How To Ferment Fruits and Beverages at Home

Although fermentation may seem like a daunting process that only scientists could get right, that’s not the case! Check out this article for some easy ways to ferment blueberries, pineapples, apricots, and canned fruit. 

Regardless of your experience with home fermentation, we promise that you can whip up a batch of delicious fermented fruit in no time. 

What Fruits Can You Ferment?

Believe it or not, most fruits can be fermented! Soft fruits such as peaches, plums, and apricots work especially well because they retain their color and taste after fermentation. 

That said, other fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, grapes, pears, apples, and berries can also be fermented. Keep in mind that fermentation may affect their color and taste, so expect them to taste different when the process is over. 

Blueberries

You can easily ferment blueberries at home to make a tasty, delicious treat. This section will provide you with two ways to ferment blueberries. 

Method #1: Salt

To ferment blueberries in salt, you’ll need 2% non-iodized salt brine. To figure out the ratio of salt to blueberries in the fermentation mixture, multiply the number of blueberries you want to ferment (in grams) by 0.02 to get the amount of salt you’ll need in the mixture. 

Depending on how you want to use the fermented blueberries, you can either leave the berries intact or crush them lightly, opening the skins slightly. Once you’ve crushed the berries, add them to a bowl and pour the salt on top. Stir the mixture to coat the blueberries. Pour the berries into a jar and fill the jar with water. 

Place a lid on the jar loosely, leaving enough room for air bubbles to escape. After 24 hours of fermentation, taste the mixture every once in a while until the berries have fermented to your liking. This process can take anywhere from 3-7 days.

Method #2: Sugar Brine

For the second blueberry fermentation method, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons of kombucha, whey, or water kefir liquid
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of cane sugar
  • 9 tablespoons of filtered water 

To begin this fermentation process, heat the water slightly. In a jar, add the sugar and salt, then pour in the warm water. Stir the mixture until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool before proceeding with fermentation. 

Once the mixture is cool, add the blueberries and kombucha. If the fruit does not seem to be submerged in the brine, you can add a fermentation weight. 

Place a loose lid on the jar with enough room to allow the gasses to release. As with the first method, begin to check the fermenting fruits after 24 hours. The longer they ferment, the stronger the flavor will be. 

Pineapple

Another tasty way to ferment fruit at home is to use fermentation to turn pineapple rinds into tepache! Tepache is a traditional Mexican beverage that dates back to pre-Columbian times and is still enjoyed as a street beverage today. 

To make tepache at home, you’ll need:

  • 1 pineapple 
  • 1 cup of organic sugar or piloncillo 
  • 2 quarts of water
  • A glass pitcher or clay pot
  • Cheesecloth or plastic wrap

If you want to add more flavor to your tepache, you can also use spices like cinnamon and cloves. 

First, peel your pineapple, setting the fruit aside and making sure to rinse the peel. After this is done, place the pineapple peels, sugar, and whatever spices you’re using in your pitcher. Pour the water on top of the mixture and give it a stir. 

Once everything is in the pitcher, cover it loosely with a cheesecloth or plastic wrap. Let it sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove any foam that has formed on the surface of your mixture. Cover it loosely again and let it ferment for another day or day and a half. Letting the tepache ferment for longer can be detrimental. 

As soon as the tepache is done fermenting, strain and put it into a pitcher with ice to serve. If it is still too bitter after fermentation, you can add more sugar to taste. 

Apricots

Apricots also make delicious fermented fruit. To ferment apricots, you need to first make a syrup. You can do so by mixing 1 cup of sugar with 2 cups of water and one packet of baking yeast in a jar. Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Make sure the lid to the jar is fastened loosely.

You want to let the syrup ferment for about 3 to 4 days before adding the fruit. You’ll know that it is ready when bubbles are beginning to form at the top of the jar. These bubbles indicate that the yeast is alive and the fermentation process has begun. 

On the third or fourth day of fermentation, you are ready to add the fruit. Make sure to use apricots that are fully ripe and unblemished. Before adding them to the syrup, wash the apricots, remove their skin, and take out the pits. If you want, you can chop them into bite-size pieces. 

Finally, add the apricots to the syrup and add as much sugar as you do fresh fruit. Make sure to stir the sugar to dissolve it in the syrup. You can eat the apricots right away or allow them to ferment for a few days more by loosely resealing the lid and placing the jar in a cool, dark place. If you want to add more flavor to your apricots, now would be a good time to add spices. 

Canned Fruit

If you’re looking for a quicker way to ferment fruit, you can ferment canned fruit. To do so, you first need to choose a banned fruit and drain the liquid from the fruit. Canned fruits such as peaches and pears are especially delicious when fermented. 

After you’ve chosen your canned fruit to ferment, add equal amounts of sugar and drained canned fruit to a jar. Make sure the jar can be loosely lidded. 

After the sugar and fruit are in the jar, add a package of baking yeast. Stir all of the ingredients together to combine. Continue stirring until the sugar has dissolved. If you want to add any flavorings to your fruit, you can do so once the sugar is dissolved. 

Make sure there’s approximately one inch of space between the mixture at the top of the jar. There must be space in the jar because the fruit will expand as it ferments. Place the lid on the jar loosely. You want to make sure that there is enough space for carbon dioxide gas to escape but not enough that insects can get in. 

Place the jar in a cool, dark place. As the fruit ferments, bubbles will appear on the fruit. The bubbles occur as a result of the yeast digesting the fruit and turning it into alcohol. Check the fruit after 24 hours. If you let the fruit ferment for up to 2 or 3 weeks, the syrup will be completely turned into alcohol. 

Conclusion

Fruit fermentation at home is a great way to turn your favorite fruits into delicious, tasty treats. Regardless of the fruit you choose to ferment, make sure to follow the directions closely and always thoroughly clean your fermentation tools to ensure fermentation success!


Sources:

Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease | NCBI

Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins | NIH

Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review | NCBI

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