Posts Tagged ‘ sugar ’
I have a SCOBY named Abigail floating in a gallon jar in my kitchen.
Abigail looks like a pancake.
In fact, she’s a “symbiotic collection of bacteria and yeast that feeds on sugar and tea to produce not only vitamins, amino acids, antibiotic substances and lactic acid, but also small amounts of glucuronic acid.” Well, that clarifies things.
What I think this means is that, like yeast in bread, Abigail is a living thing. I was told to put her into my gallon jar of kombucha (sweet tea concentrate + water). Her job is to convert the sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol through fermentation. According to my instructor, this fermentation enhances the nutrients in the kombucha, and makes them more available.
While I’ve made other fermented foods this summer (e.g. sauerkraut, fermented vegetables with salt water), I’ve never actually been able to see, touch, and name the “culturing agent.” She’s really quite large: bigger than my hand. And she’s whitey-beige, and has spots that make me think of eyes, and feels smooth like baby skin. So: Abigail.
Over the next 7-10 days, Abigail will produce a “baby” SCOBY, which will float above her on the surface of my fermenting kombucha. On day 7 I’ll taste the kombucha, and if it taste right (not too sweet, not too vinegary) then I’ll decant the kombucha into glass jars for storing in the fridge and drinking. I’ll move Abigail into a glass jar with some of the kombucha, and keep her in the fridge as my “back-up” SCOBY for future kombucha batches.
Her baby (let’s call her Beatrice) will be placed into a fresh batch of kombucha, so that she can ferment it over the next 7-10 days, and produce her own baby (Cleo). Beatrice will then replace Abigail in the fridge as my back-up, while Cleo continues the next generation.
And Abigail? She’ll be given an honourable burial in my compost.
I suppose this isn’t a typical article on kombucha or fermented sodas. I should be telling you how to make them. Or listing the benefits of drinking fermented beverages. Or railing against mainstream sodas.
But this is the first time in my fermentation / food-preservation education that I’ve been truly aware that these foods LIVE. They are living creatures. It’s much easier to understand this when you’re dealing with something the size of a pancake, rather than a spoonful of yeast. And I just wanted to share that with you.
SCOBY definition and kombucha-making knowledge courtesy of Naturally Nourishing.Continue Reading »