You can make fermented fruit an attractive gift for your relatives. You can use the fruit to add flavor to alcoholic drinks or add flavor to your favorite dessert. Yeast breaks down fruit sugar in the fermentation process. You can use any fruit you like, but there are actually certain types of fruit that are especially good at fermenting. Follow these steps to learn how to ferment fruit, whether fresh or canned.
Part 1 of 3: Knowing About Fermentation
Step 1. Know what fermentation is and why fermented products are good for you
Fermentation is a process of preserving food so that it increases the number of good bacteria contained in the food. You don't need to be afraid of difficulties in carrying out the fermentation process. The method is very easy and simple.
- Generally, fruit fermentation is done by placing the fruit of your choice in a jar or other container, then filling it with water, sugar, and yeast or whey to start the fermentation culture.
- Then, the jar/container is closed and left at room temperature for 2 to 10 days. During this time, the fermentation process will convert the sugar into alcohol, and carbon dioxide gas will also be formed as a by-product of this process so that foam is formed at the top.
- When the fruit is fermented, the fruit will contain a lot of good and beneficial bacteria. Fruit can be used as a dessert, dessert addition, or in recipes such as for making chutneys, smoothies, and salsa.
Step 2. Choose your fruit
Most fruits can be fermented, but there are some types of fruit that are very good at fermenting. Many people choose to ferment canned or frozen fruit because it saves preparation time. If you are using fresh fruit, choose fruit that is ripe, fresh, and flawless.
- Fruits such as peaches, plums, and apricots are popular choices for fermentation, due to their delicious taste and well-maintained color. Wash the fruit, peel the skin, and discard the bad parts of the fruit of your choice.
- You can make fruit sauce by fermenting exotic fruits like mango and pineapple. Peel the skin and cut into cubes to use.
- Grapes can also be fermented, but first you'll need to punch holes in the fruit with a needle or cut it in half to allow the fermentation process to reach the fruit's contents.
- Peeled and chopped pears can ferment like apples, but apples and pears will usually brown during the fermentation process, making them look less appealing.
- Most berries can be fermented, except for blackberries which contain too many seeds. Strawberries retain their good taste when fermented, but usually fade in color during the fermentation process.
Step 3. Using a fermentation culture starter
The culture starter is the main ingredient to start the fermentation process which contains a lot of good bacteria in it.
- In general, the fermentation process doesn't require starting a specific brand of culture – whichever starter you use doesn't make a significant difference. Just choose a culture starter that you can easily find in your area.
- The most common culture starters used in fruit fermentation are baker's yeast, whey, and special fermenting powders, such as Caldwell's starter.
- You can also use probiotic capsules, fermented liquid from the previous fermentation process, or a fermented beverage such as plain kombucha tea.
- If you want to make a certain fermented fruit called Rumtoph (which is used in German and Danish desserts), you can add alcohol such as rum, wine or brandy to the fermentation.
Step 4. Add flavoring
Apart from fruit flavors, you can also add certain flavors to the fermentation container, so that the taste created by fermented fruit becomes more delicious.
- Some examples of additional flavors used include: cinnamon, mint leaves, cloves, vanilla bean, orange zest, and almond extract. Choose the one that suits your taste.
- You can also add liquid flavors or chunks of flavor to your fermented fruit, but avoid using powdered spices. The spice powder will stick to the sides of the fermentation container and spoil the appearance of the fruit. This is especially important if you want to give a jar of fermented fruit as a gift.
Step 5. Store fermented fruit well
In the fermentation process, the container must be stored at room temperature, without direct contact with sunlight. Keep in mind that the conditions in your home can affect the success and speed of the fermentation process.
- If the weather is very hot, you can store fermented fruit in the refrigerator. But it must be remembered that by doing so, the fermentation process will slow down.
- Once the fruit has fermented, you should store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for up to two months. If you wish, you can replace the fruit with new fruit in the fermentation container, so that the fermentation process can continue without stopping.
- Be aware that fermented fruit should taste sour, but not taste like stale or rotten fruit. Fermented fruit should also not be too mushy – Good fermented fruit should retain its original shape. If your fruit looks mushy or smells unnatural, you should throw it away (including the culture and fermented water) and start over from scratch.
Part 2 of 3: Canned Fruit Ferment
Step 1. Choose the canned fruit you want
Open the can of fruit, and discard the liquid contained in it.
Step 2. Put all the ingredients in a jar
Add sugar to taste, canned fruit, and a packet of baker's yeast, stir until combined.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved (the dew from the fruit will melt the sugar), add the flavorings, and cover the jar not too tightly.
- Leave about an inch (2.54 cm) of space so the jars don't fill up too much, as the volume will increase during the fermentation process.
- The lid of the jar should be loose enough to let the carbon dioxide out, but there should be no openings for insects to get in.
Step 3. Let the fermented fruit mixture sit in a cool, dark place
Fermentation begins when a froth begins to appear wherein the yeast begins to convert the sugar into alcohol.
- Fruits generally ferment quickly, within 24 to 48 hours. However, some people choose to ferment for up to 2 or even 3 weeks. This makes for a more intense taste, as more of the fruit sugar is converted to alcohol.
- The length of time the fruit ferments depends on your personal taste. Try fermenting multiple jars at once and harvesting them at different periods, so that you can determine which level of fermentation time suits your taste.
Part 3 of 3: Fresh Fruit Ferment
Step 1. Make the fermented syrup
When you want to ferment fresh fruit (unlike canned fruit) you need to make the syrup liquid first and let the fermentation process run before you add the fruit to the fermentation process.
- Make a syrup by mixing 1 cup of sugar with 2 cups of water and 1 packet of baker's yeast in a tightly closed jar. Small 0.5L or 1L jars are ideal sizes for this.
- Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.
Step 2. Allow this syrup mixture to ferment for 3 to 4 days
Cover the jar not too tightly (so that the carbon dioxide gas can escape) and leave it at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Watch for froth at the top – When you see froth, it is a sign that the yeast is active and the fermentation process has started
Step 3. Choose the fruit to ferment
When the syrup mixture has been left for 3-4 days, then you can add any fresh fruit you want. Look back to the top of the article to determine which fruit is good for fermenting.
- Use ripe, flawless fruit. If possible, use organic fruit.
- Wash the fruit that you will use, peel the skin, and remove the seeds and rotten holes, then cut into smaller pieces.
Step 4. Add the fruit
Open the jar with the fermented syrup and add the sugar and fresh fruit of your choice. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Safe! You're late for fermenting the fruit. You can eat the fermented fruit straight away, or you can loosen the lid of the jar a bit to make the flavors even more intense.
- You can also add additional flavorings like cinnamon or vanilla pod to create a flavor you like.
- Some types of fruit are very good for fermentation. Black berries (Blackberries) contain too many seeds. Raspberries and strawberries tend to fade when they are fermented. The cherries should be split in such a way that they are easier to eat when they are fermented. It's a good idea to peel some types of fruit like apricots, peaches, and pears before fermenting them. Always use fruit that is ripe, fresh and flawless.
- Add flavor to the fruit according to your taste, can be with mint leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and others. Do not use ground spices, as they will clump and stick together at the rim of the jar.
- You can also make Rumtoph, or any other fruit ferment that uses alcohol, by adding equal portions of sugar and fruit to a jar with a slightly closed lid. Add enough alcohol to completely cover the fruit, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. You can use rum, wine, or brandy.
- You can also ferment frozen fruit. Let the fruit look first, then follow the directions for fermenting canned fruit. Freezing fruit is an ideal choice for fruit that usually fades or softens when fermented. Example: strawberries.
- Remember that fermentation will cause an increase in volume, always provide an empty space so that the contents of the jar are not too full and eventually spill over.
- Closing the jars not too tightly is another important thing to note, because the carbon dioxide gas produced requires a gap to escape. If there are no gaps, then the pressure inside the jar will increase and it will explode.
- If the jar is exposed to high temperatures, the yeast will die. If the jar is kept too cold, the yeast will enter the sleep stage. Room temperature is the most ideal temperature for yeast to be active.