Kombucha Can anyone identify this form
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha looks like a mushroom, but it's something completely different. For the sake of simplicity, one speaks of the Kombucha mushroom. Kombucha is a tough, smooth, slippery mass that forms lamellae. These lamellae consist of a transparent, very tough fabric with a series of brown spots, especially below. Under the microscope it can be seen that these spots are concentrations of yeast cells.
The smooth white side of the mushroom is the top from which the mushroom grows. The rough, brownish side is the bottom. The mushroom first grows in width, then in height. The mushroom takes the shape of the container in which it lies. A round fermentation jar makes a round mushroom, a square container makes a square mushroom, and a large jar makes a large mushroom.
The Kombucha mushroom can appear as a beautiful, transparent, smooth, gelatinous, round disc or as a white to gray mass with an irregular underside. Sometimes it is thick and leathery with many scars. At other times it is a convex disc with bubbles on top or slimy threads underneath, which gives it a jellyfish resemblance.
In fact, the fungus is a variable community of different types of yeast and bacteria, a complex of microscopic beings, a large factory that produces various useful and beneficial substances through all kinds of complex biochemical reactions.
As a living being and for optimal function, external factors are important for the fungus, such as the supply of nutrients and oxygen, the temperature, etc. The composition is variable, depending on the origin, cultivation method and hygiene or correct or incorrect treatment.
The fungus does not always react in the same way to its surroundings and therefore cannot always look the same, just as two apples on the same tree are never identical.
- Fermentation glass: Because of its acids, the Kombucha mushroom should not come into contact with metal or plastic for a long time. Long-term contact leads to undesirable chemical reactions. Toxic metal salts are formed, which can also react with the tannins from the tea. The safest and most unproblematic form of storage is a glass container.
- Clean water: The quality of the water used plays a major role in kombucha production. Soft, clean drinking water is absolutely essential. It must be free of chlorine and possibly fluorine (added to drinking water in some countries). Tap water in combination with a softening water filter is best.
- Tea: Only unflavored black or green tea is suitable for growing kombucha. It contains the essential nutrients that kombucha needs.
- Sugar: Kombucha needs sugar as an energy supplier.
- Warmth: The right temperature is critical. If the temperature is too low, below 18 ° C, fermentation will slow down. The optimal fermentation temperature is 25 to 30 ° C. A perfect, constant and ideal fermentation temperature can be achieved by using a hot plate.
- Oxygen: Oxygen is essential, so the fermentation glass should never be hermetically sealed. Close the jar with a fine-meshed linen fabric, which
is fastened with a rubber ring exactly around the neck of the glass. No dirt particles or insects (vinegar flies) should get to the Kombucha mushroom.
- Hygiene: Wash hands thoroughly with non-perfumed soap before starting. Keep the material and equipment clean. Always rinse with clean (boiling) water. Avoid disinfectants such as chlorinated water. Keep the work area clean and free of unnecessary items. Make sure that there are no flower pots in the vicinity. Germs from the potting soil can have a contaminating effect.
- Rest: The new fungus begins to grow when a thin skin becomes visible on the surface of the liquid. It runs down from the mother sponge. If the surface of the liquid is exposed to constant vibration, this skin cannot form. Later, when the fungus has grown thicker, touching it can cause it to sink to the bottom of the jar. The sunken mushroom then has to form a completely new mushroom, which again takes a lot of time and prevents the formation of a homogeneous layer on the top.
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