling water, dish soap, and a brush. Alternatively, could you put them in the dishwasher? That concludes our discussion.

If you want to go a step further, wash them in the sink with a couple of tablespoons of bleach and let them soak for a few minutes.

Bleach is a disinfectant that destroys everything. Just make sure to rinse them thoroughly.

Indications That Your Fermented Food Is Safe To Consume

There are signals to look for to determine whether or not your fermented food is safe to eat. The qualities do not necessitate any specific equipment to assess the food’s edibility.


Fermented foods have a faint fermentation odor to them. That fragrance is familiar if you’ve ever purchased sauerkraut or kimchi.

It must not, under any circumstances, have a strong odor that causes you to gag.

As you gain experience making fermented foods, you will be able to recognize the wonderful fermentation smell almost immediately.

As a result, you should inspect your fermented food jars before eating them.


Fermentation breaks down the meal significantly, but it should still have some grit. If your batch of fermented carrots, for example, is squishy and mushy, it has gone wrong.

The texture of all fermented veggies should be smooth. Keep an eye out for any that appear to have a trace of slime on them. Slime in food is the consequence of hazardous germs, and it must be discarded.

Consider the natural crunchiness of the veggies you’ll use in the fermentation process. The napa cabbage ribs and daikon radish, carrots, apples, and garlic provide a nice crunch.

So, if you’re putting a batch of kimchi through its paces to check if it’s ready,

So, if you’re testing a batch of kimchi to check whether it’s ready and the daikon radish is mushy, it’s a clear sign the batch is faulty, and you should discard it.

Has A Vibrant Color

The color of the food or the liquid inside should not be affected by the fermenting process. Healthy fermented foods keep their color throughout the fermentation process.

As a result, your cabbage should be a healthy green and white tint when finished. It’s safe to presume that if the cabbage turns dark or grey, it’s no longer fit for human eating.

Is It Possible For Fermented Food To Go Bad?

Fermentation is slowed dramatically when food is stored in the refrigerator or a root cellar after it has been fermented. As a result, fermented foods can be preserved for three months or more without losing their quality or flavor. A rotten ferment has a putrid odor, similar to decaying broccoli, and a healthy ferment will smell sour and delicious. Note: If Kahm Yeast is present, it may have a strong odor, but if it isn’t ruined, it should have a lovely sour smell after being scraped away. The texture of a ruined ferment might be slimy.

Is It Possible For Fermented Foods To Be Toxic?

Fermented foods (FF) are widely consumed around the world, and they are a significant source of toxins and pathogenic bacteria linked to several foodborne outbreaks. Contamination is a severe threat to fermented milk products and pork sausages. Fermented foods (FF) are widely consumed around the world, and they are a significant source of toxins and pathogenic bacteria linked to several foodborne outbreaks. Contamination is a severe threat to fermented milk products and pork sausages.


A fermentation process is progressing if the brine has a white film. This is called a “Kham yeast” biofilm. This biofilm is made by microorganisms that live on the surface of the liquid in the fermentation jar. If the vegetables are covered in a biofilm, they’re wrong. If they’re cloudy or have a white biofilm, the vegetables aren’t fermented and should be discarded. Good kimchi has a good crunch. You’ll know it’s healthy if daikon radish doesn’t have any mush. If you’re buying fermented food from a store, be sure to check for its color. The process can damage the color of fermented food. If you’re buying them at a market, they’re usually safe.