Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Farewell to Scoby

 A co-worker pressed a starter batch of Kombucha on me after I expressed casual interest in making the fermented concoction.  Kombucha, a fermented tea, had appealed to my mad scientist side. I consider myself an adventurous cook, creative, and maybe a little reckless.  (Like, for instance, the time I cut up a pepper for a salad without tasting it and made the hottest salad of my life.)

There I was with a jar of some strange circular mold that I thought of as the "mother", but I would learn was the SCOBY.  My colleague had given me some instructions, and I had watched a bunch of videos about the methods of making Kombucha, all of them narrated by fanatics.  I quickly ascertained that making Kombucha might involve a little more precision than I was willing to commit.

I considered bailing altogether, but decided at the last minute that I should at least make an attempt on the recipe, perhaps I could just wing it.  I'll just cut to the chase and tell you that my batch was a total failure.  One sip made the acid in my stomach rise like the tide.

The menace.
When my work colleague asked how it turned out, I had to admit that it was a failure, I was going to have to throw it out.  "No don't get rid of it, it makes a great cleaning product."  Well, that wasn't really my intention, it was time for my brief Kombucha career to end.

I left the Scoby in a jar in my fridge, as well as a small jar of "juice".  As the jar sat there, the Scoby continued to grow. Even the juice jar grew a small "oyster" of Scoby.  The longer it stayed in the fridge, the bigger it became. I would know someone rummaging through the fridge had uncovered it when they would pause and then exclaim in horror, "What the hell is in this jar?"

I started to become a little afraid  of it. How was I going to get rid of it? I imagined it exploding out of the jar and gnawing on a forgotten cauliflower behind a carton of orange juice.  Or what if I added it to the compost pile and instead of assisting with the biological breakdown of the pile it instead fermented into some new form of intelligent life?

 I chose to ignore it for four or five months.

Shortly before burial.
Then, one trash day right before we were to leave town for a week, I decided it had to go.  I poured the liquid off the Scoby and slid it into a plastic bag which I slammed into the trash can.  Our county incinerates its trash, so hopefully the Scoby died by fire before it could consume any other organic material. As for the jar of juice, I decided to use it's cleaning properties to cleanse my garbage disposal.

 It has been working great ever since.
Future drain cleaner.