I have been playing with many different flavors of fermented beverages this summer, and I think I have found my favorite of the season. When I start making the same batch over and over again that is a good sign that it is delicious.
This year's pick is strawberries ( from the backyard when they were in abundance) and ginger.
I also made this batch with hibiscus flowers for one round, also delicious.
For those who are new to Kombucha, this is an ancient fermented tea beverage, a starter is needed to make the drink, and this starter is called a SCOBY ( Symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeasts).
Shown here. Isn't she beautiful!
Meadowsweet has been running Kombucha workshops over the past year and a half to share the love of fermented foods and show how simple it is to make your own (stay tuned, there will be more workshops coming this fall). I am not going to go into the full benefits of the drink here, but rather share the simple recipe to make a general batch of green tea kombucha, and the ability to make it extra special with strawberries and ginger.
4 litres filtered water
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
4 teaspoons loose leaf green tea
1 SCOBY culture with 1/2 cup kombucha liquid. (acquired from a friend, bought in dehydrated form from a health food store, or boughtonline here)
Large handful washed strawberries ( juicer is needed )
3 inch piece of ginger
Boil the water
Remove from heat, add the sugar and tea, stir to dissolve sugar and allow green tea to steep for at least 10 mins.
Strain the tea leaves from the water, add the now brewed sweet tea to a 4 litre glass jar.
Cover with a clean dishtowel and leave in the fridge or on the counter until the tea has cooled to room temperature.
Then add the SCOBY and the kombucha liquid. Cover the jar with doubled up cheesecloth (this is an aerobic process, oxygen is required to assist in the fermentation process) or some type of breathable CLEAN fabric. There should a couple inches of room between top of the jar and the fabric. Fabric should be dense enough that dust, insects, will not get in and ruin your batch.
Allow the jar to sit at room temperature ( I use my spare room dresser where it is quiet and dark) for a week. The kombucha should begin to form a new SCOBY on the top of the jar, this may look like a thin, clear, or whitish layer, odd bubbles may even form.
The beverage will ferment at a different rate for everyone, depending on the temperature of your house, seasons, strength of your SCOBY etc. Colder temps mean a slower fermentation rate while warmer means quicker. Feel free to taste your batch after a few days, it will begin to acquire an acidity similar to vinegar.
The longer you leave it the more vinegary it will become (and the more beneficial bacteria is produced ).
Let your taste buds decide :)
Once it is ready for the second round of fermentation, strain the SCOBY out of the batch. Store this in a jar with the lid on loosely and enough kombucha liquid to start your next batch and keep the SCOBY happy. Store in a dark cupboard.
Juice your strawberries and ginger and add this to the kombucha.
Bottle and leave for for 2-6 days, again depending on your house and temperature, the carbonation will take less or more time.
If you feel the carbonation is happening quickly, burp your bottles to release the pressure.
Store in the fridge when it is at your desired carbonation level.