Looking for something red white and blue to serve at your Independence Day BBQ? Or how about just red. Cuz that’s what I actually have for you. Cherry kombucha is probably my very favorite or at least my most frequently-made kombucha. It’s is what I throw in my bag or picnic basket for everything of a potluck-y nature in the summer, knowing that even those who don’t love kombucha can rarely resist its ruby charms.
The easy, longer way to do this is to stick a jar of finished kombucha in the fridge with about 10-20% whole cherries in (~3/4 of a cup cherries per quart jar of booch). I let it stew in there for a week or longer (it really just gets better and better for up to a month). It takes on a gorgeous, deep red color and tastes like summer.
The way that I’m going to recommend to you today is a bit more work, but is both faster and fizzier since it’s a true secondary fermentation.
I’ve been digging on these 32 oz growlers for all of my secondary beverage fermentation since a friend gave me a couple as Secret Santa gift last year. They are pretty, sleek and they do a very nice job of trapping fizz. With my intense number of ferments, I never have a ton of space in the fridge. And with only two of us in the family (the dog isn’t a kombucha fan) drinking this stuff, I don’t like to bottle a ton at a time.
Lucky you, dear reader, Fillmore Container has these gorgeous, amber “growlettes” for a super low price (seriously, try pricing them elsewhere. The difference is nuts), as well as some larger-sized options for those of you who have more space in and around your fridge. One of you will have the chance to win two of these growlers and a stainless steel strainer that will help you make this version of my Cherry Cherry Booch Booch (Gaga? Anyone?). You’ll be brewing flavorful secondaries of all kinds of ‘booch in no time. These are also great for fermented beverages of other kinds from beer to water kefir.
CHERRY CHERRY BOOCH BOOCH (CHERRY KOMBUCHA RECIPE)
yields one quart of cherry kombucha, scales well || Fermentation Time 3 days || Active Time 30 minutes ||
There are a lot of ways to end up with a fizzier ferment, but the best way to get fizzy booch is to bottle your tea when it’s still sweet. If you’re in the habit of letting it get to the sourer side of Sears, you’ll want to curtail that habit and cut fermentation time by a goodly amount. I keep two continuous brew systems going: one for immediate drinking and one for bottling. I’m not recommending that, I’m just offering up that you’ll need a “fresher” brew if you want bottling to lead to bubbles.
- 8oz sweet cherries
- 3 cups finished but still sweet kombucha, divided
- Pit your cherries. Place them into a food processor or blender with about a 1/2 cup of the finished kombucha and blend until liquified.
- Pour the mixture into your growler and add the remaining kombucha.
- Seal your container tightly, keeping in mind that you need to keep a close eye on glass containers. Although these containers are built to withstand the pressure of internal carbonation, explosions can happen. See the notes below for some tips on bottling in glass.
- Allow your bottle to sit at room temperature for 2 days, or until you are sure that full carbonation occurred (by using one of the methods below).
- Stick your growlette in the fridge overnight or for at least a few hours until chilled. Feel free to leave it in your fridge for a week.
- Once it’s chilled, strain the kombucha into glasses for drinking. Garnishing the rim with a cherry and enjoy! The remaining kombucha stores extremely well.
Notes on bottling in glass vessels:
Many people bottle in glass and stick a raisin in there. When the raisin floats to the top, you know the beverage is carbonated. That doesn’t work well here for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a little tricky (but not impossible) to see in the amber bottles. More importantly, as much as you may blend, you cherries will not be truly liquid unless you strain them out before you bottle. That’s a viable option, but I think more flavor is imparted if straining happens after secondary fermentation. So the deal is that any cherry solids left will almost immediately rise to the top. They’ll impede you from seeing the raisin’s rise and defeat the purpose. In other words, I don’t recommend using the risin’ raisin for this particular carbonation process.
Instead, bottle another batch in a plastic container. When the container is too hard to squeeze, you’ll know it’s time to stick your glass bottles in the fridge. You can do the same with a quart ball jar, and keep tabs on the lid. When it’s puffed and hard or misshapen by the pressure, it’s time for everyone to head into the cool spots.
I personally keep my glass bottles or growlers either inside a small cooler or in a double paper grocery bag. If there’s an explosion, at least it won’t be in my face.
Again, explosions are quite unlikely to happen with a secondary kombucha, but they are definitely possible so due care and attention should be paid.
Now for that giveaway! Disclosure – I loved these growlers so much that I asked Fillmore Container if they would offer them to readers. They agreed and also sent me a couple, plus some larger growlers, the stainless steel funnel strainer and the mason jar cherry pitter to play around with. Opinions on all items are my own. And while we’re on the topic of opinions, I would never have thought I needed a cherry pitter. I was quite content with my wine bottle/chopstick method until this little beauty came along. It’s CRAZY how much more efficient and cherry-saving it is. Here’s a video from Fillmore on how to use it properly.