Food & Body

News: You're Eating Mold & You Don't Even Know It

Koji is a culture made up of a certain fungus (mold) called Aspergillus oryzae, which has been used to ferment rice and soybeans in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean kitchens for centuries. Koji can actually have other involved fungi, but Aspergillus oryzae is the most common, and therefore the names can be used interchangeably. Its end purpose is to enhance the flavor of items like soy sauce, sake, and miso.

News: 14 Types of Bacteria & 10 Strains of Fungus Are Responsible for All the Delicious Flavors of Cheese

If you want to appreciate the value of microbes, look no further than a chunk of cheese. Because cheese roughly traces back to the Neolithic Era, we might say the earliest cheesemakers were the first humans to manipulate microbes—without even knowing it. Now, thanks to microbiologists and the long tradition of cheesemaking, we know a lot more about the microbes that make our favorite types of cheese possible.

How To: Tell When It's Safe to Eat Around Moldy Food

It's always the snack you're most looking forward to that ends up being moldy when you open the fridge to grab it. Always. That slice of leftover pizza or chunk of cheese you've been thinking about all day? We've all been there. What separates us is how we choose to deal with it. Personally, I toss anything that has even the slightest hint of mold, but not everyone errs on the side of caution. Some people don't mind the risk and just cut off the green or fuzzy parts and eat the rest.

News: Frustrated by Acne? New Research Shows Skin Microbiome Makes a Difference

The squiggly guys in this article's cover image are Propionibacterium acnes. These bacteria live in low-oxygen conditions at the base of hair follicles all over your body. They mind their own business, eating cellular debris and sebum, the oily stuff secreted by sebaceous glands that help keep things moisturized. Everybody has P. acnes bacteria—which are commonly blamed for causing acne—but researchers took a bigger view and discovered P. acnes may also play a part in keeping your skin clear.

How To: Brew Your Own Ginger Beer Like a Boss

Step aside, ginger ale; ginger beer is here, and it's delicious. Ginger beer is made by fermenting a combination of ginger simple syrup, yeast, and water, which gives it its robust flavor and sparkling quality. It's extremely simple to make, but you do have to wait a bit for the final product. After a few days, though, your ginger beer will be sparkling and ready to drink as is, or in your favorite cocktail.

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