Home Filtration Methods for Healthy Cultures
Whether you’re tending a sourdough starter, conceiving a kombucha SCOBY or cultivating a kefir culture, you want to make sure you’re starting with the healthiest, cleanest ingredients to ensure not only the best possible taste and quality of your yield but also the stamina of your bacterial community. While our DIY Kits are arranged to provide you with everything from killer kefir grains to quality culturing sugar, one of the most important ingredients in any probiotic passion project is so obvious many people tend to overlook it.
Water is essential to the life and longevity of all living things on earth. From plants to animals, fungi, even the microorganisms found in fermentation, water is at the core of all cellular life and determines to a great extent the health and wellbeing of that which it powers. Unfortunately, with modern source harvesting, treatment methods, even climate change, the purity and integrity of our most important natural commodity is becoming more compromised every day. Today, there are water concerns such as:
- algae blooms
- PFAS carcinogens
- secondary disinfectant chemicals like chlorine and chloramine
All of these are not only bad for our water but can be detrimental to the health of good bacteria in our starters and SCOBYs as well as our gut biome.
Thankfully, at-home water filtration systems have made it possible for anyone to create a rich culture of good, healthy symbiotic bacteria without needing to buy bottled water. Here, we’ll go over a couple methods of DIY water filtration so that you can decide what’s best for your home, health, and cultures.
Carbon is one of the most abundant and vital elements in our known universe. Its uses range from diamond production to carbon dating, even pigment and fiber synthesis for industrial applications. In its activated or granular state, carbon’s pore structure and surface area are so complex that it’s able to trap and neutralize even some of the smallest water and air contaminants through a process called adsorption. This basically means the carbon attracts the chemicals in your water and they get stuck to it, preventing it from contaminating your water.
Many chemicals and secondary disinfectants like chlorine and chloramine are used to treat our tap water at modern water treatment facilities. These harsh chemicals are introduced into the water supply to kill all forms of living bacteria. They’re great for the elimination of diseases like E. Coli and Legionella, but these secondary disinfectants stay in our tap water and are not only harmful to the good bacteria within our bodies but also the healthy bacteria colonies we strive to cultivate in our cultures and starters. Using its adsorptive barrier, a good activated carbon block filtration system is able to quickly and efficiently remove chlorine and chloramine while also balancing a healthy level of beneficial minerals and dissolved solids in tap water for taste and nutrients.
If you don’t plan on needing a ton of water, or you’re making small batches and recipes, you can get a decent carbon block result from faucet mount or pitcher filters like Zero Water filters. However, these systems don’t last long and may not be certified to remove 100% of chlorine and chloramines from your tap water.
We recommend an easy-to-install under counter carbon block filtration system, like the Brondell Coral system, if you’re looking to go this route. These systems produce virtually unlimited chlorine and chloramine-free tap water at the turn of a handle, without bulky equipment or a heavy price tag.
While carbon filtration is able to easily rid your tap water of all secondary disinfectants like chlorine and chloramine, it might not catch some of the smaller pollutant molecules like the fluoride and PFAS carcinogens embedded in many municipal water sources. Though these chemicals haven’t been proven to affect the metabolic rates or reactions in yeast and fermentation activity, they are likely to produce inorganic chemical byproducts, salts, and fluorocarbons that may affect the taste and quality of your kombuchas, kefirs, yogurts, or breads.
Removing these chemical reagents is almost impossible using standard water filtration systems. Outside of time-consuming and expensive distillation rigs, only reverse osmosis water filtration systems have the power to completely strip your water of all chemicals, pollutants, and dissolved solids.
Reverse osmosis, or RO, systems work by forcing contaminated water through a semipermeable membrane, a type of super filter, before storing the purified water in a specialized holding tank for when you need it. Since the filtering process is so selective in reverse osmosis, much of the water that doesn’t make it past the membrane is discarded as wastewater and flushed through your sink’s drainage system.
With advances in RO technology, there is no reason to buy an inefficient system with a waste-to-water ratio of 10:1 or 20:1. We recommend the Brondell Circle reverse osmosis water filtration system. With a waste-to-water ratio of only 2:1, it’s the smartest and most efficient RO option on the market.
With Reverse Osmosis, you can be sure that your water is 100% pure H2O. Nothing will contaminate or discolor the healthy cultures and enzymes you need to create your delicious fermented and probiotic recipes.
Of course there are other options for filtration if you have the time or money to spend. They include:
Pros: It’s very effective in removing all contaminants from water.
Cons: It’s only produces a limited amount of clean water. Works very slowly.
Pros: It’s effective in removing chemicals and disinfectants like chloramine.
Cons: It takes almost 30 hours to effectively boil 10 gallons of water.
Pros: It’s very quick. It’s cheap.
Cons: This method leaves behind byproducts like excess sodium which may affect the taste of your recipes.
Now that we’ve covered some of the best options for home water filtration, we hope you can use these methods to ensure your cultures, starters, and products maintain the same health, vitality, and happiness that they provide you!
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