Zobo, also known as hibiscus tea, is a popular Nigerian non-alcoholic beverage made by boiling dried hibiscus sabdariffa flower petals in water, together with ginger, pineapple, spices, sugar, and other artificial sweeteners, flavours, and vitamins. In this article, you are going to see how you can preserve your zobo drink without having to use a refrigerator.
This popular drink is refreshing and contains lots of nutrients. However, the shelf life is very short. Microorganisms quickly breed within the dried petals and cause zobo drink to spoil quickly.
Zobo will go bad in about 24 hours after production if not preserved. This 24-hour shelf life could be less if microorganisms gained access during the production process.
The shelf-life of zobo drink can be improved by producing it under hygienic conditions with very clean water and packaging it in sterilized bottles.
This is why it is very important to sterilize items and equipment to keep microorganisms in check during the production process of zobo. But regardless, without proper preservation, zobo drinks will still go bad.
Zobo drinks are best consumed within 24 hours from the time of preparation. But you might want to keep some for later, hence the desire to preserve them.
Refrigerating or freezing is the easiest method to preserve zobo drinks for the short term.
Refrigerating or freezing zobo drinks just after production slows down the growth of microorganisms that are responsible for zobo drinks to get bad.
Hence they are easy ways to keep zobo drinks in good condition for up to a week while Refrigerating or for months while freezing.
However, the issue of unsteady light supply in the country does not make it a reliable way of preserving zobo drinks.
If you are someone who produces this beverage in large quantities, it is common to have the problem of preserving them. So how can you preserve zobo drink without a refrigerator? Let’s look at how to do that.
How to preserve zobo drink without refrigerator
The shelf life of zobo can be increased through pasteurization, enabling it to be preserved for longer. This process involves using heat to kill the microorganisms that might be in the beverage.
The already prepared zobo drinks are exposed to the heat of up to 100°C for about 2 minutes before being rapidly cooled in water.
Pasteurized zobo drinks can stay preserved for a few weeks. However, pasteurization can affect the taste of zobo since the heat can also destroy some of the nutritional contents.
Using Aseptic Packaging
Aseptic packaging is simply a highly sterilized process of filling a product in a package. The package and the product are sterilized and put together under hygienic conditions, otherwise known as aseptic conditions.
The package is then sealed tightly to prevent microorganisms from re-entering. This type of preservation process is popular with commercially produced beverages.
Your favorite fruit juice you buy from the store is preserved using aseptic packaging.
Through Aseptic packaging, shelf life of zobo can be improved without adding preservatives. Aseptic packaging preserves zobo drinks for about 4 months.
But Aseptic packaging is very expensive, and this way of preserving zobo is suitable for people who produce large quantities for commercial purposes.
If you produce in small quantities, you have to use another way of preserving zobo drinks.
Preservatives help to prevent microorganisms from growing inside the zobo drink, thus increasing the shelf life. Microorganisms prefer to grow at a certain pH level that is conducive to them.
Preservatives lower the pH of the making it unconducive for microorganisms to survive. The type of preservatives you can use can be natural preservatives or chemicals.
Ginger, Lime, Cloves, Nutmeg, Garlic, kola nut and Cinnamon are commonly used natural preservatives. These can increase the shelf life of zobo when added to the recipe.
You can add any of the above preservatives in moderate quantities to your zobo recipe during production.
Each natural preservative has different effectiveness which will determine how much longer the zobo drink will stay without spoiling. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon or lime are very effective choices for natural preservatives.
Chemical preservatives is an alternative choice if you are producing zobo in large quantities for commercial purposes and you cannot afford to use Aseptic packaging.
They can preserve Zobo drinks for up to 40 days especially if you combine this with pasteurization. Sodium benzoate is a common chemical preservative. Mix the appropriate quantity your zobo drink during production.
Chemical preservatives usually come with instructions on how to use them written on the container. The only downside to using chemical preservatives is that it affects the drink’s nutritional value.
There might also be a change in the taste of the zobo drink. You can balance this with juice from fruits. Please ensure to put a label indicating the chemical you used as a preservative so that the buyers will know.