One of my first attempts at fermenting foods was a salad that included fruit—diced apples and oranges with cranberries. It sounded delicious. It tasted like it could make me drunk. I had no idea what went wrong. Since then, I’ve learned quite a bit about fermenting fruit. Keep reading for my four best tips for fermenting fruit successfully.
There is an abundance of information published online and in books about vegetables. But, when I try to find information about successful fruit ferments, I come up empty-handed. I think this lack of information is because fermenting fruit is a little trickier than fermenting vegetables.
Another reason for the lack of fruit how-tos could be that fermented fruit does not keep very long. So, while a person might ferment their cabbage as sauerkraut to keep it through the winter, fermenting fruit as a long-term storage method makes no sense. Therefore, fermented fruit products need to be eaten within a few weeks of production.
But don’t let these facts stop you. Fermented fruit is delightful and well worth the trouble. You just have to keep an eye on what you are doing.
Since that first fruit salad I tried to make, I have successfully fermented lemons. They have an interesting flavor. You can read how to ferment lemons here.
I also have added berries to the second ferment of my kombucha. You can read about fermenting kombucha here.
If you want to add berries, mangos, or citrus to your ferments, here are a few tips to help you on your way to success:
4 Easy Tips to Successfully Fermenting Fruit
• Always keep your fruit submerged in the brine, by using weights, to eliminate the formation of mold. Fruit will float more than vegetables so you may need to use more than one weight in a jar.
• Fruit requires a shorter fermentation period than vegetables. This is because the higher sugar content causes it to turn to alcohol quickly. Therefore, start tasting your ferment after a few days. When your fruit tastes slightly tart and faintly effervescent, move the jar to the refrigerator.
• Mixing your fruit with vegetables will lower the sugar content in your recipe. This will slow the fermentation time and keep it from turning to alcohol too quickly. Think salad or chutney, here. Cabbage and carrots and cranberries, oh my!
• To encourage the formation of lactic acid, rather than alcohol, cut back on the salt and use whey in your brine.
What fruits have you included in your ferments? I’d love for you to share your ideas with us in the comments.
If you are just beginning your fermentation journey, and are unsure if it’s for you, try the Fermentools Starter Kit. Less expensive than a fermentation crock, the kit will turn your Mason jar into a fermentation vessel for a fraction of the cost.