Death of a kombucha
You know when you suddenly remember you have a blog? I mean, it’s not like you forgot, what with that random little nagging thought in the back of your mind, “Yeah, maybe I should post that recipe I’ve been promising to people…” And then you see it’s been at least a month that’s gone by with nary a peep?
I hope I’m not the only one who has the odd experience of being aware that time is flying by but not so aware that the length of time that has actually passed ends up startling me.
I suppose turning my life upside down would make a few things escape my mind.
As my much-loved friend Rebecca has said, I never do anything by halves, and it’s only recently that I’ve realized just how true that is.
After I got back from my trip to Let Live in Portland in late June, within a week I had decided upon a number of things that now have me moving, adopting and welcoming a new feathered friend into my life, pursuing dreams I’ve long neglected and completely changing my career path.
Amidst all of this change, there has been a casualty. Two, actually.
This past Tuesday, after reading about just what vinegar flies could do to my kombucha brew, I promptly marched home and dumped down the kitchen drain 2 large jars of kombucha, scobies and all, that was ready to bottle that very day.
Some time after the start of my 3rd batch of kombucha, vinegar flies (which so many of us mistakenly call fruit flies) started showing up en masse in my kitchen. I’m still not quite sure where they came from since there was no fresh fruit sitting on the kitchen table. I suspect word got out in the vinegar fly world that there was a kombucha buffet at my place, and thus they came.
Recently I’d relocated my 5th batch of kombucha to the top of my refrigerator, which is warmer than my counter, to free up some badly needed counter space. But I’d completely forgotten to cover the tops of my brewing jars with material fine enough to keep vinegar flies off and their eggs from falling through and ending up *on* my scobies.
Having little flies come to investigate my dinner as I eat has been wearing my patience thin, and I decided to find out about ways to discourage them from loving me and my kitchen. My little fly trap bowls full of vinegar and sugar haven’t worked well (nevermind that this isn’t so vegan) and I needed another solution.
I’m both glad and disgusted about what I found.
One detailed wiki picture and the mention of maggots was all I needed to find out about. No matter whether my newest batch of kombucha was contaminated with fly larve or not, I was going to toss all of it.
If you think that’s gross, the idea of possibly drinking tiny little maggots that grew on top of a scoby, you’ll lose your lunch over this: there are some people far less squeamish than me who think it’s perfectly fine to get a magnifying glass and tweezers and pick the maggots right out of their scoby. Others will simply “wash” their scoby, assume all the larvae’s been flushed away, and start over again with the *same* scoby. In the words of one brave brewer, “What’s a little extra protein gonna hurt?”
So not for me. I don’t care if my brew was fine or not. I was determined to throw my kombucha babies out with the brew water, and so I did. I’ll grow my own new scoby from a bottle of store-bought kombucha I found with a baby scoby in it. So what if I’m kombucha-less for a week or two?
Lesson to be learned here: no matter if it’s a fine mesh material (which I used) or cheesecloth (a popular and wayward covering option for kombucha jars), just stick with a finely woven material, like a piece of fabric from pillowcase or bedsheet, a jersey t-shirt, a linen teatowel, or something similar. Really, don’t even be tempted to use anything else.