When you read the title I'm curious what first came to your mind, because I'm wondering how many of you real foodies have had this happen before?
What a weekend…
We switched the boys' rooms around (so I can have my own OFFICE!!!) and I'd never done so many loads of laundry all at once before. It was at least 12 loads. I've also never done so much vacuuming — I'm here to tell you that kids' bedrooms can get disgusting under all that stuff they don't like to put away. And sorting through every little piece of junk that they like to hang onto, plus moving furniture, switching dressers, etc., it was a ton of work!
However, the worst job of the weekend BY FAR was cleaning up ‘the explosion'.
I've told you before how powerful kefir soda is (click here for how to make Homemade Soda Pop, a.k.a. kefir soda!), but I was talking about the benefits to our gut from the probiotics, and especially the benefits of NOT drinking the nasty soda from the store, but this time it was powerful in a different way…
My kefir soda exploded, not one, but TWO bottles. All. Over. The fridge.
Every nook and cranny had big and teeny tiny pieces of glass. It was in our downstairs fridge, so I filled up the sink with hot soapy water and went at it. It took almost 2 hours and by the time I was done I'd thrown away gads of bottles of old salad dressings and other unrecognizables.
I learned something:
I found what must have been a really old bottle of kefir soda hiding in the back, and I learned that if you leave it around long enough, it forms a scoby-looking thing just like kombucha does. I guess this makes sense since they're kind of similar. (Read here why I like kefir soda better, though: 5 Reasons Why I Love Kefir Soda More than Kombucha Tea.)
The big question…
When I was done I had to figure out a way to contain any future explosions, because if it happened to two bottles, obviously it can happen again; I must have let my latest batch go too long on the counter for the second ferment and it got a liiiiiiittle too fizzy. (I need to get different bottles like these so I can “burp” them when needed.)
Kent came up with a good solution.
First I found a little tub that I was going to snap shut and keep in the fridge to store the bottles in, but Kent had a better idea: to just put them in one of the fridge drawers and cover it with a towel. Now if it happens again, hopefully it'll only be a mess inside the drawer. (Pictured below with the rubberband are my kefir grains — I store them like that in between when I'm making it. You can get kefir grains here.)
Has this happened to you before, with either kefir soda, kombucha, or some other overly volatile real food?
UPDATE: It happened AGAIN! Wonder if the towel kept the mess contained??
Last night we were in bed and just about to sleep when we heard a loud noise like something really huge was dropped somewhere in the house. Kent got up to check on the kids and they were fine. No one knew what it was, so we went back to sleep. Pretty soon we heard kids' feet running to our room, “Another kefir soda exploded in the fridge downstairs!” I asked, “It's all contained in the towel in the crisper drawer though, right?” They said, “Most of it is.” Kent told them, “OK, we'll deal with it tomorrow.” So I finally looked… How could there have been THAT big a mess when they were wrapped in a towel and in a drawer?! Well, it still took me well over an hour of picking up teeny tiny pieces of glass AGAIN in every little ridge of the lower half of the fridge.
I don't know what the deal is and why they're exploding lately when they didn't before! I'm not feeling real excited about making another batch of kefir soda pop for a while. Again, I need to get different bottles like these so I can “burp” them, and then I'll probably be brave and make it again.
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Rena Norris says
I had a store purchased bottle explode in my kitchen last night. It was sitting out. The bottom blew off and the bottle flew over 4 feet it cut my hand when it flew by. It could have severely injured or killed me. This is dangerous stuff.
I had a bottle of water kefir with juice fermenting on the counter and it exploded and put a hole in my drywall!! This really scared me. My husband had just been in the kitchen. I love water kefir soda but as hard as I try, I can’t remember to be burping bottles all the time. We live in Arizona so the fermentation happens so fast!! I’ve built up the courage to start again but now I keep the bottles in Tupperware in the pantry while they second ferment. And though I love the bubbles, I don’t let it get too fizzy anymore. Too bad there isn’t an easier way!!
Stacey oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!
My Lacto-Fermented Soda exploded last month all over my room. Oops. But it happens. I know I probably should’ve been mad or upset that I had so much cleaning to do, but honestly, I could not stop laughing. Have a great day 🙂
Wow Sage, you have a great attitude about it! 🙂
I use swing top bottles and they will explode too. I learned not to fill them too full. I also set the bottle in the sink and put a towel over the top when I burp or open it if there is a chance of too much carbonation.
Are you using swing top bottles? I have never had them explode. I have had a few geysers when I opened them if the orange pulp rose to the top.
Nope, mine are bottle caps that I put on with a capper tool.
Oh yeah! This week I had my second ferment with frozen raspberries on the counter for a couple of days. Saw that the raspberries had all floated to the top of the narrow bottle and tried to slosh them out of there. Well that set up for an exciting opening–raspberries everywhere!! On the ceiling, walls, floor and all over me-just as I was heading out to work. Not a great way to start the day.
The remaining soda was nice an bubbly though!
Chelsea McNamara says
This seriously happened to me too! I had a raspberry flavor in latch bottles and they are so hard to open. I wasn’t prepared because it was my first batch and then raspberry kefir soda was all over my kitchen!? I was so stunned! I have learned that I have to do it in the sink and I hold down the top with my hand and slowly let the carbonation out! I’m still experimenting with all of this.
Hi Chelsea, that’s not a fun lesson to learn is it?!!! 🙂
Yup, killed two bottles on separate occasions, in the fridge. Now I’m always under-fermenting. 🙁 I need to dedicate a towel to wrapping the bottles. I have also started burbing my bottles every morning in the fridge.
I’ve been lucky so far. Mostly I’m chiming in to say we did some kid’s room cleaning this weekend too. I actually uttered the words, “Could someone please vacuum the fish food from the sock drawer?”
Yes! It has happened with both kombucha and water kefir at my house, though more with water kefir–it ferments more quickly and with more “enthusiasm”. (And when it happens, it is VERY startling!) Here is how I have pretty much (fingers crossed) fixed the problem:
With water kefir, I now only bottle it in re-purposed raw apple cider vinegar bottles (Braggs or Tree of Life brands–just save your vinegar bottles when the vinegar’s gone). Those bottles are made of thick, strong glass that can take the pressure. I’ve had many other types of bottles explode before, but never a re-used vinegar bottle.
With Kombucha, I just use less fruit in my second ferment (bottled). If I put in too much fruit (more than a few berries, for example), it gives just too much extra sugar for the microbes to eat, which means more gasses created, and under the tightly capped pressure, it can be more than the bottle or cap can handle.
I’ll add that some friends of ours, who are kombucha masters if there ever was one, allow their kombucha to ferment in the bottles (2nd ferment) for a minimum of 3 weeks before drinking it because of how awesomely the flavor and carbonation develops (just don’t bottle it very sour and don’t add very much fruit). They place the bottles in coolers–at room temp, not with ice–because of the potential of explosions. It contains the mess if it happens. On a related note, with any naturally carbonated beverage, it helps immensely to refrigerate till very cold before opening the bottle to reduce pressure and spill over.
I had a bottle explode on the counter. We found a huge (about 6 inches long x 4 inches wide) piece about 15 feet from where it expoloded. That scared the heck out of me! I am not sure if I let it go too long, or it was too warm. Now I put them in a cupboard AND cover with a towel during that last ferment.
That’s a good idea. Cleaning the mess out of the fridge was bad enough, can’t imagine finding it all over the kitchen!
Though the term summer may be a bit too strong of a word for where we live (very northern California average temperature of 63), I want to pull out my water kefir grains and give this a try again.