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I have pickles that have been fermenting for 3 weeks now, which in my experience is the ideal length of time. When I checked on them, there is mucousy slime in the brine. There's no unpleasant smell, and the pickles are crunchy and taste like pickles. There is some yeast on the top of the brine, but this is something I've seen fairly frequently.

Can anyone identify this slime, and confirm if these pickles are safe to eat?

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    As a rule, if you dont know what it is, don't risk it, but I'll be curious to see if anyone can give some ideas on what the slime is and why it forms. "Slime" is an occasional problem in brewing kombucha (unpleasant, but not dangerous...probably). All I've read is that it's an overgrowth of yeast, which might indicate too much oxygen in your ferment? In boochland, you can fix it by using a bottle of gt's plain booch as a starter to rebalance the scoby. I don't know if there could be an analogous process for a lacto ferment...
    – kitukwfyer
    Aug 7 '20 at 1:18
  • That was my initial guess. This was also my first time fermenting pickles in a 2 gallon bucket. My other pickles were in Mason jars. I'm thinking the slime might be the byproducts of all the extra yeast that formed on the larger surface area. I.e. it might have been present in the mason jars, just not in a noticeable quantity.
    – cad
    Aug 7 '20 at 5:36
  • No one really know why (or what) make the slime. Sometimes it goes away after few days (then the pH change). But if it stays it's advice to throw the food away. It's still eadible and "normal" but why risk if the igredients are cheap. Aug 7 '20 at 12:21
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On its page, White Film On Cultured Vegetables, Cultures for Health identifies kahm yeast as the probable culprit. Many reference sites indicate that the food is safe to eat as long as mold is not present. The yeast film should be removed as it may affect the flavor of the food and it may adversely affect digestion.

Kahm yeast formation can occur because:

  • The batch is insufficiently acidic
  • There is not enough salt in the brine
  • The culturing temperature is too warm
  • The batch is over-exposed to oxygen
  • Good hygiene was not observed during preparation

You should be able to avoid kahm yeast formation in the future by following good lacto-fermentation procedures.

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  • Kahm is not “mucousy slime”.
    – Sneftel
    Feb 7 '21 at 22:37
  • Eating a pickle without enough salt is guarenteed food poisoning. 3 weeks in water without enough salt, crickey may have algae growing out of it at that stage
    – Neil Meyer
    Oct 30 '21 at 12:43

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