Sweet Fermentation: Strawberry Kvass
Fresh fruit is a great source of nutrients and flavor, especially when it’s berry season–specifically strawberry season. Take this sweet fruit and make it bubbly with this recipe for strawberry kvass. Let the natural sugars do most of the work for you (besides the essential stirring, of course), and enjoy this refreshing drink.
The following is an excerpt from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. It has been adapted for the web.
This is a fermented infusion of strawberries in water, with sugar. In a salty environment with vegetables, lactic acid bacteria dominate the fermentation, but in a sugary solution with fruit, yeasts thrive. Strawberry kvass is fruity and delicious, great as a soft drink or as a cocktail mixer. Try varying it with cherries, raspberries, blueberries, mulberries, or other berries.
Timeframe: 3 – 5 days
Vessel: 1-gallon/4-liter (or larger) ceramic crock, bowl, wide-mouth jar, or food-grade plastic bucket with lid or cloth cover
2 pounds/1 kilogram (1 quart/1 liter) strawberries (or more if you have a great abundance!)
½ cup/125 grams sugar (any form)
- Clean the strawberries. Gently rinse the berries and pick over them to remove any that are unripe or decomposing.
- Place the berries in your vessel.
- Mix the sugar solution. Measure about 6 cups/1.5 liters of dechlorinated water. Add the sugar to the water and stir well to dissolve. Taste and add more sugar if you like it sweet.
- Pour the sugar solution over the berries. The vessel should only be about half full, with plenty of room to stir vigorously.
- Cover the vessel.
- Stir as often as you think of it, at least two to three times per day. Stir vigorously around the sides and try to form a vortex in the middle. A vortex aerates the water, and the stirring distributes activity and gets floating fruit submerged. Without stirring, the fruit may mold and fermentation will develop more slowly.
- Observe. After a few days, you will begin to notice bubbles. Keep stirring and they will get more active. By the time bubbling is vigorous the color has changed, the berries have shrunk, and the liquid has a strong fruity flavor and aroma.
- Enjoy strawberry kvass either strained, with still-flavorful fruit on the side, or with the berries still in.
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