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Hang on scoby, scoby hang on.
August 20, 2012 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Can I save my scoby?

I left my huge, beautiful kombucha scoby in the fridge for about four months. Apparently that is very bad. Whoops. Is there anything I can do to hygienically revive it? It's in an airtight jar on the kitchen counter right now (and weirdly it appears to have had a baby during its chilly vacation). Mold prevention tips appreciated.
posted by oinopaponton to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If it made a daughter colony then it wasn't dormant, which is what the linked article suggests is bad about keeping a SCOBY in the fridge (i.e., the benign / healthy critters die leaving room for mold and the rest.)

Is your scoby moldy? does it have black, green, or white spots anywhere on its surface? How adventurous are you?

Because for the cost of the raw ingredients, you could make a whole fresh batch and watch it carefully for mold. If after a couple weeks fermenting it still just looks like a scoby making kombucha (i.e., you don't see any unfamiliar activity), I'd drink a small amount and see what happens. NOTE: That's a risk, so know what you're doing.

Anecdata: I've kept kombucha scobys in the fridge for a while and then used them without incident. YMMV of course.
posted by gauche at 1:40 PM on August 20, 2012


Ahem, looking further down the article I see that it seems you don't get mold activity until the second batch. Make two batches and see. (I'm not convinced that your colony has gone dormant.)
posted by gauche at 1:42 PM on August 20, 2012


Huh. I've stored my extra kombucha scobys (scobies?) in the fridge and never had a problem. When taken out of storage to make a batch they might take a little longer to get fermenting than a culture that was never chilled, but I've never had one go moldy or even result in weird kombucha. I've given them to friends and they work fine for other people too. I've done a lot of reading on kombucha and have been making my own for years, and never once heard about refrigeration being a problem except that it slows fermentation. I suspect that the panicky tone of that website might have something to do with the fact that they sell their own kombucha kits.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 1:58 PM on August 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, if you're worried about mold: What I often do when starting a new batch with either a new container or a new scoby that I got from someone else, is wipe down the inside of the container really well with white or apple cider vinegar before adding the tea & culture (scoby). Then I pour in the tea, add the scoby, and splash the top of the scoby with a bit of vinegar to kill off any airborn microbes that might be on the surface. Works for me.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 2:02 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep sourdough starter in the fridge, I don't see much difference but definitely ignore me if you disagree. Being refrigerated keeps the thing at a moderate level of growth, doubling once a week rather than once a day. This makes feeding much easier, otherwise I'm dumping flour and water in daily.

The key with these things is to keep the organisms healthy, so that other things can't get in. (Just like any good ecosystem.) You should be able to see or smell the difference if your colony is having troubles. If it's still eating and growing appropriately at room temperature, there's no visual cues, and the smell hasn't changed, you should be fine. Temperature affects growth rates, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:54 PM on August 20, 2012


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