Recipe: Flavored Kombucha

February 3, 2013 · 50 comments

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Although the Kombucha Challenge is over, I just wanted to add one more recipe. Kombucha is now my favorite beverage. I actually never drink much of anything except water, so this is something new for me. I am really enjoying taking care of my SCOBY and getting this incredibly beneficial beverage from it.

I finally located some cool bottles for the second ferment and I wanted to share the flavors I have been experimenting with. It’s easy to experiment because I am making so much kombucha I am not worried about wasting it if I do not like a flavor. Here’s a few of my favorites.

If this is the first time you are reading about kombucha here, you need to catch up by reading this post to find out what kombucha is and this post to get the basic kombucha recipe.

Kombucha Has a Lot of Important Vitamins

A kombucha culture has a wide range of organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that give it its extraordinary value.

  • B vitamins; especially B1, B2, B12 — Important for energy formation and a multitude of metabolic reactions in the body.
  • Vitamin C — Important for detoxification and immune support.

Kombucha Has Many Valuable Organic Acids

There are also many important organic acids present in kombucha. Here are some of them.

  • Lactic acid is essential for healthy digestion and is produced by the beneficial bacteria in the culture.
  • Acetic acid is an antiseptic and inhibitor of pathogenic bacteria.
  • Glucuronic acid is a powerful detoxifier. It helps neutralize the toxic effects of plastics, herbicides, pesticides and resins. When toxins enter the liver, they bind to glucuronic acid and get flushed out through the kidneys. Additionally, glucosamines are derived from glucuronic acid and are important to our joints and other collagen and cartilage dependent tissues as well as the fluids which lubricate the joints. These elements are also present in our skin and mucous membranes.
  • Malic acid also helps in detoxification of the liver.
  • Butyric acid (produced by the yeast) protects mucous membranes and is important in the large intestine.
  • Gluconic acid is produced by the bacteria and strengthens the walls of the gut. This helps heal intestinal permeability caused by candida yeasts.
  • Nucleic acids, like RNA and DNA, transmit information to the cells on how to perform correctly and regenerate.
  • Amino acids produce important enzymes, such as those involved with glutathione, a powerful antioxidant which provides protection from alcohol, pollution and other toxins.

Reading about all these benefits lead me to really want to start to make it. But with anything new, there is a hurdle to get over. I invited you all to join me in the Kombucha Challenge and you all came through! I was able to do this because I knew so many others were doing it as well. For that I can’t thank you all enough! I hope you had as much fun as I did and I hope you met your goals.

Flavored Kombucha

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 quarts of kombucha (see the basic recipe for making kombucha)
  • Flavors such as fresh pomegranate, lemon, orange, ginger and unsweetened cranberry juice

Equipment

  • Funnel
  • 12 – 16 ounce bottles for the second ferment

Instructions

  1. Ginger Flavor: Slice about a one inch length of fresh ginger into thin slices and drop them into the bottle. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a squeeze of fresh orange juice. Using the funnel, add the kombucha leaving just an inch at the top. Close the bottle and leave out in a dark cabinet for 3 days.
  2. Cranberry/Pomegranate: Using the funnel add about two tablespoons of cranberry juice to the bottle. Add the seed of about 1/4 of a fresh pomegranate. Add the kombucha leaving just an inch at the top. Close the bottle and leave out in a dark cabinet for 3 days.
  3. Cranberry/Orange: Using the funnel add about two tablespoons of cranberry juice to the bottle. Squeeze about two tablespoons of fresh orange juice into a spoon and add that to the bottle.  Add the kombucha leaving just an inch at the top. Close the bottle and leave out in a dark cabinet for 3 days.

I loved all of these flavors! The Cranberry/Pomegranate was somewhat tart but that made it interesting. If you do not have the grolsch style bottles, you can do the secondary ferment in ball jars. Just seal them tightly.

Be aware that this second ferment is done to flavor the kombucha and to increase carbonation. You should check your bottles every day to be sure they are not getting to the point where they will explode. I release the air inside the bottle every day to avoid this.

Where to get the bottles

Where to Buy Organic Kombucha and Kombucha Making Supplies

This post is shared at: My Meatless Monday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Barnyard Hop, Meatless Monday, Countrified Hicks, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Gluten Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Mommy Club, Real Food Wednesday, Sustainable Ways, Allergy Free Wednesday, Seasonal Celebration, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Keep It Real Thursday, Gluten Free Friday, Fight Back Friday, Foodie Friday, Small Footprint Friday, M+BL Link Live

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joan S. February 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Does it have to be 100 % juice? Can you use something like peach nectar?

Reply

2 Jill February 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Joan,
I think 100% juice — not from concentrate — would be best. What’s in apricot nectar? You could put some dried apricots in — hmm that is a good idea!

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3 Joan S. February 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Thanks! That’s a good idea to use dried fruits! I love your bottles by the way!

Reply

4 Countrified Hicks February 4, 2013 at 2:34 am

Oh, wow! This looks delicious. I would love for you to come over to my blog hop and share this and other posts there!
http://countrifiedhicks.blogspot.com/2013/02/mondays-with-countrified-hicks-blog-hop.html

Reply

5 Jill February 4, 2013 at 8:18 am

I’ve been making kombucha for a few years now and have discovered some really great flavors:
1. My usual flavor is about 3 berries (like raspberries or mixed berries, though I’ve not had much success with strawberries–too weak flavor) per bottle (2nd ferment). Let it sit at room temp preferably for at least a few days for flavor and carbonation to really develop.
2. Thin slices of ripe guava lend an exotic and beautiful flavor and fragrance to kombucha! It is a must try! Thin slices of dried mango is nice too, but I haven’t had the same success with ripe mango for some reason (maybe because dried mango has a stronger flavor).
3. Up to 1 tablespoon grape juice concentrate per bottle (25-32 oz.) is awesome too.
4. A friend of mine uses fresh sliced ginger to flavor her kombucha, which makes a sort of ginger ale.

Our friends who taught us to make kombucha and gave us our original SCOBY always let the 2nd ferment sit at room temp for at LEAST 3 weeks before drinking it. As long as it’s not too sour when bottled and as long as not too much fruit is used to flavor it (which can create too much pressure and break the bottle), it can go a LONG time and the flavor and carbonation really develop over time until it becomes quite champagne like. I can never wait that long, but their kombucha is the best I’ve ever had.

Another tip if you have problems bottles breaking under pressure (even if you aren’t adding huge amounts of fruit/juice) is to re-use 32 oz. raw apple cider vinegar bottles. I have never had one of those break, but I have had several carbonated water bottles break over the years (works for kombucha and water kefir, which can get really “explosive”). The glass vinegar bottles are made of a thicker, tougher glass and seem to really take the pressure well. Our friends who always let their kombucha (2nd) ferment anywhere from 3 weeks to several months leave their fermenting bottles in foam coolers (at room temp of course) just in case a bottle explodes. That way the mess is contained.

Reply

6 Jill February 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

HiJill,
Thanks for all the great tips! I find it interesting that your friends leave the kombucha for 3 weeks. I think I’ll try that.

Reply

7 naomi February 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

This makes me want to get going with some kombucha! I missed the challenge, but have been meaning to get a scoby for ages.

I make lots of water kefir and my favourite flavours are ginger, pomegranate and kefir made with a couple of black skinned plums in the ferment – the result is so delicate, not sweet but beautifully clear with the floral fragrance of summer plums. Yum!

x x x

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8 Countrified Hicks February 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Thank you for linking up and hope to see you next week. I now have a button for my blog hop. You can find it on the right hand side of my blog. So excited that you joined me!

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9 Laura @ WholeGreenLove February 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm

These look like great recipes! I can’t wait until my second batch is ready. I’m going to try adding in pomegranate seeds and raspberries. Thanks for the inspiration!

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10 Mary February 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm

These sound wonderful…..thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be trying these all…..would love to find a taste for my given-up ginger ale…:-)

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11 Jill February 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Mary,
The ginger flavored kombucha is just like ginger ale only better!

Reply

12 Bebe February 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Yum. Try pineapple juice and ginger. It’s my personal nirvana. Grape juice is super yummy, raspberry and pomegranate, blueberry ginger…. all have been a hit.
Right now I’m trying out using turmeric in a couple combinations and cinnamon, ginger, apple juice in another. They are on day two of second ferment.

Reply

13 Simon February 21, 2014 at 2:14 am

All of your ideas sound delicious. I just brewed and bottled by first batch ever and experimented with 5 different kinds. I only put ginger in one, but after trying the kind with ginger, I knew I would have to make more kinds with ginger in the future. I was already planning to use some pineapple for part of my next batch, so I will definitely put ginger in it.

Reply

14 Candi February 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I was planning on reusing the kombucha bottles I originally bought for my second ferment. Are these strong enough? I had no idea the bottles could crack open!

Reply

15 Bebe February 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I’ve been using my GTs kombucha bottles for a couple years now. Think about it: nice fizzy kombucha is what they originally held.

Reply

16 Tara February 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

I, too, have been saving my GT’s bottles to use for a second ferment. Are these safe to use until I am able to purchase the grolsch style bottles? –Thank you!

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17 Bebe February 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Yes, see above.

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18 Barb @ A Life in Balance February 6, 2013 at 11:56 am

I’ve been struggling with my kombucha recently. I do the double ferment with the fruit juice. When I used our home canned juice, I almost always had good batches. Now with the store bought concord grape juice, 75% of the time, the 2nd ferment ends up too sweet.

What brand of juice do you use? Maybe I need to switch brands. I’m also thinking of using fresh ginger since I love ginger and I’m so frustrated with the fruit juice.

Reply

19 Jill February 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Barb,
I use 100% pure juice from concentrate — Trader Joe’s has cranberry and grape. Maybe it’s too cold? Or you need to leave it a bit longer. Someone told e they have a fried who leaves the second ferment 2 weeks I would watch it though to make sue the bottles don’t explode!

Also fresh ginger and fresh berries.

Reply

20 Eileen February 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm

My first ever kombucha batch is ready for its second ferment in two days, so I’m excited to jazz it up a little. It’s timely that I found your post. Thanks!

Reply

21 Martine S. February 7, 2013 at 10:37 am

Just stopping in from the Tasty Traditions carnival. This is great! Thanks for sharing.

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22 Miz Helen February 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Hi Jill,
Great Post, and a beautiful color! Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Reply

23 Diane Balch February 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I often buy the ginger flavored kombucha love it flavored. Thanks for sharing this with us on foodie friday,

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24 Bernice February 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

We have been adding fruit to our first ferment, raspberries and grated lime, cherry,lemon and ginger. I want to try fresh orange with vanilla bean. Strawberries with hibisicus. We put in the tea and sugar and water, let sit. Then add 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries that are muddled, and then put the scobie on top of the fruit. it will sink part way. Let sit for a week to 10 days. We then strain it, and bottle. Let sit for another week, burb every day. After a week we refrigerate. Our Kombucha has been delicious, and I love using our own home grown fruit. Has anyone else tried this?

Reply

25 Rebekah February 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Note…if you leave less room at the top, you get more fizz when you open it! The less oxygen it has access to, the more anaerobic it works, and that equals more carbonation. Just read it myself a day or so ago! I’ve just started with kombucha and I LOVE It!

Reply

26 Rebekah February 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

And I’ve used fruit, frozen fruit (thawed mostly first), ginger just cut into pieces, and plain old grocery store (from concentrate, ew) juice and it’s worked for me :) Of course 100% juice is better, but at least it still works!

Reply

27 Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) February 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

YUM, seriously you are awesome!!
Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

Reply

28 Kristin W. February 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Made the ginger flavor with just ginger and fresh lemon juice, my new favorite. Thanks!

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29 Ruth C. March 23, 2013 at 11:33 am

It sound so good and would love to try but cant have sugar. I am assuming you need the sugar for fermentation, is there any way to make it without sugar?

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30 Jill March 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

@Ruth,
You must have sugar in order to feed the SCOBY. However, you can ferment this until it tastes like vinegar (in which case there will not be any sugar or very little) and then flavor it with fruit or ginger.

Reply

31 Faith November 19, 2013 at 7:21 am

Ruth, you can also use honey! I did and it turned out great, plus you get added nutrients:)

Reply

32 Mimi May 4, 2013 at 8:05 am

Thanks for such a great post.
After months of experimenting with flavored Kombucha, I thought I’d share some of my second ferment favorites.
Passion Fruit- Ginger, Freeze Dried Strawberries-Acai-Hibiscus, Mango,
Cloves-lemon zest and Goji-Golden Berry.

Reply

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