Strawberry beer

Our household has developed a taste for kombucha and at $4 a bottle in the shops I’ve had to work out how to brew it at home. A friend lent me the very easy to follow book on ‘The art of probiotic nutrition’ by Kale Brock. It takes you through step by step on how to make kombucha. If you think it’s hard to make just check out this video from Kale to see just how easy it is.

Remove the scoby and place in glass jar with breathable lid and make sure it’s covered with Kombucha. Put the scoby aside in cupboard. With the rest of the Kombucha it’s time to do a secondary ferment.

While local hills strawberries are in season in the shops the varieties in my backyard come through earlier in October, November and into early December. I used about half a punnet for this recipe.

1/2 punnet strawberries

700 ml kombucha

You need a bottle with a nice airtight lid. I recycled a Bickfords soft drink bottle for this.  I mashed about half a punnet of strawberries and placed in the sterilised bottle. Then I topped up the bottle with kombucha leaving about 2 cm of air. I tapped the bottle to get rid of any air bubbles and gave the fruit a little stir to ensure good contact with the liquid. Seal the lid and ferment for 1-3 days depending on the weather. Put it in a cupboard while it’s fermenting. Test each day and put in fridge when ready.

strawberry-kombucha

Be warned, to get the fizz you need to have a small amount of air up top. I left about 2cm and when I opened the bottle to test it, strawberry beer exploded out the top and kinda went everywhere. I’m not sure if it’s because it has been so hot the fermenting process sped up or if I should have left more air up top or I used too much fruit. Probably a combo of all three. The bad news is I lost about a quarter of the bottle. The good news is my ceiling, walls, floors and everything else in the kitchen have now had a good wipe down and I now have delicious fizzy strawberry beer. I didn’t strain the fruit out but if this was being kept for a while in the fridge before drinking I would strain the fruit out.

I have since read that it’s good to open a secondary ferment using a tea towel over the kitchen sink. And… I’ve found out that others find that strawberry kombucha is extra fizzy. I’ll be making this again for sure and making sure I open with tea towel over sink next time.

Nasturtsiums

I felt like eating some nasturtium flowers and leaves today but the plant in my garden is looking pretty sad at the moment. It died back recently and has about four tiny leaves on it. I had to look further afield so I went down to a patch I know that grows by the river near my house. When I got there it looked like the whole area had been sprayed. Everything was dry and dead, which is why I don’t like foraging in public spaces.

Nasturtiums are pretty prolific so I knew I’d pass some on the way home which I did. The nasturtiums were growing through someones fence onto the sidewalk. There were plenty so I helped myself to some. Nasturtiums can be used medicinally, they are high in vitamin C and have antibiotic properties. I will be using the flowers and young leaves below in a salad.

nastursium

Previously I have also pickled the seeds. A couple of years ago I visited a friends property. She had a huge patch of nasturtiums and doesn’t spray them. They had all gone to seed and there were literally thousands of seeds to collect. I collected the young green seeds for this recipe. The older brown seeds are no good for pickling but can be used to grow new plants. Use the following pickled seeds like you would use capers.

Pickled nasturtium seeds (garden betty recipe)

2/3 cup young green nasturtium seed pods
1/4 cup salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf

Separate the pods into individual seeds, and give them a rinse to remove any dirt. In a jar dissolve the salt in water. Add the nasturtium seeds, and keep the seeds submerged. Let the brine sit for a couple of days at room temperature. The seeds will turn a dull green during this stage.

Strain the seeds and rinse again to remove excess salt.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar and sugar to a low boil for 1 minute and stir to dissolve.

Divide your seeds into small jars, then pour the hot vinegar over the seeds, covering them completely.Add a bay leaf to each jar.

Let the jars cool to room temperature before sealing with lids. At this point, you can either keep the jars at room temp or store them in the fridge.

The pickled pods will keep indefinitely in the vinegar, just use a clean utensil to remove the pods from the jar.