If ever I needed a sign to tell me to stay the fuck out of my kitchen, two nights ago I got it.
One of my newest addictions is creating delicious variations of water kefir. What is water kefir, you might ask? Water kefir grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. When the grains are added to sugar water and the concoction maintained at room temperature, the grains metabolize the sugar turning the resulting water into probiotic-rich drink. The first fermentation process takes approximately two days and produces a rather bland beverage. The second fermentation process is where the magic happens, and flavors and additional sugar is added to create an effervescent, soda-like drink. I have mastered Apple Pie water kefir, Root beer, Lemon-Ginger, Lingonberry, Blueberry, and my youngest daughter’s favorite: Strawberry water kefir.
Normally, my water kefir production line consists of the following… The first fermentation is completed in a quart mason jar, with a doubled-up paper towel rubber-banded around the top to keep out the nasties. After the 2-3 day fermentation process is complete, the grains are strained off, and another couple of tablespoons of sugar and flavoring is added. I normally complete the second fermentation in a quart mason jar with lid and the band loosely tightened. I will normally burp my second ferment once a day to relieve any built up pressure, to prevent explosion. I normally allow the second ferment to take place on my countertop. Except, maintaining the “room temperature” has proven quite difficult in the winter time. So, I created a makeshift greenhouse with a large, empty clear tub placed over a heating vent on the floor in the living room, with all of my ferments snuggled around. This, normally, has been quite an effective set-up. Once the 2-3 day second fermentation process is complete, I then strain off all large additives, pour the finished product into a flip top bottle and place in the refrigerator. Normally.
My latest water kefir creation was a tried-and-true root beer flavor. Only, for whatever reason, I decided to bypass the quart jar in the second fermenting process, and added all flavorings and extra sugar to a flip top bottle. I placed the bottle lovingly under the plastic tub and left that day to go to work.
Saturday was unseasonably warm – with all of my shades full open in the house, the living room was a whopping 77 degrees when I got home from work. After getting dinner started I decided that I best not wait too much longer for a burping of my second ferment. I carefully lifted the plastic tub, picked up the bottle of kefir, and flipped the metal lid holding the bottle stopper.
Ever see one of those jackasses put a handful of Mentos in a 2-liter of warm soda, shooting soda all over anything in near proximity? Yeah, the other day, I was that jackass.
The pressurized liquid in the flip top bottle shot out like a rocket, and hit the ceiling with enough force to knock down some of the texture. After realizing what was happening, I tilted the bottle away from me and towards my family, sitting unsuspectingly in the kitchen. Dumbfounded and exhausted from the day, I just kind of stood there, gushing pressurized sugar water all over the cabinets, the walls, the windows, the curtains, the plants, the laptop, the countertops and the floor.
Jameson dove out of the way just in time, however his dinner plate at the counter collected a nice helping of root beer water kefir. Kenzie was far enough from the range of fire that she only received a few rain drops of water kefir on her and her book she was reading. I have never heard my five-year old belly laugh as hard as she did that day though. My husband stood against the sink, his mouth hitting the floor. When our gazes met, I saw instant disappointment and an “oh fuck, what now” look cross his face. He had just spent the past four days attempting to unclog the kitchen sink from my sauerkraut situation.
Out of the quart of water kefir that had originally been in the flip top bottle, only 7 ounces remained after the explosion. Sigh. 25 ounces of sugar water, all over my kitchen and living room. It took the family a little over two hours to help me clean up that mess, and I am still finding little sticky spots here and there. I probably always will.
Marty made me promise to never again open the flip tops in the house. My second ferment discoveries will be done outside, off the deck and away from anything that could be damaged. Like our laptop… I thought that it would be salvaged, however last night as I attempted to type a ‘t’, it ended up coming out ‘ttttvvvvvvvvv5/’.=, and the backspace produced a ‘[[[[[[…mmmm’. Take a look at your keyboard – notice those letters anywhere near each other? Nope. Fucked. I am hurriedly typing out this post on my work computer so that I can share. If I don’t post for awhile, you will know the reason why. Either that, or my husband decided that he finally had enough of my shit and he eradicated the basis of all of our recent domicile destructions.