Not necessarily. Fermented vegetables were originally created as a method of preserving food, particularly in the colder months, in the absence of refrigeration. Cooling the fermented food will slow down the fermentation process and a fridge is the obvious solution for that. Shops cannot put unpasteurised jars of fermented foods on the shelf so they need to be in the fridge to stop them from fermenting. Unless it smells unmistakably putrid (in which case it must be thrown away), fermented foods are safe to eat. A ferment with one percent salt should keep well for at least four to nine months. To preserve shelf life, sterilise your jars before use, either by putting them in an oven at 100c for 20 minutes or by pouring boiling water inside the jar. Always keep fermented food submerged under the brine, and never double dip a spoon or use your fingers to taste.
About the expert: Nutritionist Eva Killeen directs the CNM Natural Chef and Vegan Natural Chef Diploma Courses. Visit https://www.naturopathy-uk.com/naturalchef for more details.
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