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Jun 16 / scott.campbell

Sampling Pitfalls

I got back to the office today after attending IFT in New Orleans.  The show, as always, presented a welcome opportunity to see many customers in person, and learn about ways they want to use water activity.  The city itself proved welcoming, and we enjoyed some excellent food at Jaques Imo’s, a restaurant where we ate as a group after the 2nd day of IFT.  We just asked our server to bring our group of 11 a bunch of good food to eat family style, and his selections didn’t disappoint.

In any case, I checked in on my long-suffering sausages today, and found them continuing to lose water, albeit at a much slower rate.  I can post more data this week, but the “low hanging fruit” type of water has all evaporated, and what’s left is taking longer and longer to leave.

One down-side to my new sampling technique: it creates a big tunnel in the sausage that can harbor a micro climate that sustains mold growth:

This is a cross-section of the peperone at a spot that I’d sampled about 10 days ago.  Even though the fridge water activity is too low to support mold growth, the little area inside the sausage makes things humid enough that this happened.  None of the holes I poked with the biopsy needle have shown mold growth, so maybe the “pen shaft” just had some spores on it when I used it or something.  More info later, including an exciting update from John, who is cold-smoking a giant ham as I write this.  Because he’s using a Bradley smoker, it’s impressive he got the thing inside at all.

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