I've made ginger beer, and still make it sometimes, but when the ingredients for this easy quick ferment are readily available it seems silly not to get a few bottles on the go. Being a ferment, it is also a healthful addition to our diet, containing natural pro-biotics.
It may be slightly alcoholic, but no more so than ginger beer.
Almost any fruit will do. Often it is made from the cores and peelings of apples, quinces and pineapple too if I have bought a cheap fresh one from the markets.
Here in South Australia we are in the middle of our summer fruit glut. On our property we are picking apricots, plums, and soon the nectarines, peaches, apples and pears will be ready. In autumn the quinces will be ready to pick.
There is always rhubarb growing in my garden which is a lovely refreshing addition to making this drink, but is not compulsory.
I used some plums and rhubarb to make this batch.
You will need a food grade plastic bucket or something similar. I use a ten litre plastic bucket.
Place into the bucket;
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 lemon cut into 8 pieces, skin on.
4 & 1/2 litres of rain water or filtered water.
Stir with your very clean hand or a large spoon until sugar is dissolved.
Add approximately four large cups of any fruit in season or their peels and cores - apples, pears, quinces, berries, peaches, nectarines, plums, pineapple etc. (That's approx seven quinces or apples if you are using them)
Wash the fruit but DO NOT PEEL. Chop roughly into walnut size pieces.
Loosely cover the bucket with the lid or a tray and place where you will not forget it because you need to give the bucket a jiggle every morning, at lunchtime and at night.
After 48 hours scoop out the fruit and feed it to the chooks or pigs, or put in the compost bin.
Then, pour the liquid into clean bottles through a straining cloth. I use a chux cloth kept specifically for this purpose and sterilized between uses.
Screw the lids on tightly and write the date on the bottle.
You might also want to write which fruit you used.
If you are fermenting other foods or drinks in your kitchen (sourdough, kombucha, sourkraut, kimchi etc) be sure to place your bucket of fermenting fruit drink well away from them. In another room if possible. The natural yeasts will jump from one ferment to another resulting in a jumble of fermenting mix ups, or worse, the death of them.
(Although I had a particularly good rising of my sourdough loaf on Sunday when the Fermenting Fizzy was a couple of metres away. Could have been a fluke or was it the extra boost from the ferment nearby??)
Store the bottles in a place where you will not forget to "burp" each bottle every day. The bottles I made three days ago were almost ready to explode 24 hours later! The weather is very warm and our house temperature is hovering around 27deg C.
To "burp"... hold bottle firmly while twisting the bottle top just a fraction until you hear a fizz and see the contents of the bottle fizzing from the bottom. "Pppffffsstt" is what it sounds like!
Quickly tighten the cap before any liquid escapes.
Depending on the weather, this drink could be ready to drink the next day after bottling if your house is warm. (Like now) Usually, it would be best to leave it for approximately three days before opening one to try it. **Chill in the fridge first and then hold it over the sink when opening!**
The longer it is left to ferment the dryer in taste is will become. The alcohol is eating up the sugar, like in wine making.
The first time I made this I followed the instructions, as they were written in the book, to the letter.
I borrowed some of Brian's home brew bottles and put Crown seals on them, expecting to wait two weeks before the opening, as per the instructions.
I placed them in boxes under our bed and anticipated the grand opening of this "Fruit Champagne" with great excitement.
A week later, in the middle of the night, in a deep sleep, we heard (felt) a loud bang. First thinking that a painting had fallen off the wall.
I stepped out of bed into a puddle that was rapidly spreading across the floor.
Don't put Crown seals on your bottles and remember to "burp" them daily.
Be adventurous with your fruit combinations and see which ones will become your favorites.
My favorite is made from quinces, but I love the rhubarb blends too, oh and the apple and pear is delicious, but the pineapple and apple cores are a really special treat.
We have already polished off three bottles from the batch I bottled two days ago on Monday! Time to get another bucket of water and fruit fermenting again.
There's a cool change on the way. Yaay!