Fun With Fermentation!

Fermentation (noun):

  • The anaerobic conversion of sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol by yeast.
  • Any of a group of chemical reactions induced by living or nonliving ferments that split complex organic compounds into relatively simple substances.

I feel like a scientific definition makes me seem super smart.  Like I know things about science.  I don’t.  I leave that to my brother.  Science and I don’t really mix.  At least not intentionally.  Social sciences are more my thing.  The law too, kind of.  Anthropology, Sociology, law, get me going on those and I can talk your ear off spouting all my knowledge.  Science?  Not so much.

Despite this, sometimes I accidentally do a little science, and that turns out to be quite fun.  I like science.  I  like experiments.  It’s just not my forte.

We recently bought a jug o’ unpasteurized apple cider.  It’s just pressed apples.  I’m not much of a juice drinker, but this is heavenly.  There’s nothing to compare, it’s really amazing.  Being not much of a juice drinker, it was probably a little overly ambitious to buy such a big jug.  We didn’t really think this through too well.

DSC02983 After the apple cider had been in our fridge for just a few days, I went to have a glass.  I knew something wasn’t right when I saw the jug and it was bloated and enormous.  It looked like it had a carb overload belly.

DSC02985 First sign, right?

Then, when I pulled the cap off, there was a loud popping sound.

Second sign.

Regardless, I decided to pour myself a glass.  This was when I realized that Solomon and I had been secretly running a bootleg alcohol operation in our own kitchen.  Ooops.

A wise person would have poured it all down the drain.  That’s not what I did.  I wasn’t so wise here.  I poured myself a glass.  I enjoyed every sip.  Every fermented sip.  See, we had accidentally made alcohol over here.  It was delicious.  I’ve always been a hard apple cider fan, and now I’ve learned just how easy it is to make at home.  All you need is unpasteurized apple cider and a little forgetfulness.  It’s amazing what kind of things happen in your fridge when you aren’t looking!  Maybe next time I’ll pour a little raspberry flavoring into the jug before I forget about it and let it sit for days.  Might as well flavor it too!

DSC02984 The interesting thing about all of this, is that I actually have an experiment going on where I am intentionally trying ferment something.  In fact, I am trying to make kombucha.  I can’t really explain why I like kombucha, but there is just something about it that makes me want it!  I don’t know if it is doing good for my body, because I don’t drink it enough to notice a difference, but for some reason I really like it.  I do not like the price tag on it.  One bottle is like $3.50!  I learned that I can make it at home for about the same cost, and get a lot more for my money!

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is imbibed for medicinal purposes, although there is currently no specific scientific information supporting any purported benefits. Kombucha is available commercially, but can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible solid mass of microorganisms called a kombucha culture or mushroom.  (thank you Wikipedia).

That’s right, I’m fermenting on purpose.  There isn’t anywhere particularly close to me to get kombucha, so after doing some research, I just decided I was going to try to make my own.  It turns out you need a “mother” to start the kombucha.  It’s also known as a “scoby” or a “mushroom.”  I sound sketchy just writing that.  Unfortunately, the starter is expensive, especially if this didn’t work properly.  Instead, I continued to search, and found a way to make it at home, from scratch.  Here’s how:

I took a glass mason jar, and made a cup of regular (Lipton) tea in it.  To this, I added about 1 tbsp. of sugar.  The sugar helps with the fermentation process I think.  Once this got to room temperature, I poured in a whole bottle of raw, organic, original kombucha.

Now comes the waiting part.  I covered the mason jar with a clean kitchen towel, to keep bugs out and such, and stuck it in a corner of my counter where it won’t get knocked over.  This is what it looked like the next morning:

DSC02993 Here it is one week later:

DSC03029 Fun with science!!  It sure smells like kombucha.  I lifted the towel the other day out of curiosity, and the vinegary smell was strong.  I’m making kombucha, I can’t believe it!

The coolest part has been watching it grow.  The “scoby” is slowly growing on the top and it’s so fun!  I have to wait for it to get to be about 1/4 inch thick, before I can actually make any, and drink it.

I’m so excited for Part 2 of this science experiment.  In about a week or two I should be able to make my own kombucha.  How should I flavor it?  I just don’t know what to do!  Stay tuned to see how this experiment works out!

Have you ever had kombucha?  Do you like it?  What’s your favorite flavor?

Remember to do your good deed for the day and click here!

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8 Responses

  1. You are a braver soul than I am. It looks good, but I would be paranoid to try it. I’m weird about that kind of thing.

  2. The best things happen by accident, don’t they??

    Though I can’t try kombucha… I picked it up once in a store and it scared the crap out of me. There are things in it!! :p

    ❤ ❤

  3. Crazy that someone would search that. lol I can’t wait to see how the Kombucha turns out.

  4. I’d be drinking the cider too. I love hard cider.

    Kombucha on the other hand hasn’t quite won me over yet. No thanks. ; )

  5. I’d be all over that cider!

    I like the passionberry flavor of Kombucha the best. I like the taste, but the little floaters kind of sketch me out. I feel like I need to strain it and then I’d love it.

  6. I really like kombucha! I have only tried the citrus flavor but I have a blueberry flavor in the fridge that I am dying to taste. You are so brave! I applaud you for trying this. You are so AWESOME!

  7. […] Posted on December 5, 2009 by Morgan So a few weeks ago, I decided to get ambitious and make my own kombucha at home.  I knew this was going to be a long process, but figured, what the hell.  I’m […]

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