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Blackberry and apple pie kombucha recipe

  • Makes 2 litres (kombucha base) and 1 bottle of flavoured kombucha

Get a real taste of autumn with this delicious kombucha recipe created by Louise Avery, author of Kombucha: Healthy Recipes for Naturally Fermented Tea Drinks.

Blackberry and apple kombucha recipe

Louise says: “OK, so this isn’t a pie… but it is reminiscent of the warming, hearty combination of hedgerow blackberries and apples that so often find themselves encased and baked in a shortcrust pastry coat, which is comforting in the autumn/ fall months.

“My mother lives in the middle of an apple orchard where she has an overwhelming supply of Bramley, Cox and Russet apples. The tartness and the texture of these apples is uniquely rewarding and nourishing when ripe.

“All organic, they fall quickly from the trees to the delight of every flying and earthbound sugar-loving insect and animal around. In a rush, we gather them from the ground and from the trees, before she donates them to her neighbour who rewards her with fresh pink apple juice and cider from his village brewery.

“The Somerset village she inhabits is surrounded by living hedgerows, bountiful with juicy blackberries, ready to make this brew.”

You’ll need to start by making an unflavoured kombucha base. This basic recipe for making kombucha can vary depending on the type of tea used and the steep. There is scope for experimentation once you gain confidence. Like anything, learning to brew the exact taste profile you desire takes time.

Ingredients

For the unflavoured kombucha

  • Loose leaf tea 2-3 tsp
  • Sugar 160g
  • Unflavoured kombucha 125-200ml, (this will often come in a bag with the SCOBY – stockist can be found online)
  • SCOBY 1
  • 2.5 litre heatproof brewing jar 1, sterilised
  • Tea ball 1, (optional)
  • Close-weave cotton cloth 1

For the blackberry and apple pie kombucha

  • Apples 2, medium-sized
  • Blackberries 5
  • Unflavoured kombucha 500ml
  • Glass bottle 500ml, with air-tight lid

Method

To make the unflavoured kombucha

  • Step 1

    Bring 2 litres/2 quarts plus ½ cup of water to the boil in a stainless-steel pan. Leave the water in the pan or transfer to the heatproof brewing jar, as pictured. If using loose-leaf tea, put it in the tea ball and steep the tea of your choice for 4-8 minutes depending on how strong you like the flavour.

  • Step 2

    Remove the tea ball or bags and using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the still-warm steeped tea to dissolve. Allow to cool completely to room temperature. Cooling the tea is imperative as adding the SCOBY to hot water will damage it.

  • Step 3

    Cover the jar with the cotton cloth and secure with an elastic band. Set aside at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for at least 7 days before tasting. You should start to notice a vinegary flavour as the SCOBY eats the sugar. Taste daily and when you find the perfect balance of sweet and sour, it is time to bottle the kombucha ready for the secondary ferment. I often wait 30 days before it is sour enough for my tastebuds, so don’t be afraid to leave it longer.

  • Step 4

    Decant into bottles, leaving about a 1-cm/3⁄8-inch air space at the top, then seal. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the blackberry and apple pie kombucha

  • Step 1

    Juice the apples in the cold-press juicer. It should yield around 150 ml of juice. If you do not have a juicer, you can use store-bought fresh apple juice or slice or blend the apples and pop them directly into the bottle. Add the blackberries whole into the bottle.

  • Step 2

    Top up with unflavoured kombucha leaving a 1-cm air space at the top, then seal tightly. The blackberries will dye the liquid purple quickly and efficiently, rewarding you with a pretty cleansing drink.

  • Step 3

    Leave the sealed bottle at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 2 days before testing for carbonation (see below). When the taste and fizz are to your liking, strain the fruit and re-bottle if desired, then refrigerate.  Alternatively, strain before serving or just leave the fruit in. Serve cold.

  • Step 4

    Once you bottle kombucha, this is your chance to turn the remaining sugar into bubbles. The amount of sugar left in the brew when you bottle it will determine the amount of carbonation that occurs. I recommend using swing-top bottles because you can test the carbonation easily – you will know that fizz is building up by the sound when you spring the top. If you find your brew is not fizzy enough, then you can add 1⁄8 teaspoon of sugar per 500 ml/2 cups and allow it to build up carbonation over 3 days. If you release the bottle-top and hear the ‘phhfft’ then it has been successful, if not, then wait another few days. It can take a few weeks if the yeast content in the brewed kombucha is lower. Sometimes it takes a few cycles of the unflavoured kombucha-brewing to build up carbonation, but be patient, the yeast is populating and will yield bubbles before long. One trick to build up fizz is to add freshly grated fresh ginger or unsulphered raisins to the bottle.

Kombucha by Louise AveryKombucha: Healthy Recipes for Naturally Fermented Tea Drinks by Louise Avery, published in hardback on 11 September priced £9.99. Order your copy online.

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