“Fall Fermenting Frenzy”

My perfect Fall weekend… yoga and gym on Saturday; then all day Sunday in the kitchen.  And it is raining hard with snow up the hill at higher elevations, so a perfect day to spend cooking and preserving.  Even though it is mid-November, I harvested CORN and TOMATOES last week, plus beets, fennel, pomegranates and fuyu persimmons.  What a cornucopia of summer/fall abundance in the garden.  Tomatoes are in the dehydrator, shucked the corn and roasted it to freeze for later.  Just finished roasting the beets and fennel for a salad tonight; made my second batch of kombocha and also shredded beets and apples which are now in jars on my counter fermenting. I think my “squirreling” instincts have kicked in with the cooler weather… this is more food prep than I have done in the past 6 months!

A few weeks ago, my friend, Jennifer gave me her Blueberry Kombocha recipe.   It is the best kombocha I have tasted, so I am hoping mine comes out as delicious.  My first batch is bottled up and into a second fermentation with the blueberries, so will know in about a week how it turns out.

For those fermenting fans out there, here are the Fermented Apples & Beets and Blueberry Kombocha Recipes.  The Roasted Beet, Fennel and Orange Salad is still in the works so that will be my next post!

"Colorful beets from the garden"
“Colorful beets from the garden”


INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES:  (makes about 3 pints)

5 or 6 medium-sized organic beets, assorted varieties like Chioggia, Golden, and Dark Red make a beautiful mix

2 or 3 organic apples (I still had some Granny Smith’s left so used those, but any firm apple works)

Sea Salt

Sterilized glass jars with lids (3 or 4 pint sized jars)


Peel off any tough, discolored beet skin but leave some skin because it has the bacteria needed for fermenting.  Core but do not peel the apples (that’s why they should be organic).  You can use a hand grater, but I confess I brought out my Cusinart today to speed things up.  Shred the beets, then the apples and put them together in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sea salt and mix very well with a wooden spoon, pushing down to release juices.

"Colorful shredded apples and beets"
“Colorful shredded apples and beets”

Pack the clean jars VERY TIGHTLY with the shredded beets and apples, leaving about 1 inch of headspace.  Now, using the handle of your wooden spoon really push down the mixture and pack it in, adding a bit more if you have room.  You should have liquid releasing and covering the beets and apples COMPLETELY.  If there is not quite enough liquid to cover everything, add a little brine (mix 2 tsp. salt per quart of warm water) until everything is under liquid.  There should still be about ½ inch of air space at the top.  I put a sprig of fresh fennel on top of each jar, since I happened to have some from the salad I was making.  Screw the lids on the jars but not too tightly.  Put the jars on a plate in case they bubble over and leave in a warm accessible place.  You will need to check on them twice a day to push the beets/apples below the surface of the liquid.  If they are above the liquid, add a bit more brine to cover and then put the lids back on and check again later.  Do this for 3 – 7 days until they are bubbling (fermentation is occurring).  When you like the flavor, put the jars in the fridge which will stop the fermentation process. They will store in fridge for months, if they last that long!

"Packing the beets and apples into the jars"
“Packing the beets and apples into the jars”

I LOVE the combination of apples and beets in fermenting because the apples add a sweetness that counteracts the saltiness of the fermenting brine.   I have not had problems with spoilage because I check them regularly and always make sure the liquid is covering everything.  If they are exposed to air the vegetables can start to get moldy which is not a good thing.  Though, I have heard you can just scrape off the top moldy part and they will be fine.  Moldy stuff does not appeal to me, so I always make sure they are covered with liquid.




"Scoby floating on top of sweet green tea mixture"
“Scoby floating on top of sweet green tea mixture”

INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES:  (makes six 16 oz. bottles)

10 -12 green tea bags (I used Yogi brand Kombocha Decaf Green Tea) or 12 grams of loose green tea

1 cup organic white sugar

1 cup distilled white vinegar

3 quarts filtered water

1 scoby (I got mine from a friend, but you can order them from Amazon –of course!)

1 bag frozen  organic blueberries

1 gallon glass jar, sterilized

Glass or stainless steel large pot (at least 4 quart capacity)

Wooden spoon for stirring

Clean, unbleached cloth (like flour sack), or unbleached coffee filter that will fit over gallon jar top

6 sterilized 16 oz.glass bottles with high pressure caps  (YES, Amazon carries these, too)

"Pouring the week old kombocha into jars with blueberries"
“Pouring the week old kombocha into jars with blueberries”
    Make sure everything is cleaned with hot soapy water and rinsed well.  Fill the pot with the 3 quarts of water and bring to vigorous boil.  Add the tea bags and let boil for 10 seconds, then turn off heat, cover the pot and let tea bags steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags and add cup of sugar, stir well with wooden spoon and let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can add ice cubes or just do your laundry and vacuuming while you wait for it to cool.
  3. Pour the room temperature sweet tea into the gallon glass jar, then carefully slide your Scoby into the jar. It might sink, or float to top or hang out in the middle; all of these are fine. Then slowly pour the cup of vinegar over the top of the mixture. Cover with your cloth or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band so it doesn’t fall off.  Make sure there are a few inches between the liquid and cover. NO cheesecloth because fruit flies can get through the large holes and that would be a HUGE bummer!
  4. Place jar in a dark, room temperature (not too cold) place and leave alone for about 7 days. Don’t put in a cupboard as the Scoby needs oxygen to survive. You may notice a new “baby” Soby growing on the top of the jar after a few days.  It first looks like a cloudy film but this is a good thing so leave it alone!  It may also start to get a little fizzy in about a week which is also fine.

     5.After one week it is ready for the second fermentation. Sterilize six 16 ounce glass bottles with locking caps.  (Once again you can get these at Amazon for about $34 for a dozen- they are called beer bottles, of course!) Cover the bottom of each bottle with frozen blueberries (about 8 – 10), in a single layer, then using a funnel, carefully pour the week old fermented kombocha into each jar, leaving about an inch of head space. Seal jars and put in a dark, room temperature location.

    "Blueberry Kombocha fermenting"
    “Blueberry Kombocha fermenting”

     6.Let them ferment for another week or so (they will just get fizzier the longer you leave them). Then put the bottles in the fridge to stop the fermenting and drink up!! The blueberries are a bonus after finishing off the kombocha you get to eat those too ♥ .




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