TIBICOS


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Tibicos

Tibicos, also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California Bees, and in older literature also known as Bébées, African bees, Ale nuts, Australian bees, Balm of Gilead, Beer seeds, Beer plant, Bees, Ginger Beer plant, Ginger bees, Japanese Beer seeds and Vinegar bees are a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. As with kefir grains, the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas which carbonates the drink Tibicos are found around the world, with no two cultures being exactly the same. Typical tibicos have a mix of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly othersTibicos, also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California Bees, and in older literature also known as Bébées, African bees, Ale nuts, Australian bees, Balm of Gilead, Beer seeds, Beer plant, Bees, Ginger Beer plant, Ginger bees, Japanese Beer seeds and Vinegar bees are a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. As with kefir grains, the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas which carbonates the drink.

Tibicos are found around the world, with no two cultures being exactly the same. Typical tibicos have a mix of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly others. Lactobacillus brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide (dextran) that forms the grains. Pidoux (1989) also identifies the sugary kefir grain with the ginger beer plant. There are certainly opportunistic bacteria taking advantage of this stable symbiotic relation which might be the reason for the many different names/distinction in the scientific literature. Different ingredients/hygienic conditions might also change the fungal and bacteriological composition leading to the different names. This has to be established by further research, however People who do not wish to consume dairy products may find that water kefir provides probiotics without the need for dairy or tea cultured products, like kombucha. Since the finished product, if bottled, will produce a carbonated beverage, it provides an alternative to sweet soda drinks for children and adults Origin There are at least two references in the scientific literature relating to the origin of the Tibi. According to these papers tibicos forms on the leaves of the Opuntia cactus (orig. Mexico) as hard granules that can be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution as propagating tibicos Lactobacillus brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide (dextran) that forms the grains. Pidoux (1989) also identifies the sugary kefir grain with the ginger beer plant. There are certainly opportunistic bacteria taking advantage of this stable symbiotic relation which might be the reason for the many different names/distinction in the scientific literature. Different ingredients/hygienic conditions might also change the fungal and bacteriological composition leading to the different names. This has to be established by further research, however.

People who do not wish to consume dairy products may find that water kefir provides probiotics without the need for dairy or tea cultured products, like kombucha. Since the finished product, if bottled, will produce a carbonated beverage, it provides an alternative to sweet soda drinks for children and adults.

Origin

There are at least two references in the scientific literature relating to the origin of the Tibi. According to these papers tibicos forms on the leaves of the Opuntia cactus (orig. Mexico) as hard granules that can be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution as propagating tibicos.

Preparation

Preparation Basic preparation method is to add tibicos to a sugary liquid and allow to ferment 24 to 48 hours. A typical recipe might be 1/4 to 1/2 cup of tibicos 1 dried fig, halved 1/2 lemon 60 grams or 4 tablespoons of white sugar * 1 litre (4 cups) of water * 2 litre jar with lid Method dissolve the sugar in the water, add the juice of the lemon, the lemon half, and the fig. After mixing, drop in the tibicos and cover the jar. If the lid is on tightly, you get a carbonated drink; if loose, a still drink. Set the jar aside to ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. When finished, strain out the tibicos to add to the next batchBasic preparation method is to add tibicos to a sugary liquid and allow to ferment 24 to 48 hours. A typical recipe might be:
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup of tibicos
* 1 dried fig, halved
* 1/2 lemon
* 60 grams or 4 tablespoons of white sugar
* 1 litre (4 cups) of water
* 2 litre jar with lid

Method: dissolve the sugar in the water, add the juice of the lemon, the lemon half, and the fig. After mixing, drop in the tibicos and cover the jar. If the lid is on tightly, you get a carbonated drink; if loose, a still drink. Set the jar aside to ferment at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. When finished, strain out the tibicos to add to the next batch.

It is important to use ingredients that will not inhibit the fermentation. This means:
* if using tap water, filter or boil to remove chlorine (note that boiling does not remove chloramine)
* fresh fruit should be washed to remove pesticide residues, and ideally be organic fruit
* dried fruit should be preservative free, so as not to unbalance the bacteria counts in the tibicos or water kefir.

It is recommended to follow the above recipe to maintain a healthy culture. The fruits used may be changed and mixed to create difference taste, however, it is very important to use the lemon or other acidic fruit like grapefruit. This is for the safety factor of those drinking the finished beverage as the pH of 3.0 to 4.6 is desired. It is important to use ingredients that will not inhibit the fermentation. This means if using tap water, filter or boil to remove chlorine (note that boiling does not remove chloramine) fresh fruit should be washed to remove pesticide residues, and ideally be organic fruit dried fruit should be preservative free, so as not to unbalance the bacteria counts in the tibicos or water kefir It is recommended to follow the above recipe to maintain a healthy culture The fruits used may be changed and mixed to create difference taste, however, it is very important to use the lemon or other acidic fruit like grapefruit This is for the safety factor of those drinking the finished beverage as the pH of 3.0 to 4.6 is desired Additional precaution has to be taken in order to keep the cultures healthy. All the handling needs to be done without usage of reactive metals such as aluminium, since this can cause considerable damage to the grains. Stainless steel, plastic, ceramic or glass are preferable. Culturing grains in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and using clean stainless steel or plastic utensils when handling the grains is recommended. Once a batch is ready it may be consumed fresh throughout the day or stored in sealed bottles in the refrigerator for a few daysAdditional precaution has to be taken in order to keep the cultures healthy. All the handling needs to be done without usage of reactive metals such as aluminium, since this can cause considerable damage to the grains. Stainless steel, plastic, ceramic or glass are preferable. Culturing grains in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and using clean stainless steel or plastic utensils when handling the grains is recommended. Once a batch is ready it may be consumed fresh throughout the day or stored in sealed bottles in the refrigerator for a few days.

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