Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Smreka! Juniper Berry Ferment
Smreka....fun word to say. Just had to try this. Someone in a class suggested I make this, they said all you need is a cup of juniper berries and good water and a gallon glass jar. That sounded easy enough so I bought the juniper berries, another gallon jar and of course my own chlorine-free, "Prill Water" at ph 8.5. No sugar or anything sweet was added. It was supposed to sit for a month! It took about a week before I saw any fermentation activity but the berries began this cute little "dance" of bobbing up and down slowly in the water. Fun to watch.
At my class last week at the Herb Shop here in Orem, (the shop where I bought the juniper berries) I poured off (decanted) Smreka and all of us had a taste. This was a week before the month was up, but hey, it was a new fermentation and I wanted to share the moment with others.
Well? It was kinda boring....not much flavor to it. It was definitely fermented and gratefully, no discernible alcohol, but just not exotic or exciting like I had hoped.
I had a half a gallon left so I took it home. Others suggested I add some more flavoring to it so I added some sliced ginger, a small organic lemon and a handful of raisins.
For the next few days it fermented just fine and then today I decanted it and the flavor was really much better. I could taste the lemon and ginger but not the raisins or juniper berries.
I decided to do a second ferment so I put all the berries, ginger, lemon and raisins back in and added more water and put the paper/elastic cap back on. I think within the next couple days I will buy some more juniper berries and add some new ones.
When I "muscle tested" this drink, it rated very high for me. So, I'm going to keep it going for a while. I like that it didn't require sugar. I guess the sugar came from the berries when soaked, they split open a bit and the lactobacilli got access to the sugar and started the ferment.