The combination of kombucha and strawberries is like kismet — it’s just meant to be. It’s fizzy and tart and sweet and juicy all at the same time. This is a drink that (I’m convinced) will make kombucha drinkers out of the kombucha dubious.
When strawberries start showing up again at my local market in Northern California, I make batches of strawberry kombucha nonstop. It’s the perfect thing to do with those few over-ripe or slightly squished strawberries that inevitably come with every pint basket. Kombucha doesn’t care if the strawberries aren’t the prettiest in the bunch, and once you take a sip, you won’t either.
3 1/2 quarts (3.3 liters) water
1 cup (200g) white granulated sugar
4 bags black tea (or 1 tablespoon loose tea)
4 bags green tea (or 1 tablespoon loose tea)
2 cups (480ml) prepared kombucha, saved from your last batch
1 pint (340g) strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
2 tablespoons minced ginger (optional)
Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled.
Remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the prepared kombucha. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar and gently place the scoby on top. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days. Check the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
After seven days, begin tasting the kombucha. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. Measure out the prepared kombucha you’ll need for your next batch and set aside.
Combine the fermented kombucha, diced strawberries, and ginger (if using) in a clean 1-gallon jar (or divide among smaller jars). Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheese cloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band. Keep the jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight for two days. Strain the strawberries and ginger from the kombucha and bottle. Leave about a half inch of head room in the bottles.
Store the bottled kombucha at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Refrigerate to stop carbonation and then consume within a month.
Originally published in Comestible Issue 5
Illustration by Molly Reeder