What is eco-enzyme? Eco-enzyme is a multipurpose fermented solution by fermenting kitchen scraps with brown sugar and water. Eco-enzyme is also known as garbage enzyme and cleaning enzyme. It has many applications such as multi-purpose household cleaner (from cleaning your clothes to the toilet bowl!), plant fertilizer, pond purifier and many more. With the idea of turning kitchen scraps into useful eco-enzyme and saving money at the same time, I was sold!
After procrastinating for a long time, I finally started the project in 2019 but failed very early on. The Mandarin orange peels that I was collecting during Chinese New Year (CNY) became moldy in room temperature after a few weeks. The right way is to freeze the peels until you’re ready to start the fermenting.
DIY eco-enzyme day 108.
Well, I’m happy to announce that I’d finally completed my very first eco-enzyme project mid last year (2020). I’m very sure when CNY comes, I will start the process all over again. I don’t eat a lot of fruits on a daily/weekly/monthly basis (if I do, I will compost it together with vegetable scraps), so I figure it’s better to make the eco-enzyme after CNY when Mandarin oranges and pineapples are aplenty. That way, I can collect a lot at one go and not stretch the collecting for a few months. Also because the space in my freezer is very limited. 😛
Please note, I am by no means an expert in this subject as it’s only my first time. I’m sharing the steps I took to make eco-enzyme so that you can see for yourself how easy it is to make at home. I hope you will try it after that.
Easy DIY Eco-Enzyme At Home
The very first step: Collect kitchen scraps
A few weeks or months before fermenting the kitchen scraps with brown sugar and filtered water, freeze the rinsed raw and uncooked vegetable scraps and fruits scraps in the freezer. The duration depends on how fast or slow you are able to generate the scraps. If you cook often or eat fruits often, then you can accumulate the scraps faster. As mentioned above, you can speed up the collecting during CNY. By scraps, I mean the tops, ends and peels of vegetables and fruits. Don’t use anything spoiled.
I always compost my kitchen scraps, so I only use scraps that I have specifically frozen to make eco-enzyme. In my very first eco-enzyme, I used orange peels, pineapple peels, Mandarin orange peels, mini Mandarin orange peels and lemon peels.
A few weeks or months later: Prepare the things you need to use
* Frozen kitchen scraps
* Brown sugar (as long as it’s not white sugar = refined)
* Filtered water
* Air-tight glass jar(s) or plastic container(s)
Note: My ideal fermenting vessel is glass. Unfortunately, I don’t have a large glass jar. So at the moment, I’m using plastic containers that had been used for storing CNY cookies.
Ratio to determine how much to put this & that:
Note 1: 1ml water = 1g
Note 2: You don’t have to be very exact in the measurement.
Let’s start fermenting:
1. Defrost the kitchen scraps on the kitchen counter about an hour or two earlier. Wash the jar(s)/container(s) and get the other ingredients ready.
2. As shown in the table above, the brown sugar, kitchen scraps and filtered water ratio are 1:3:10. I’ve seen people using the ratio of 3:3:10 and 1:3:6 as well.
First, measure the defrosted kitchen scraps as it’s a fixed weight; you only have as much as what you’ve kept in the freezer. After determining the weight of the kitchen scraps, you can easily calculate the weight of brown sugar and filtered water. The example I gave in the table above of 80g brown sugar, 240g kitchen scraps and 800g filtered water is what I used for the making of my eco-enzyme. Instead of brown sugar, I used raw molasses sugar.
Note: Depending on your container size, you might not able to fit in all your scraps. So you can divide the scraps into 2, 3, etc portions. In my case, I divided the scraps into 2 equal-weight portions, so I used 2 containers.
3. After determining the weight of the ingredients, place the brown sugar and filtered water in the container. Mix well so that the sugar is diluted.
4. Then, add the kitchen scraps and give it a simple stir. Tighten the container and place in a cool and dark place.
DIY eco-enzyme day 1.
DIY eco-enzyme day 3.
5. Ferment the solution for 3 months. During the first month, you need to babysit it a bit by burping it every now and then due to gas buildup. Unscrew the lid to release the pressure. Make sure to screw back air-tight.
Note: I’m not sure if it’s because of the type of plastic container I used because when I unscrew the lid a few times in the first month, there was no pressure at all. It worried me whether the eco-enzyme will be successful.
3 months later: Prepare the things you need to use
* Clean water bottles or other types of containers to store the finished eco-enzyme solutions
* Sieve (preferably large)
DIY eco-enzyme day 108. Yeah, it went a little over 90 days.
Harvesting the eco-enzyme solution:
1. To separate the eco-enzyme solution from the residue kitchen scraps, place the sieve over the funnel and the funnel at the mouth of the water bottle. Scoop the solution with a ladle and sieve into the water bottle. If you’re using a wide-mouth container, you can skip the funnel.
Top view from my 2 bottles of DIY eco-enzyme day 108. They’re ready to be harvested.
2. Store the eco-enzyme solution in a cool and dark place. Usually, this solution is diluted with water before using. I never measure how much water or how much solution used. Just eyeball it. 😛 So far, I’ve used the solution to mop the floor and fertilize the plants. The floor will smell citrusy for a while after mopping. 🙂
This is one of my bottles of day 108 DIY eco-enzyme solution.
3. You can reuse the leftover kitchen scraps in the next batch (never tried it) or compost it. To compost, cut the chunks into smaller pieces and either bury or scatter around the plants.
I fed these leftover eco-enzyme kitchen scraps to my plants.
This is DIY eco-enzyme about 2 months after harvesting from my two bottles.
Comparing the above and below photos with 6 months difference, you’ll notice that I only use it minimally. Whoops, gotta be more hardworking utilizing this wonderful solution.
DIY eco-enzyme nearly 8 months after harvesting it. The color has turned dark brown. Only now did I noticed pressure build-up in one of the bottles.
As you can see, making DIY eco-enzyme at home is super easy. Sure, it took a long time but you don’t have to tend to it constantly. Try making your own eco-enzyme if you have not. I assure you the result is worth it.
That’s all from my DIY eco-enzyme adventure. If you have any tips or questions, don’t forget to leave it in the comment box below.