Questions and answers for our pickle enthusiasts
I just bought a jar of ozuké pickled things, and the ‘best if used by’ date is quickly approaching. Is it OK to eat my pickled things beyond that date?
Yes! At ozuké the best pickled things, we suggest enjoying our naturally fermented products by the ‘best if used by’ date. We feel the texture and taste are at their peak during this time. For softer textures and in some cases, more developed flavors, you may choose to eat your pickled things over a longer period of time. Naturally cultured foods should be stored under refrigeration, where they will remain preserved for a year or more.
My pickled things leak. I experienced a fairly major eruption, is this OK?
Yes, absolutely, eat and enjoy! I hope you love the rich developed flavor. In fact, there may even be some effervescent qualities to the ingredients. Those bubbles let you know your ozuké the best pickled things are full of live active cultures. I am sorry that happened, but I myself just experienced the exact same thing with a jar of beets from an Albuquerque store. I am relieved to hear you were close to a sink because I was not. Our naturally fermented foods are LIVE and particularly with the beets, very active. The natural beet sugars continue to feed the fermentation sometimes aggressively. Regarding the date, it is a ‘best by’ date. We feel that the tastes and textures are best if eaten within a 6 month period, but many customers enjoy fermented foods for a longer time.
Sometimes the pickles seem different from batch to batch. Why is that?
All of our products are made in small batches and no two batches are exactly alike. There are always variations in the vegetables, slight changes in temperature and then of course the mysterious invisible forces of fermentation that give each pickle its own signature. While we are very consistent in our methods and our recipes you may notice that one jar of beets is a bit more effervescent than the last or that one jar of citrus ginger has more zing than the week before. We think this is part of the joy of eating live foods, it is like getting to know a new friend each time you open a jar.
What’s the hype about probiotics?
The word “Probiotic” simply means “for life”. Need we say more? Okay, you would like a proper scientific definition of a Probiotic? Here it is: “A live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance” New research is establishing how important the supplementation of probiotics can be for a variety of conditions. Probiotics enhance the immune system by favorably altering the gut micro-ecology and preventing unfriendly organisms from gaining a foothold in the body. They prevent the overgrowth of yeast and fungus and produce substances that can lower cholesterol. Poor eating habits, chlorinated drinking water, stress and the use of antibiotics can wreak havoc in the gastrointestinal tract by destroying good bacteria and allowing undesirable bacteria to multiply. When the ratio of good bacteria to bad is lowered, problems begin to arise such as excessive gas, bloating, constipation, intestinal toxicity and poor absorption of nutrients. It’s a tough world out there for the good bacteria in the gut. We know it is hard to avoid stress and other environmental factors surrounding us. So why not add something good back into the equation?
Here’s a summary of what probiotics can do:
- Inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that cause digestive stress
- Improve digestion of food and absorption of vitamins
- Stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanism – the immune system
- Help make vitamins needed by the body
Is it alright to leave the pickles out over night?
Yes. When the pickles come back to room temperature they simply continue to culture and the flavor might change a little bit and become more sour or fizzy. We advise keeping them in the refrigerator because this will preserve optimal flavor and texture, however they are cultured at room temperature and continue to culture even in the refrigerator just at a much slower rate. A night or a day out of the fridge should not harm them at all.
What’s with the fizz?
Our products are alive! Much like popping open a bottle of kombucha or even a hand crafted soda; zuké is a live cultured vegetable with naturally occurring lactobacillus culture. There is no added vinegar in our pickles; all of the sour flavor is made by the fermentation process. The lactobacillus bacteria eats sugars in the vegetables and creates an acidic environment for itself, luckily the friendly bacteria enjoy acid and harmful bacteria cannot survive in it. The beets are the most probiotic of all of our zuké. The naturally occurring sugars in the beets cause the vegetables to continue to culture even after jarring, this is what causes the fizz. There is no harm in it. Just be careful when opening the jars. It is suggested that you avoid wearing your favorite ivory satin gown when going for a midnight beet snack.