Fermented food and drinks

A while back, in the General Discussion forum, we had an awesome thread on fermenting. It's full of great recipes!


So I thought I would create a thread here, where it's easier to find, so people could post up their projects and questions.

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  • Thanks for posting this, I've been wanting to do this and now that I'm getting prickly pears today, it's perfect timing.  

    Q:  How much grains did you use for 1 qt?  How much PP juice would you put in?

    • For the above kefir, I used 1/4 c grains per quart of sugar water. I have no idea how much to use with the prickly pear. 

      I have a sort of tester / intermediate batch started now, which is the primary ferment (1 quart water + 1/4c sugar + 1/4c grains) - the grains strained out after 2 days - to that I added about 1/2 cup prickly pear syrup. That's all I had in the fridge! Hopefully its pectin content doesn't have a negative effect on it.

      Plus, I added the juice of one orange. It seems these kefir waters all need some sort of acid to keep the other types of bacteria at bay.

      If THAT batch turns out, I'll use it as the starter for my colonche.

      I just got some prickly pears this morning, which I can juice, and boil down to a syrup.

      I think I will try a 1:1 ratio of my aforementioned tester batch + simmered down prickly pear juice.

      It's all just guess work for me! :c )

    • Thanks, that was very helpful!  I will let you know how it turns out.  

      Last year, besides beet kvass, I fermented only veggies.  Since I didn't have much growing this summer besides sweet potatoes, herbs and peppers, I will be experimenting with water kefirs and kombucha.  I've never heard of colonche, but I have a feeling I will be making that too!  :o)

  • Super!! Thank you Grrlscout.  I actually thought it was in GG - I just searched for lacto fermentation whenever I wanted to find it :-)

    I need to try kefir - I have not "played with that food" yet.

  • Here's my latest experiment: kefir water.

    It all started when I got some half-rotten prickly pears. I tried to ferment the juice, but I think they got the wrong bug. Pretty sure I have prickly pear vinegar now - which is also cool.

    I did some research, and there is a slightly boozy drink called "colonche" made from fermented prickly pear juice. It's usually started by combining the cooked down syrup with tibicos, which are, according to wiki, "a culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria". They are also known as kefir water grains - now that sounds familiar!

    So I ordered some from Etsy.


    The instructions said to put them in a quart jar with 1/4 c sugar, and top it off with water. After a couple days, it's started to form little bubbles, that rise when you nudge the jar. So I strained out the grains, and put the water in a bottle.


    I wanted to start with something easy, and I didn't have any prickly pear juice anymore, so I used raspberries, a squeeze of lime juice, some slices of ginger, and a couple kaffir lime leaves for my first batch. I topped it off with more water.

    After one day, the fruit got a little faded and there was a "poot!" when I opened the bottle. I let it sit another day, and that evening there was a nice "FFFFT!", when I opened the bottle. I closed it up again, and the next morning when I opened it...


    YOWZA! It went off like a shaken bottle of champagne. POP!! gush gush gush! Once I cleaned it up, and strained out the fruit, I'm left with a nice, fizzy beverage, somewhat reminiscent of a dry lambic.


    I removed the gasket from the cap, and put the bottle in the fridge. Looking forward to enjoying some tonight.

    I have the next batch of sugar water brewing. I just need to get out there and get some prickly pears to juice!

    • More like a soda, but way less sweet. More like a flavored club soda, but with smaller bubbles.

      It doesn't have that yeasty, hoppy, malty flavor of beer. I didn't measure the alcohol, but I didn't feel a "buzz". Supposedly it usually clocks in around a half to maybe 1% alcohol.

      If you let it go longer, you might get 4%, and I might try that with the next batch ;)
    • Thank you - I need to get to trying this :-)

    • Grrlscout would you say this is more like soda or 'beer' - a while back I was thinking about ginger ale.

    • We keep a batch of water kefir going at all times.

      I only let my grains ferment in the sugar water for 2 days and then second ferment for no longer than 2 days. It helps to avoid those volcanic episodes.

      Prickly pear juice sounds perfect to add to this.

      My favorite combination so far is ginger, cherries and peaches. It only takes about 24 hours with all that fruit to make a nice fizz.

      I also really enjoy adding prunes to both the first and second ferment. It sort of tastes like cola. I've heard that if you add cloves and vanilla to this you will get something close to Dr. Pepper. I have not tested this.

      Happy water kefir experimenting.

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