How to Travel with your Microbial Pets

Part of Edible Alchemy’s philosophy is to explore, learn and understand the world through touch, smell, taste, sight and even sound! POP…FizzzzZ. Thus, we do a lot of traveling to discover the worlds tastes and collect some of the techniques as well as the micro-organisms that are responsible for some of the incredible tangs and bubbles we have today. By bus, train, car, bike, and yes even over boarders by plane.

All these travels have allowed us to pick up and collect a lot of the cultures we have today. Our Icelandic sourdough bread (Cornelius) for example, who is 153 at the moment. Or our various kinds of milk kefir grains that have come from other travelers that went to Brazil, Mexico, Hungary and the ones I still have with me from Canada.

These ‘pets’, as we call them, are great travel buddies. I can make probiotic foods along the way, bake bread for hosts and always have something bubbling to offer – water kefir, kombucha, or even ginger beer.

If you were wondering HOW and WHAT we bring on a tour, then you can check out our little video from one of our Microbial Circus Tours to Bavaria.

On this tour, we had a Bacteria Bar and a Two-Day-Intensive fermentation course – so pretty much all ‘pets’ and supplies were needed. 

The other wild yeasts, bacteria and sugars are just picked up along the way. Cabbages for krauts and kimchi, apples and plumbs for vinegars, local nuts and seeds for cheeses. 

Taking some heritage yogurt culture on an organic cotton pad

Sometimes I take dried cultures in case I am on the road for a while and am not sure when the best time to use them would be. 

However most cultures are great to come along and just get a feeding here and there. 

Sugar is the most common food for most microbial pets (they are often made up of colonies of bacteria and yeast, and they LOVE sugar!), it is simple to get little packs from coffee shops and give you cultures a little feeding from time to time. 

Water kefir is one of my favorite traveling pets to take to more tropical locations. First, to try out the local fruits and sugars. Think starfruit, mango, dragon fruit from Thailand, or panela from Mexico. Second, to get great living bacteria into my gut and protect me from some foreign bacteria that might otherwise bother me along the way. And third, these healthy water kefir crystals can make my drinking experience safer as well as keeping me hydrated another the way.  Let the flavors of your travels also be alive (i.e. probiotic). 

If you are traveling via plane, pack your cultures in extra ziplock bags to avoid leakages from the air pressure. 

If you only have carry-on, make sure every liquid like yogurt, sourdough, even water kefir is packed in 100ml jars. Feel free to put these guys in your toiletries case. If boarder control asks what that white creamy substance is, it is a face-cream. 😉 

However, taking these microbes along everywhere isn’t always possible. A total no-go if going to Oz or NZ. Find more temporary pets there is my suggestion. 

The chances are that there will already be someone with water kefir, kombucha, jun or milk kefir where you go. Perhaps you too become a yeast collector and discover new tastes along the way! Let us know what you found! 

Going traveling with your pets? Tell us your stories. Ask us questions before you leave for more tips & tricks. Let us know your thoughts and if you need any microbial ‘pets’ you know where to come. 

Next stop CRETE, Greece! Everyone is coming along. Follow our story on the Fermentation Diary

Your Bacteria Barista, 

Alexis 

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