What is nata de coco? It is like a combined jelly ace and bubble gum – a chewy jelly made of coconut water/milk. It has the semi transparent and wiggly characteristics of jelly ace and the chewy property of bubble gum – but not as elastic.
What is nata de coco in English? I guess the proper term would be the name itself “nata de coco”. To describe, it is a cellulose formed by bacterial action in a suitable substrate, a bacterial cellulose. It is able to hold about 90% water.
What are the materials needed in making nata?
1) Nata starter. Perhaps it is the limiting factor why anyone could not jumped easily into nata making. Where to find nata starter?
I mentioned before that nata is a bacterial cellulose. It is synthesized by Acetobacter xylinum. A common bacteria responsible for spoiling good wines. An essential microorganisms in vinegar industry. Acetobacter bacteria can also be found from rotting fruits and spoiled juices.
Nata could be produced from scratch using mother vinegar/rotten fruit plus the favorable conditions. Starting with the pure cultures would be easier though. Get it from government agencies, training institutions or universities.
2) Juice. Coconut is well known in nata industry. However, nata can also be made of other juices such as mango, pineapple and vegetables like kalabasa.
3) Sugar. The ideal amount in juice is ten percent. Juice natural sugar content if insufficient should be reinforced with commercial sugar. The acetobacter use this to make cellulose.
4) Acetic acid. The optimum pH for maximum activity is 4. The organic acid is added to meet this pH value.
5) Ammonium sulfate. It serves as source of nitrogen. Necessary for growth, development and formation of enzymes. Juice usually provides enough nitrogen, commercial ammonium sulfate is added as assurance. The ideal amount is 0.5 percent.
6) Temperature. Room temperature of 28 to 30ºC should be maintained. Mentaining this value is a bit tricky and costly. It is like turning the air conditioner when too hot and having heater bulb when too cold.
7) Fifteen to twenty days of undisturbed fermentation is needed to produced 1.5 cm thick nata out of 5m deep solution.