But the thing is, though, that jerky typically is made from some sort of animal protein, which is pretty much the most expensive type of food you can buy. Making jerky pretty much out of the budget for our family.
Imagine, just imagine, that you were able to make jerky for free. Yes, that's possible if you hunt or fish, but since we can't do either where I live, I can't get animal protein for free.
There is a free alternative.
Recently, a friend of mine, Pascal Bauder, from Transitional Gastronomy, posted on Facebook a picture of homemade jerky. Made from a mother of vinegar.
A mother of vinegar is a sheet of cellulose that turns alcoholic beverages into vinegar. It makes the liquid probiotic, full of beneficial bacterias. And mothers of vinegar grow on their own.
Pascal said he was inspired to make mother of vinegar jerky because you can make jellyfish jerky and mother of vinegars remind him of jellyfish.
Well, I got inspired by Pascal's mother of vinegar jerky and thought about kombucha mushroom and their similarities to mothers of vinegar.
When making kombucha, each time you grow a new mother, also called a kombucha mother or SCOBY. These just grow and grow and eventually you have so many that you don't know what to do with them. Some people throw them out, but it's a shame, as they are very full of probiotics and are medicinal.
So, here's how I did it.
I took the kombucha mushrooms and cut them into thin slices, no more than a quarter inch thick each.
Then I soaked them in water for an hour, since kombucha mushrooms are usually very acidic and I wanted the jerky to be palatable- all flavors get more concentrated when dehydrated.
After a soak, I rinsed them, then soaked again for another hour.
I marinated the mushrooms in a bunch of sauces, basically what I had on hand- some sweet red wine, gluten free soy sauce, garlic powder, a little salt, sriracha sauce, and a dash of liquid smoke. Any flavor combination is fine, taking note that it would have to compliment the acidity already in the mushroom.
I lay the marinated mushrooms on an oven tray lined with parchment paper and put them in the oven on the lowest setting possible with the door propped open for a few hours, or until they were no longer moist, but jerky like and chewy. I could have used my homemade dehydrator for that, but I was being lazy about taking it out of storage...
Awesome stuff! Tasty! Very chewy, but that's what jerky is supposed to be like.
It was definitely reminiscent of regular jerky, and I think the liquid smoke helped give it a more meaty flavor. Next time I want to try making it with a more terriyaki flavored marinade, as that is my favorite flavor of jerky.
My only recommendation- try to make the jerky in shorter narrower strips to make them easier to eat.
Are you a jerky fan? What flavors of jerky have you made? Do you find it to be a cheap food or a very overpriced food when making from scratch?
Are you kombucha drinkers? What do you do with your left over mushrooms?
Does this look like something you'd try out?