Author Topic: My New Pet  (Read 3511 times)

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Offline The15thMember

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My New Pet
« on: June 04, 2023, 01:05:37 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.  :D

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.  ;D  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!  :)






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 Zweefer

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2023, 02:21:10 pm »
Does it alter the flavor at all?
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2023, 04:43:55 pm »
Does it alter the flavor at all?
Does what alter what flavor?  The grains will metabolize the sugar into lactic acid and CO2 so the liquid will get less sweet.  During the second fermentation the fruit will obviously add flavor as well.     
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 Bakersdozen

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2023, 10:07:21 am »
Keep us updated on Kim's progress.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2023, 07:57:23 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 Jen

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2023, 11:53:33 am »
Very cool 15th. My daughter is an alchemist/herbalist/master-gardener sorta gal. She loves making kombucha's and all things pickled and fermented. She no doubt has the healthiest gut on the planet.
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2023, 10:41:38 pm »
I guess I am just used to terms like fermenting and using yeast for all my carbonation needs… I’ll have to look into this a bit as it sounds pretty cool


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Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2023, 07:20:25 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.  :-\
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 #8 on: June 13, 2023, 10:35:27 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.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2023, 08:04:45 pm »
This is a very interesting topic.  I am just now getting back into edible seed sprouting.  I haven't done that since the 80's.  I am really enjoying salads and sandwiches with sprouts and homegrown lettuce.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2023, 09:26:05 pm »
This is a very interesting topic.  I am just now getting back into edible seed sprouting.  I haven't done that since the 80's.  I am really enjoying salads and sandwiches with sprouts and homegrown lettuce.
Oh cool!  I've never grown sprouts, although we do grow lettuce in the garden.  I have eaten sprouts before though, and they are tasty.         
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 #11 on: June 16, 2023, 01:37:08 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 The15thMember

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Re: My New Pet
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2023, 07:51:47 pm »
Something else we discovered 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.   :D
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: June 30, 2023, 02:42:05 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 did switch from demerara to turbinado sugar, but 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 #14 on: November 03, 2023, 03:05:31 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.