By following a few simple measures, one can keep the culture strong and contamination free. There are many types of unwanted air-born or surface contaminations; however, by keeping the cultures covered as much as possible we can greatly reduce the amount ofwild yeasts and unwanted molds.
By reducing the amount of foreign and unwanted invaders, the kombucha strains stay strong, healthy, and viable.
Through neglect, improper environmental conditions, or the wrong nutrients, the mushroom culture can become weak and susceptible to contamination. By following the steps below your kombucha culture should last a lifetime and more.
Steps For Preventing Mold and Contamination on Kombucha Mushroom
and Tips For Keeping Your Culture Happy & Healthy !
1. KEEP CULTURES COVERED AT ALL TIMES
Keep the culture jars or brewing containers covered with a clean section of cloth or breathable material and secured tightly with rubber bands or string.
2. NO SMOKING
Do NOT smoke cigarettes and tobacco around the kombucha fermenting area or even better not to smoke in the same house. Smoke molecules may kill or weaken the cultures. Kombucha dislikes constitutes found in the tobacco smoke and mat be directly be affected by this action.
3. USE QUALITY INGREDIENTS
Though at first this may not seem to be a step in preventing mold contamination, however, by feeding your culture (and yourself) the highest quality ingredients you provide the best range of nutrients and less chemicals and preservatives. Organic tea and sugars at the store!
4. SELECTING A PROPER BREWING SPACE
Selecting a proper area for the kombucha tea to sit and brew can make all the difference in the world between a healthy culture and a sick one.
The kombucha mushroom requires a nice warm place, out of direct sunlight, to ferment the tea solution. The closer to 80 deg F the better the cultures will grow. The faster the cultures can grow out within the tea/sugar solution the less chance of contamination by mold.
Keep the kombucha out of the kitchen area. Although this is the most convenient place for most people to store and brew, it is also the worst!
Smoke from cooking, burning fats, and other particles are again not to the liking of the mushroom culture. Out of all areas in your house, including the bathroom, the kitchen area has the most wild yeast, molds, and germs. Not only do dirty surfaces, sink drains, and leftover food particles in the kitchen provide a breeding ground for unwanted molds and bacteria. The kitchen area also provides other abundant sources of molds and wild yeast through the washing and prepping of fruits and vegetables.
5. KEEPING PROPER TEMPERATURE
This may not seem to have much to do with contamination, but by maintaining the proper temperature range of 75 to 85 degrees F the kombucha will ferment the tea solution much faster. The faster the kombucha yeast and bacteria strains can culture out the tea solution the less food and less chance of contamination by invaders. Finding the correct place within your home can make a big difference on the temperature of the brewing tea.
6. CORRECT pH
This, by far, is the most important factor and the key to keeping your kombucha healthy and viable! Why? Because if the pH of any solution or mixture is below 4.5 pH, on the pH scale, it is very hard for all but a few micro-bacteria to grow. By keeping the pH low (acidic), the likely hood of mold ever growing on the surface of your SCOBY is very unlikely. This is also the easiest tip to follow. We keep the pH of kombucha low by adding what is called 'starter tea' to every new batch of tea. Keep the pH of the culture below 4.5 as most molds can only grow in a higher pH solution. More on kombucha pH
Do this by using a good amount of fermented 'starter tea' from your last batch to lower the pH of the new batch of fresh tea solution. Testing you new batch of tea using pH test strips with a narrow range of 0-6 pH will tell you what the acid content of the tea. It is recommended to keep adding starter tea until the pH is lowered to the correct range. Purchase pH test strips here.
7. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS AND LAST TIPS
Keep the cultures away from plants, as the soil contains millions of spore and microbes per inch of soil. Keep plants in a different room if possible. Lastly, use common sense and good hygiene when brewing your own tea. Clean any glassware and utensils before each use and wash hands before handling the cultures. Remember that correctly fermented tea always has a slight vinegar smell but not a musty or moldy smell.
Of course if there is mold on the kombucha culture then discard the tea cultures and never try to 'save' a culture once it has been overgrown with something unknown that could be dangerous to your health or life.
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