Today, I’m here to show you photographic evidence of whiteness and cloudiness in brine. The most important thing to know is that, yes, pickles with cloudy stuff in the brine and whitish sediment at the bottom are perfectly fine and safe to eat. Both of those things are natural by-products of the fermentation process.
There are a few different ways this can appear. I’m not talking about surface whiteness. That’s generally kahm yeast, and you can read about it here. I’m talking about flaked fluffy things that sometimes float around in hot peppers. I’m talking about the brine that goes from clear to cloudy in the matter of a few days. I’m talking about the sediment of snow that sits at the bottom of a jar, like a snow globe waiting to be shaken.
Having used every kind of salt I can get my hands on to make pickled vegetables, I can tell you that salt type makes no difference in cloudiness in fermented pickles. Your ferment will be cloudy whether you use a gorgeous, pricey flake salt or the cheapest, iodized stuff you can get your hands on. Some salts make cloudy brine even before fermentation starts (most of the better salts do, due to their colorful minerals) but even with the whitest, most processed salt, your brine will end up cloudy because fermentation creates byproducts that have some visual oomph.
What exactly is it? There’s some lactic acid in there and the larger, floatier pieces are usually excess yeast. Both are natural, safe, normal parts of the fermentation process and absolutely no cause for concern. Sometimes this stuff will settle out, and if you mess with the bottom of the jar you’ll stir it back up again. No cause for alarm.
So no worries on the whiteness. It’s supposed to be there!