Kombucha Secondary Fermentation

Kombucha Second Fermentation

1. Overview
– It is totally optional, but makes your Kombucha even more enjoyable and good for you.
– It adds flavor and infused properties from herbs and fruit and makes it much more fizzy.
– Simply add any fruit or sweetened herb combination to your first fermentation (1F).
– This goes into stoppered bottles which are left to further ferment for another week or so.
– The best ones are the round clear quart bottles called EZ-Cap (1 liter bottles from Glaspak are also great).
– Square or decorative or cheap Ikea bottles may leak or explode.
– A 2 gal jug of 1F will give you about 7 quart bottles of second fermentation (2F).

2. Preparation with Herbs
– If you want to use herbs, then make a batch of sugar syrup by dissolving 1 part sugar into 2 parts water
– You will need 1/4 cup sugar syrup (containing 1/8 cup sugar) for each quart or liter bottle.
– Make a very strong tea using anything you want (leaves, flowers, roots, seeds)
– Maple syrup works instead of sugar syrup but adds significant flavor, so consider that.
– You will need about 1/2 cup of very strong tea per quart bottle

3. Preparation with Fruit
– Finely dice any fresh or dried fruit. You will need 1/4 to 1/2 cup fruit per bottle.
– Rehydrate the fried fruit by simmering for 30 min
– You will only need some sugar syrup if the fruit is not sweet, like cranberries, elderberries, etc.
– The amount of sugar syrup you need to add will take some experience and judgement but less is better

4. Bottling
– Clean the bottles with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
– Have some plain white vinegar ready for cleaning the stoppers.
– Have a fine mesh strainer and funnel ready.
– Line up your bottles on the counter and put in your sugar syrup and flavorings, straining out the inedible parts.
– Fill each bottle with 1F up to the skinny part of the neck leaving 1 to 1.5 inches of headspace.
– Clean the lip and stopper of each bottle using a small piece of vinegar soaked paper towel or cloth.
– Seal the bottles and place on a shelf at room temperature for at least a week.
– Optionally, they can be inverted and swished around every few days to incorporate the goodies in the sediment.

5. Finishing, Storage and Use
– You will know a sealed, week old bottle is done when you invert it, swish it around gently, turn it back upright and then see lots of bubbles rising for at least 10 seconds afterwards. Your patience will be rewarded!
– The fizziness is a byproduct of the yeast eating the sugar (CO2) in a sealed bottle. More sugar + time = more fizz.
– Place the unopened bottles in your fridge, they will continue to ferment very slowly, but should keep for months.

6. Recipes
– These are too numerous to list, so just search the internet for Kombucha 2F recipes and experiment!
– However, safe mixtures to start with are: ginger and lemon zest, vanilla extract and prune juice (cream soda flavor), fennel and maple syrup, any of your favorite teas (triple strength) with 1/4 cup sugar syrup.
– Do not use anything containing oils (like diary, avocado, olives, durian).
– Fruit and herbs can be mixed any way you like.