Recipe of the week: Kombucha
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Brew your own batch of the tea-based fermented drink. With this recipe, you create a basic version of the tea-based fermented drink, which can be flavoured with fruit and herbs of your choice.
(Makes 1 litre)
4 tea bags or 4tbsp (level) loose-leaf tea (black, green, white or herbal)
1L boiling filtered water
85g raw, organic caster sugar
1 kombucha scoby
2tbsp kombucha from a previous batch, or 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
You will also need:
A 1.5L jar or jug, for fermentation
Cheesecloth or a clean tea towel
Bottles, for storage
1. Brew the tea with the boiling water in a heatproof jug, allowing it to steep for 30 minutes to one hour. Strain the tea into the jar or jug, then whisk in the sugar until dissolved.
2. Once your tea has cooled to room temperature, add your scoby. Pour in the two tablespoons of kombucha or apple cider vinegar – this helps to kick-start fermentation; add more if you want to speed up the fermentation (or brewing) process.
3. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to ferment at room temperature (18–22°C) for five days to two weeks.
4. Strain the kombucha through a cloth-lined sieve into a jug. Pour into bottles and seal with corks or stoppers. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours to build up carbonation. Then keep in the fridge until ready to drink, or for up to six weeks; the longer you leave it, the tangier it will become.
Blend the kombucha with 150g fresh fruit, one tablespoon of spice or a large handful of the herb, and an extra one to two tablespoons of sugar to taste. Strain through a cloth and pour into bottles. Seal and ferment at room temperature for a day before placing in the fridge. For optimum flavour, drink within one month. These are some of my favourites:
Spring: Blood orange and cardamom
Summer: Strawberry and rose petals; redcurrant and bay; apricot and thyme
Autumn: Blackberry and lavender; pear and chamomile; fig and rosemary
Winter: Cranberry, fresh ginger and star anise