Tag Archives: primary fermentation

Summer field trip: Cultured in Berkeley, CA

27 Aug

 

Last summer my travels took me to Boulder, Colorado, where I had hoped to gain some insight into the Jun culture.  Unfortunately, Tonic “herban” lounge, did not have staff members that were very communicative or interested in the process.  This summer, I had better luck meeting fermentation enthusiasts.  I was in Berkeley to take a movement workshop that was serendipitously located one block away from a fermentation kitchen called Cultured.

Cultured makes many flavors of kombucha along with pickles, sauerkraut and other things, depending largely on what produce is in season.  A single glass-fronted refrigerator serves as a store front.  My impression is that most of their product ends up on the shelves of other local establishments.  I had the pleasure of catching Alex Hozven, who runs the joint, for a short conversation about her kombucha process.

IMG_2729

This is the wall sized poster that graces the entrance of Cultured.

Alex makes some fancy flavors of kombucha.   Over the two weeks I was around, I tried yellow watermelon-juniper flavor, strawberry thyme, cucumber lime, and fennel flavors.

Just around the corner from the fridge, I could see the large fermentation vessels, and they didn’t just hold tea.  I was intrigued to see one kombucha container that had fresh nettles in it.  (nettles, my favorite!)  Another one held floating juniper berries.  Alex adds herbs into her primary ferments.  I asked her about this, and she explained that kombucha can live in any number of herbal tea environments.  For many of her ferments she uses a green tea base, and then adds flavor after the primary ferment (like I do), but with others she uses an herbal tea base and no tea– a great option for people who are avoiding caffeine.  With the herbal tea ferments, she uses starter fluid from her latest green tea batch to get it going.

It makes sense that herbal ferments would be best to try with your spare scoby, and not to let them keep going over many generations, or you could degrade the culture.  Probably some herbs work better than others, also:  I once tried to make a rosemary beer with tibicos, and the anti-bacterial properties of the rosemary killed my grains!   Although I frequently do herbal experiments with the primary ferment of tibicos, I’ve always been a purist with my kombucha and jun cultures.  Maybe it’s time to branch out….

The other thing that I noticed about Cultured’s kombucha is that the ingredient list includes honey.  Alex does not use honey in the primary ferment, but she does add some when she bottles it.  The extra sugar in the secondary ferment makes her bottles generously fizzy.  Tricky.

The ingredient list: notice the addition of seasonal herbs to the primary kombucha tea ferment, and honey to the secondary ferment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2755

Mmm, fennel! Consumed…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I browsed the refrigerator shelves at Cultured, I couldn’t resist picking out the weirdest pickle product possible.  They had something called kasuzuke, which is vegetables fermented in sake lees.  Sake is Japanese rice wine, and lees is the yeast sediment byproduct of wine making that brewers generally strain out to create a clearer product.  I’ve strained the lees out of my blackberry wine and honey wine/mead creations and thrown it away.  There were a few kasuzuke vegetable options, but of course I picked the most exotic sounding one.  I chose Negi, which turns out to be not so exotic.  It’s a variety of green onion.  Cultured’s kasuzuke was 16 dollars for a 12 oz container:  not something I would buy every day, but also it seems like a many-tiered creation process that I might never take the time to make.  Here it is.

IMG_2737

I ate some one night on toast along with avocado, but I haven’t fully decided what to do with the stuff.  Its appeal is less for newbies and more for seasoned fermentophiles.  The gooey white lees takes up just as much room as the veggies in the container.  It has a certain “ick” factor to it this way.  The taste is oddly sweet and pungent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Flavor of the Day: Rooibos, Rose, Raspberry Leaf Jun

28 Jun
That's not a rose hip ... _this_ is a rose hip.

Rose hip (Photo credit: Zak Greant)

Raspberries

Raspberries: the leaf often gets overlooked, but that’s what I’m interested in for this recipe.  (Photo credit: Kodamakitty)

 

I should call this my flavor of the month, because it’s what I’ve been drinking the most of lately.  Rooibos definitely stands out flavor-wise in this mellow herbal concoction.

This recipe uses the Jun 101 basic brew instructions as its primary fermentation process.  You are NOT brewing Jun with rooibos tea.  Jun is always brewed with green tea and honey.   Once you finish the primary ferment, you can add whatever flavors you want to.  Bottling the Jun and leaving it out at room temperature for a while will create a secondary ferment.  This helps the flavors of the herbs to sink in, and allows the brew to build up some bubbles.

RRR Jun:

Add to a pint sized bottle with a sealable top:

1/2 t rooibos

1/2 t raspberry leaf

1/2 t rose hips

Pour your plain, already fermented Jun (see Jun 101 for details) over the herbs, seal the bottle and let sit for a day or two.  Strain your bottle into a glass as you drink it at room temp or chill in the refrigerator.

 

Rooibos, Aspalathus linearis (N.L.Burm.) R.Dah...

Rooibos, or African red bush. photo credit: Wikipedia.

 

About the Herbs:

Rose Hips are collected in the autumn.  They are the fruits of the Dog Rose. Rose hips are one of natures best sources of Vitamin C, and much of their medicinal value is because of the content of this nutrient.  They aid the body’s immune defenses, help with constipation, and with probelms of the gall bladder, kidneys, and bladder.

Raspberry Leaves are well known in my profession as a doula, because they are a womb herb.  When consumed regularly during pregnancy, they act as a tonic for the uterus.  I have heard some doubts as to the value of its use in the first trimester from prenatal students who were advised by their healthcare providers: particularly in people who have a high risk for miscarriage.  However, in my reading I have not seen it indictated as a uterine contractor, only a uterine strengthener.  I have also read that it helps to counteract morning sickness.  Raspberry leaf is particularly good to drink throughout the third trimester, in preparation for labor and even during labor.  Raspberry leaf also has astringent qualities.  It is good for diarrhea and other ‘loose’ conditions, as well as mouth sores, bleeding gums, or sore throats.  (sources:  Susun Weed’s  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year and David Hoffman’s Holistic Herbal)

Rooibos, or african red bush tea is a popular drink these days for people who like drinking tea but don’t want caffeine.  My herb books actually don’t include rooibos as a medicinal herb, but it is apparently high in anti-oxidants.   Wikipedia claims that it helps with allergies, nervous tension and digestion.

Old Ways Herbal

Vermont Herb School, Clinical Herbalist, Plant Remedies, & Herbal Farmcraft Wisdom.

thesoporificcabbage

A great WordPress.com site

Naturally DIY

Homemade solutions for healthy living

Brooklyn Alewife

a record of home brewing experiments

Conscious Baby

Sessions, classes, & resources for the first two years

Tea Foodie [by Zanitea]

a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes

Adventures in Local Food

A blog of the Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre

Urban Herbwifery

your source for herbal wisdom, green living tidbits, and natural pregnancy and labor information

martinezyoga

Salvador Martinez, NYC, RYT 500

nourish

Learning to live healthy while living with Fibromyalgia.

%d bloggers like this: