A few folks have asked for the recipe for a recent batch of elderberry kombucha. Â There isn’t much of a recipe – it is simply kombucha put through a secondary fermentation with fruit added. Â Here is the process:
I am currently brewing my kombucha using the Wild Fermentation group‘s method of 3 black tea bags, 2 green tea, and 1 oolong for each gallon of water. Â You can also set up a continuous brew system, which I hope to set up in a crockery dispenser very soon.
Once the kombucha has reached the desired level of tangyness, remove the SCOBY, and reserve a 1/2 cup or so of kombucha to jump-start your next batch.
From here, you have a few choices. Â The first option is starting a secondary ferment of your Â booch right in the jar, and starting your new batch of kombucha (with SCOBY) in a new vessel. Â This is how I have always done it previously – usually with lemon juice and a little brown sugar, or diced strawberries. Â Covered and left on the counter for a few days, it will turn into a fizzy, fruity version that my kids find quite superior to plain-old kombucha.
The downside of this is that the entire gallon is one flavor. Â This means you are taking quite a risk when experimenting with flavor combinations. Â That persimmon-molasses kombucha I thought would turn out so great? Â Yeah, well, that was a whole gallon none of my kids would drink. Â But there is another option.
A while back, I had pinned a blog post from MyÂ GutsyÂ that featured fruit combinations for secondary fermentation of kombucha. Â It was very late at night, and I was skimming whole-foody type blogs and knitting and half-dozing off, and I should have read her post more closely. Â She does her second ferment right in the bottle! Â Brilliant! Â Why hadn’t I ever done this before? Â Now, I can try small batches of different flavors, and it is already bottled up and ready to go when I am scrambling to get out the door for homeschool park day or church or what-have-you.
She recommendsÂ Â re-using kombucha and tea bottles (about 16 oz), adding 1/4 cup fruit juice or puree and filling the rest of the bottle with booch, but also gives ratios for other sizes of glass containers. Â I used some chia-drink and iced-tea bottles I had washed out and saved in our basement canning room (I knew they would come to good use someday!).
For some of the bottles, I picked a few blackberries from the yard, crushed them, and added a little orange juice. Â For some, I used my old stand-by scaled down to = 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Â For the remainder of the bottles, I went with elderberry syrup:
For each 16 ounce jar, I added 2 Tbsp of elderberry syrup. Â Because the syrup already contains quite a bit of sugar, and the elderberries have a strong and distinctive flavor, I thought it might be best to start with 1/2 of Gutsy’s recommended amount of fruit juice. Â I was sure to leave a good 2-inches of head-space to prevent breakage, and left it on the counter, tightly sealed, for two days.
The resulting drink is a beautiful magenta color (see top photo), and has just the right amount of sweetness and berry flavor plus fizz. Â Of all the flavor combinations we tried, the kids loved the elderberry best (George could be heard shouting, “BOOOOCH!! More Â BOOOCH!!” Halfway across Sellwood Park). Â So, today when I bottled up another round of kombucha, every jar has an added immune-boosting dose of Â elderberry syrup.
A few notes of safety –
1)Raw elderberries contain some cyanide (which cooking removes), and the stems and seeds contain even more. Â Please follow my safety guidelines, which can be found here, and do not add raw elderberries to your kombucha.
2)Kombucha is a living food, and helps populate good intestinal flora. Â Begin consuming kombucha or any fermented or cultured food in small amounts (a Tbsp or so at a time). Â Ease it into your diet in order to avoid digestive upset, gas, etc.)
3 thoughts on “Elderberry Kombucha”
Oh, that looks delicious. I’ve been wanting to make some (after going to a kombucha workshop about making different flavors) but I still haven’t tried. YUM!
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I add chopped crystallised ginger to kombucha straight in the bottle.It’s very yum after a few days.
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