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Offline The15thMember

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My New Pet
« on: June 04, 2023, 01:32:54 pm »
My mom bought me a new pet, since she wants the benefits of having it, but doesn't want to take care of it herself.  My pet arrived in the mail yesterday, and I got it set up in its new housing as soon as I came in from beekeeping yesterday afternoon, since it was kind of stressed from the shipping.  We have named it Kim, and it uses they/them pronouns on the grounds of being genderless and colonial.  :cheesy:

Perhaps you have figured out from the pictures that my new pet is a SCOBY (a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), a water kefir SCOBY to be exact.  We named it Kim because my mom's best friend growing up was named Kim Kieffer.  :cheesy:  The little grains are used to lacto-ferment sugary liquids to make carbonated drinks, so essentially we are using it to make homemade sodas.  I soaked Kim for 20 minutes in fresh water to revive them and then put them in a solution of sugar and molasses to get them fermenting again.  This morning the solution is significantly lighter, so they are metabolizing the molasses, which proves they are alive and happy.  Tomorrow we'll remove some of the liquid, put some fruit it in, ferment that again, strain out the fruit, and put it in a pressurized bottle to carbonate.  Voila!  Soda!  :happy:

     
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2023, 05:18:25 pm »
Very interesting Reagan. I did not know how soda was made. Do you keep a remnant of "Kim" as a starter for a new batch?

PS: Let us know if the flavor suits y'all once you have had the opportunity to do a taste test...

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2023, 05:34:18 pm »
Very interesting Reagan. I did not know how soda was made.
There are actually lots of ways to make homemade carbonated drinks.  This is just one way. 

Do you keep a remnant of "Kim" as a starter for a new batch?
Yes, after the first ferment we'll strain out the grains and put them in fresh water for about 20 minutes so they can neutralize their pH and purge some of the minerals they have accumulated.  Then we'll put Kim back in the jar with about an inch of the liquid as a starter.   Then we fill up the rest of the jar with water and some sort of sugar (cane sugar, molasses, honey, sorghum, etc.) to keep the process going. 

That is why this thing is basically a pet, it needs to be fed and cared for properly or the grains will die. 

PS: Let us know if the flavor suits y'all once you have had the opportunity to do a taste test...

I certainly will.  The possibilities for flavors are basically limitless.     

I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2023, 07:32:35 pm »
By this afternoon Kim's solution was even lighter than yesterday and no longer tasted just like molasses water, but a little bit ferment-y and not very sweet, so we moved into the next phase of the process.  I strained Kim out of their liquid and put them in a bowl of clear water for 20 minutes.  While they were in their bath, I put an inch of their liquid back into their jar, filled it up the rest of the way with water, and dissolved into that a 1/4 cup of demerara sugar for their next feeding.  We decided to flavor our first batch of kefir water with blueberries and freeze-dried lemons, since that's what we had around.  So I put a cup of crushed blueberries and a couple slices of lemon in their old liquid, and that will now sit for another day or two with a lid on to ferment again and get fizzy.  After Kim's bath, I replaced them into their jar to start the process over again.  So in a day or two when I need to do this whole process again, we'll have our first batch of kefir water soda to drink. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2023, 08:16:38 pm »
We tried the kefir water and it's really good.  Without putting it in a highly pressurizable container, it's lightly fizzy and a bit ferment-y tasting.  Not like kraut, but almost like vinegar; it's very different from anything I've ever tasted before, but very good and refreshing.  Kim almost quadrupled in size throughout these first two cycles of feeding, so I split the grains into 3 jars for the next round.  Eventually when we have too many grains, we'll feed them to the chickens.  The next round of kefir water is going through its second fermentation with organic strawberry lemonade as the flavoring.  I'm still getting the whole process down, and I accidentally put that jar in the fridge overnight, so it'll probably take a little longer than the first batch, since it was stalled in its fermentation.  :embarassed: 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Occam

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2023, 02:02:02 am »
I've thought about water kefir. I've done milk kefir and love it but it was intensive keeping up with it. I do kombucha now. Nice to see how your kefir is doing
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2023, 08:42:31 pm »
Sorry I've been so long in updating this thread, been a stressful couple of days around here.  The strawberry lemonade didn't do well, and I think the problem was I had too much head space in the bottle.  It tasted kind of vinegar-y, and honestly we don't like this juice straight up much anyway.  We had a pineapple around that didn't ripen well, so we salvaged what we could from it and used that to flavor the next batch.  Holy cow it was good!  Definitely the best flavor so far.  It pressurized nicely and was very flavorful and refreshing. 

After every 3 batches, Kim needs to rest in the fridge overnight, so I strained out all the grains this afternoon, and they are in there in a jar for their nap right now.
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2023, 02:36:37 pm »
Some more flavor updates.  On the recommendation of the YouTube channel where my mom first heard about water kefir, we tried lemon ginger, which was PHENOMENAL!  We drank it with some Mexican food at supper last night, and it hit the spot!  We also did kiwi, which is also good, but probably would have been even better if our kiwis hadn't been so sour. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Occam

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2023, 08:08:02 pm »
I really want to do a pineapple brew in my kombucha, I think it would be great. Maybe pineapple ginger
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2023, 08:49:55 pm »
Something else we discovered from the pineapple is the fruit itself is delicious too.  All the instructions say to strain out the fruit, since most people don't like big hunks of fruit in their drinks, but man, that's a total waste in my opinion.  The pineapples especially were really good.  They trapped the CO2 bubbles in their interwoven tissue structure, and they were so fizzy, it was like eating a pineapple Zotz.  (Zot?  What is the singular form of that candy?  Is it a Zot or a Zotz??  It's like how we say "Netflick" in my house.  One Netflick, two Netflix.  :cheesy:
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Occam

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2023, 12:00:33 am »
I will probably crush mine up and bottle some with and some without. I very much prefer it and had a similar experience with whole blueberries, they were bubbly on the inside. I use flip top bottles for my second ferment so anything larger than a blueberry doesn't fit well through. Crushed pineapple would work though.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2023, 09:36:11 pm »
I had something interesting happen with Kim this week.  When we first got Kim I was feeding them demerara sugar since my mom had some around for topping muffins.  When that ran out, we got turbinado sugar because it was a little cheaper.  But over the past few cycles, Kim hasn't been growing, and this past cycle I actually noticed them shrinking.  So I did a little experiment.  I split the grains into 3 different jars and fed one a 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar, one a 1/2 cup of turbinado, and one a 1/4 cup of sorghum.  The difference was staggering.  The sorghum grains were so much plumper and they almost doubled in volume.  I think the turbinado sugar just isn't given them the minerals they need.  I'm going to get some demerara sugar again and see if that fixes the problem.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2023, 03:37:54 pm »
I'm not sure what is going on with Kim lately.  I fed them all part molasses, part turbinado sugar for their last feeding (the same as the recommended feeding when I first got them), and while they are growing in overall mass/volume, the grains individually aren't holding together for some reason.  When I move a jar, the top layer of grains kind of dissolves into the water column.  You can see in the picture how small the grains are right now.  I looked up the difference between the turbinado and demerara, and it's very minimal, so that change shouldn't have made much of a difference.  It is a little cooler in our house since we turned on the AC for the summer, so I'm thinking maybe my every other day schedule is just too fast for them, so I'm going to let them sit until Monday and go from there. 

We are enjoying having the flavored kefir water very much, even the kids are drinking some of the sweeter flavors like berry.  My mom makes a drink we call summer tea, where she makes a concentrated syrup with sweet mint that we then mix up with water.  I put the sweet mint leaves in the kefir water for the second ferment with a little extra sugar and made an almost identical tasting drink with far less work and far less sugar.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2023, 08:07:36 pm »
Just a quick Kim update.  I got them back on track by backing down the amount of grains in each jar and increasing the fermentation time a little bit.  They have been cranking out great kefir water for us for several cycles now, and we are spending way less money on drinks from the store as a result.  Plus the chickens are loving the extra grains!
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2023, 08:43:17 pm »
I figured I'd update this thread, since I've really settled into a rhythm with Kim that is working well.  I have settled on 1/4 cup of grains per quart being the best amount, feeding them 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar, plus a pinch of baking soda every other feeding.  Occasionally, whenever they are looking a little sad, I'll fed them 1/2 molasses/1/2 sugar to give them a little boost.  I was feeding them every 3 days, but now that it's colder I'm feeding them every 4 days, since their metabolism is a little slower.  I have 4 quarts going, and I have been making all sorts of great fall flavors like apple and apple cinnamon lately.  Pear is also really delicious.  We also found that using the real soda bottles is kind of a hassle, so we just do the second ferment in another ball jar, and it pressurizes enough for our tastes. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline animal

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2023, 12:18:57 am »
dunno if you have a "Dollar Tree" in your area, or If you're interested, but the ones here have had bottles similar to Grolsch beer bottles for the past few months. The stopper is a rubber washer and plastic cap attached to a cam-lock wire. I admit to pressure testing them with CO2 in a natural way with no bad effects (making beer is illegal in MS without a licence, so I would never do that.) As almost everything in the store, they were $1.25 each.
but Grolsch bottles are definitely better (better glass, better wire, and porcelain top instead of plastic). Still have a few of unknown age (30 yrs plus) that have had the washer replaced several times.
Avatar pic by my oldest daughter (ink and watercolor)

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2023, 07:35:57 pm »
I think we have what you are describing, and we've just found that it's not worth the hassle to us.  If you wanted it to be as carbonated as a store-bought soda, you'd have to use one of those bottles, but we've found them to be kind of difficult to wash, and it's also difficult to tell when they are at the right level of carbonation, whereas with the ball jars, I just put them in the fridge when the I can't pop the lids down anymore. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline animal

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2023, 10:25:23 pm »
.. hadn't thought about a canning lid acting as a pressure indicator ... as the contents being good :cool:

and yeah, the bottles are hard to wash without a really good brush that's made for it and doing it soon after use.

Avatar pic by my oldest daughter (ink and watercolor)