I'm fermenting my home grown scotch bonnets, and I'm concerned that they're molding and are no longer edible.

My setup was an open container, with a relatively high salt to water concentration (I don't remember specifics. I googled proper fermentation salt contents, and used a high value, maybe 10%). I used another cleaned jar to weigh down the peppers in the solution, so there was very little air contact.

Unfortunately I had to change the container they were in, because I moved to a new apartment and couldn't transport them in the original fermentation container.

I washed the container before using it, and added more salt to the solution, since they were already fermented and I was only concerned about them spoiling.

Not long after changing containers, the ferment got brown clouds of something, but since they smelled good, I didn't worry too much.

Now, however, there is a translucent film on top of my solution, which is bad enough, and also puffs of mold around the top of the container.

Here's my theory on what this is: the layer on top of my solution is yeast, and some bits of pepper stuck to the lid are molding. However, I'm looking for some more opinions before risking eating these.

What I was planning to do was blend these into hot sauce. Is this still safe to do, since it would end up in my fridge for several weeks? Or should I use them up ASAP? Or is it dangerous and I should pitch all of it?

Brown cloudy stuff

Translucent film on solution

Mold on lid

  • People keep on asking variation on this question and the answer is always the same you always toss it if it shows any signs of microbial growth.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 20:48
  • 1
    .... *mold growth. Fermentation is selective microbe farming lol. And no, I never look at how old a question is.
    – kitukwfyer
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


The growth of yeast is already slowed down by the approximately 2-3 bakers percent salt content in a dough, which makes round about 1-1.5% in total. So I doubt yeast will grow on a brine with 10% salt content.

Also I’m very sure the stuff on the rim of your jar definitively is mold and mold that is growing unintentional should never be considered safe to eat. Even if the stuff on top of the brine might be (partially) crystalized flakes of salt there is a high risk that the spores from the rim already have spread into your product. So, I’m sorry that I have to recommend to dispose this batch and to start over with a carefully sterilized container.

  • I concur. Mold is no-go.
    – gnicko
    Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 20:41

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