Microbial Gastronomy 101: Lesson 1 Chaga Tea
Updated: 3 days ago
Good day mon Petites! Welcome to Microbial Gastronomy here at the Society of Symbionts! I am your teacher, Chef Fermé Brewer! I am so excited to share with you the many ways we work with the giant kind to make ingestion of their nutrients more fun and exciting! You see, the giants are very large and complex compared to most of us. They need a wide variety of things to keep their very complicated systems running and unlike us awesome microbes, they can’t make it on their own! Another unique trait they have is needing to enjoy the experience of taking in the nutrients they use to create energy, silly humans!
Before we get started, let me tell you about myself, I am a classically trained chef from Le Paris! I’ve worked at all the most famous kitchens making beautiful loaves of bread and pastries, wine, beer and so many dishes that not only provided needed nutrients for their health but made them smile and make the ultimate complementary sound, the burp!
Wow Chef, burping sounds like a funny way of saying you like something!
Yes, Yersinia, it is, they giants are indeed very strange! But as I said, giants don’t just envelop nutrients as microbes do, they like to consume them in various ways: hot and cold liquids, chewy masses, crunchy bits, sweet, sour, even frozen things! One thing that is absolutely vital to them is water, they are actually made up of a lot of it. They do get bored with consuming plain water and have come up with many concoctions to ingest it. You see, what we will study here are ways we microbes can help keep the giants healthy, happy, and burping!
So without further adieu, let’s get started with today’s lesson: Chaga, Ginger Tumeric Tea! Let me just sip this special juice, oh wait, uh-oh!
Chef! I'm covered in this red liquid, what's that smell!?!
Oh, that, never mind, that's just my special fermented juice for big microbes, anyways, our fungal friends, Chaga mushrooms are found in birch forests in the northern hemisphere. It grows as a burnt-looking mass on white and yellow birch trees.
I believe Ms. Myco Rhiza will be doing a Chaga Mushroom Hunting Field Trip, so keep your eyes out. It is quite tough and usually requires tools (knife/ax). Chaga can provide nutrients and can assist the giants in several ways:
Nutrient dense food
Lower blood pressure
Lower blood sugar
Prevent cell damage
Lots of antioxidants
May prevent/fight cancer
Slows the aging process
But chaga is quite hard and the giants can't just eat it, so one way they can get it inside is to make a tea out of it. Basically, tea is made by soaking various things in water to add flavor, color, and nutrients. The giants drink it hot or cold and even add other stuff to make it sweet, spicy or creamy. We are going to use two different methods, stovetop, and their new-fangled Instant Pot - boy do they love their gadgets! So get into some groups and let’s cook!
4-5 chunks of Chaga
4-5 chunks ginger root (fresh peeled) - optional - if you like it spicy feel free to increase the ginger
4-5 slices of fresh peeled tumeric root (or 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder) - optional
Black Pepper (to release the nutrition in the turmeric)
Chef, Yersinia threw chaga and hit me!
Hey! Don’t throw that Chaga you little rascals - it's pretty hard to find!
For those of you cooking on the stovetop, bring the water to a boil, THEN add your Chaga, ginger, and turmeric and reduce the heat until it is gently simmering and then, just let it simmer for 2-4 hours. Now for 'crobes
with an Instant Pot - put everything in the pot and close it up with the steam knob closed. Use the manual setting to set to LOW pressure for 2-3 hours and let it go! When your timers go off, grab your cheesecloth and place it over your jar (I like to push it down a little and put the jar twist top on to hold it) and carefully pour your tea into the jar.
No, no wait, don’t throw that Chaga away!
Why not Chef?
Set it out to dry - you can reuse it 4-5 times! Go ahead and get rid of that ginger and turmeric - you can clean the cheesecloth and reuse it also (the turmeric does stain everything yellow though, it’s quite a lovely shade)!
Ok, let’s take a look at your tea! It’s a beautiful dark shade and has a woody/spicy smell. Let’s all take a sip, aaaaaaahhhhhhhh, so smooth and lovely! Tastes a little spicy and woodsy doesn’t it? There's a lot of health benefits for the giants and they'll love it! Great job my little friends - you run along to your next class, I think I'm ready for a little nap. Come back next time and I have some notes somewhere around here on our next lesson, now, where did I put that? Maybe it's under my special juice bottle, oh dear, never you mind, I'll find it! Drink your chaga tea and see you next time!