Friday, June 18, 2010

Kombucha the poor man's acid

In a homestead situation, or in a situation of natural disaster, some things that we are accustomed to having become difficult to come by. Typically, fats and strong acids are really tough to come by. The average (especially the average American) would not have the means or understanding to make any type of cooking fat or any strong acid. Without refrigeration, acidification typically is used to preserve foods. Fermented foods, like kvass (fermented beets) kraut, kefir, yogurt, and pickles keep the nutritional value of foods intact and prevent the growth of microbes that cause illness.

It is my goal to be able to live without modern conveniences if necessary. I have learned how to render fat from animal sources as well as how to safely ferment foods. In this post I will talk about having a source of acid. Many of the microbes that live in the Kombucha scoby are in the Acetobacter genus. These microbes typically make vinegar. I have found that if I leave my kombucha long enough I have a very passable vinegar. My friend tested her's with a Ph meter and it was pretty acidic. Commercial vinegar is stronger, but not too much. I keep a few spare kombucha pots going in case someone needs a starter. They produce far more kombucha than I can use. I have begun to intentionally let it sour and use it in place of purchased vinegar.

So far I have used filtered Kombucha as fabric softener. (This works great if you have hard water.) I have used it to make a surface cleaner and I have used it to make sauces, marinades and salad dressings. I have also used it as a decalcifier for my milk jars. Anywhere something acidic is needed, Kombucha will work fine.

A bubbly glass of kombucha is as refreshing as pop, but much better for you. So lest I lead you to believe that kombucha is only good for cleaning, etc., remember,  it is yummy when brewed to your specific taste and it has so many healthful properties. Don't use it all for cleaning your kitchen!

Please send me comments, sharing what you want to learn that will enable you to live without some modern convenience. Also any novel uses for home cultured products would be appreciated.

Culture on!

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