Best Fruits For Kombucha

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What are the best fruits for Kombucha? Kombucha, a tea-like beverage often used as a digestive aid, has been around in various cultures for thousands of years. This is because kombucha is beneficial to all areas of health including cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and immune systems. However, not all kombucha is the same! Some may have more health benefits than others depending on what’s used to make it. That’s where harvesting the best fruits for kombucha becomes important.

The 10 Best Seasonal Homemade Kombucha Flavors for Second Ferment

Do you brew kombucha? Are you looking for a splash of inspiration and some tasty new kombucha flavors to try for your second fermentation? Then look no further! Here is a round-up of our favorite seasonal homemade kombucha flavors. Most of the ideas on this list are various combinations of fresh fruit, but a few are a little different too! For example, using spices, vegetables, or creating simple flavored syrups infused with herbs or flowers.

Over the last five years of brewing regularly, we have bottled a lot of kombucha! While we have experimented with dozens of flavor combos, there are a few extra special ones that come to mind, along with a handful of go-to recipes that we always come back to. If you need instructions on the basics of making kombucha, check out this article – and then head back here!


Before we dive into what our favorite picks are, we need to cover a couple important points first: the condition of the fruit you are adding, and how you are adding it. These factors can either make or break your kombucha flavoring efforts!

A bottle of homemade kombucha is being poured into two stemless wine glasses. One is full with an inch or so of foam while the other is nearly full but is still in the process of being poured. The kombucha has a golden hue to it and the sun is setting in the immediate background, creating an even more gold hue to the scene.



Choose Ripe Fruit

I have a little secret to let you in on… No matter how appetizing a fruit or flavor may sound, your kombucha is only going to be as good as the raw ingredients you put into it! That means that if you use underripe, out-of-season, lackluster fruit, your finished kombucha flavor is going to be… well, lackluster too! 

Furthermore, flavoring kombucha is a great way to utilize overripe or damaged fruit instead of composting it! Bruised apples, overly soft peaches, or fruit in otherwise less-than-ideal condition for eating are perfect for kombucha! As long as they aren’t moldy and rotten, that is. Overripe fruit can be the sweetest! #wastenotwantnot


Drink In Season

When we are preparing to bottle kombucha, deciding on the flavor of the week, we ask ourselves a few questions. One of those questions is NOT “What fruit makes the best tasting kombucha ever?” Instead, we think about what is in season, and what is readily available locally – either at the farmer’s market, grocery store, or from our garden.

Eating (and drinking) with the seasons is the most sustainable option, and also the best tasting! Nothing is worse than hard, white, flavorless strawberries, am I right? For optimum sweetness, flavor, and the highest nutritional value, choose produce that is in season now. If possible, local and organic is even better!

Keep in mind that just because something is currently stocked at the grocery store, doesn’t mean it is in season! Check produce stickers to see the origin of the fruit or vegetable. Chances are, if it isn’t coming from the U.S., it isn’t in season here. Use you local farmer’s market for ideas and inspiration! Go explore, and pick up what they’re offering. You may find some delicious favorite flavors of your own – completely different from what we have locally here!

What Fruit is “In Season”?


Below is a general guide to when common fruits are in season in the U.S. To narrow down your search by state and month, check out this awesome Seasonal Food Guide!

  • Spring: some Citrus, beginning of Strawberries & Blueberries
  • Summer: Cherries, Stone Fruit, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Melon, Grapes
  • Fall: Apples, Pear, Passionfruit, Grapes 
  • Winter: Apples, Persimmon, Citrus, Kiwi, Pear, Passionfruit
  • Year-round: Beets and Carrots… not fruit, but great in booch!


How You Add Flavor or Fruit to Your Kombucha

In addition to what you add, how you go about flavoring your kombucha will also make a huge difference in the final beverage! If you read our “Kombucha Carbonation Tips: How to Bottle, Flavor & Second Ferment” article, you will already be familiar with some of this. If you haven’t checked that out yet, I highly suggest doing so! It sets the foundation for how to go about adding the flavors that you’ll see below.


Whole Fruit Vs Blended or Juiced

In general, the best way to truly infuse your homemade kombucha with maximum flavor is to add pureed (blended) fruit, or fruit juice. That way, the fruit becomes one with the booch! On the other hand, when chunks of whole fruit are steeped in a kombucha brew, far less flavor transfers from the fruit into the beverage.

We have also found that adding puree or juice leads to better carbonation than steeping. If you find that the fruit you are using isn’t naturally as sweet as you’d like it, you can always add a sprinkle of sugar or dollop of honey into the blender along with it. 

Your Process

I guess I should state now that I am not going to include exact amounts or detailed instructions for every flavor on this list – but of course I will provide some tips. As you read through the following flavor ideas, let them serve as a guide – but feel free to experiment! Amounts will vary depending on how much kombucha you are bottling. Also take into account what kind of method or machine you’re using, and keep in mind that you may need to make a few modifications.

For example, we use a Vitamix to blend our raw fruit and veggies, mixed with just a few ounces of plain finished kombucha to help it blend into a smooth, pourable puree. Then we add a couple ounces of that puree into each swing-top bottle of plain kombucha. The Vitamix is a beast, and can easily blend raw whole beets, knobby chunks of unpeeled ginger root, tough carrots, or whatever else we throw in there! It turns everything silky smooth. If you are using a different blender, you may find the need to do a little more prep beforehand. For example, lightly steam raw beets before they’re blended, or remove the tough skin from a persimmon. 

Got pulp? Personally, we don’t mind slightly pulpy kombucha. Yet if you want a more clean beverage, you may want to use a juicer instead of a blender. Or, strain your blended puree before adding it to the bottle – especially for seedy berries! Finally, you could also pour the final product through a funnel strainer after second fermentation, just before consuming it.

10 BEST SEASONAL KOMBUCHA FLAVORS

1) Anything Ginger 

That’s right. Ginger everything! Fresh ginger root is an amazing, zingy addition to kombucha. It also helps increase carbonation! As you continue reading, pretty much all of the kombucha flavors on this list go wonderfully with ginger! To do so, we simply add a little chunk of raw ginger to the Vitamix when we are blending the  fruit. Instead of blending, you can also grate or cut small chunks of ginger and toss them in the bottle during second ferment. Steeping ginger infuses its flavor far better than steeping fruit chunks! 


2) Beet & Friends

Like ginger, red beets pair well with a wide variety of other fruit friends! We especially love strawberry-beet, beet blended with fresh orange juice, and beet-ginger. The addition of beets in kombucha second ferment also lead to some serious carbonation – so watch out for “beet bombs”! With their frisky fizz and intense (staining) color, they can be particularly messy. Don’t let that dissuade you from making beet flavors though! Just keep an eye on them and don’t let them over-ferment. 

Again, we simply throw raw beet chunks in the Vitamix and blend them with a few ounces of plain kombucha (or orange/lemon juice) until smooth. Before we had a Vitamix, I peeled and steamed them on the stovetop until tender to the fork, and then blended them up. Get ready for some eye-popping, vibrant colored kombucha! 

Many EZ Cap bottles lined up like bowling pins with 16 ounce bottles in the front and 32 ounce bottles in the back. The bottles are labeled with the flavor, "Beet Ginger Valencia" and are a beautiful dark red to purple. They are sitting on a dark wood skinny coffee table with many houseplants of various shades of green in the background.



3) Strawberry Lemonade

I mean, who doesn’t love strawberry lemonade? Strawberry kombucha is a divine thing of its own too! This flavor arose out of our “need” to find more ways to use our backyard Meyer lemons. Instead of adding the usual few ounces of plain kombucha to the ripe strawberries in the blender, we substitute with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. That sweet-and-sour combo is awesome. We also found that by adding citrus, the kombucha gets a tad less carbonated – which can be a good thing, since strawberry can get overly fizzy on its own sometimes. 


4) Apple Cinnamon

This is one of our go-to kombucha flavors, especially when our backyard apple tree is dumping fruit, or when the local farms ramp up in the fall! By blending together fresh apples and a few dashes of cinnamon powder, the finished kombucha tastes like a winning combination of spiced apple juice and apple cider vinegar. 

Truth be told, we usually have organic bottled apple juice in the house too. It is what I drink when my blood sugar gets low – Type 1 diabetic here! So if we ever are running low on fresh fruit on kombucha bottling day, we use bottled apple juice and cinnamon as an easy and tasty solution. Cinnamon also helps reduce blood sugar spikes!


5) Mango Lime

A legitimate tropical party in a bottle. If you haven’t yet discovered this trick, know this: both ripe mango and papaya are absolutely to-die-for when eaten with fresh lime juice drizzled on top! So we implemented that same notion with some California mangoes in our kombucha a few times, and it did not disappoint.  Simply blend chunks of skinned, ripe mango with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and add it to your finished kombucha in second ferment. 
6) Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice

I am not sure why, but we don’t eat many oranges usually. Too messy? I don’t know. But when Aaron’s parents unloaded a huge box of their homegrown, super-sweet Valencia oranges on us, we had to put them to good use! And let me tell you… now we buy oranges when they’re in season, just to add them to kombucha! It couldn’t get more simple, or delicious. Squeeze your own fresh oranges, and add said juice to your booch. Boom. Sunshine in a bottle! Like the apple juice hack, a couple ounces of bottled organic orange juice is also an excellent addition to kombucha in a pinch


7) Stone Fruit

Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, pluots – you name it! Any and all stone fruit create stellar kombucha flavors. Since they’re also so delicious to eat, and we don’t grow these ourselves, I often am hesitant to do a full batch of kombucha using just one type or precious stone fruit. Thus, we do a lot of fun mixing with these! Plum and melon, peach and strawberry, or even many types of stone fruit mixed together. 


8) Blackberry Lavender

Oooh, lavender huh? I’m sure you can figure out how to include blackberries in kombucha, but how about lavender, or other aromatic herbs and flowers? It is very easy to create a simple flower-infused “syrup” to add to your kombucha! I use the term “syrup” loosely because I am not interested in creating a super-sweet, thick syrup. What we do is more like making a cup of tea! 

Using a loose-leaf tea infuser, cheesecloth, or other tightly-woven but breathable material, steep a handful of fresh or dry lavender blooms in a cup of hot water. Add a few tablespoons of sugar to make a mildly sweet syrup. Then pour this alongside your blackberries (and plain kombucha, if needed) in the blender. It should go without saying, this type of lavender syrup could be added directly to plain kombucha – or mixed with other fruit as well! I made a honeydew lavender flavored kombucha once that was pretty amazing



9) Herb-Infused Flavors

In addition to creating a light lavender syrup (described in #7 above), many other herbs can be used and infused in the same manner! For example, steeping sprigs of rosemary to create a rosemary and citrus kombucha. Another delicious option is using mint with strawberry and lime – mojito style! Mint is tender enough that it could easily be blended with fruit rather than steeped if you prefer. However, because rosemary and lavender are so woody, I would stick with infusing them. 


10) Carrot

Here is a more savory option for you! Though, carrots can be pretty sweet themselves! During our homegrown carrot season, we love to blend raw carrots to flavor kombucha. A juicer would really be ideal for this one. For an added nutritional boost and pop of flavor, try blending or grating a small piece of fresh turmeric root with the carrots! If that sounds too savory and vegetal for you, carrots also pair perfectly with orange juice, ginger, or apple. 

5 OF THE BEST FRUIT FLAVORED KOMBUCHA RECIPES + HOW TO GET THAT FIZZ!

Strawberry Lemonade Kombucha in bottle on cutting board
Cherry candied ginger kombucha in bottle on counter
Mango Kombucha in bottle on counter
Cranberry kombucha with bottle

My favorite fruit flavored kombucha recipes using fresh fruit, frozen fruit or dried fruit – plus tips for how to get fizzy kombucha!

That first taste was so strange. Mildly vinegary, slightly fruity and refreshingly fizzy.

We were grabbing a meal at an outdoor cafe and my sister ordered kombucha and invited me to try a sip. At first, I didn’t think I liked it, but after a few sips it started growing on me.

Little did I know, I would grow so enamored with kombucha that I would start to brew it at home on a regular basis!

Years later, we have quite the system down for brewing and bottling kombucha in our kitchen!

I’m the one who brews the tea, adds the sugar and gets everything set up for the initial fermentation with the scoby in a 2 gallon glass jar. (You’ll find my tried and true kombucha brewing process in this post – plus some rookie brewing mistakes you don’t want to make.)

When it’s time to bottle, I usually recruit my husband to help. We get out our reusable bottles and caps, a funnel and whatever fruit and sweeteners we happen to be using to flavor our kombucha.

We make a bit of a mess because we always spill a little, but it’s worth it in the end!

Read on to get recipes for all our favorite fruit flavored kombucha recipes!

Kombucha brewing process

KOMBUCHA RECIPES – HOW TO MAKE FIZZY KOMBUCHA WITH SECONDARY FERMENTATION

First things first – the question everyone always asks – “How do you make fizzy kombucha instead of flat?”

The initial fermentation of your kombucha may create a bit of carbonation on its own. That’s because the scoby makes an airtight seal in the brewing vessel, allowing CO2 to build up underneath.

The best way to get fizz in your kombucha is through secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation occurs when you bottle your kombucha.

Here are some tips for increasing carbonation in the bottle to get fizzy kombucha:

  • Add sugar – Yeast gobbles up sugar and the result is bubbles! Sugar can be added in the form of fruit (fresh, pureed or dried) or with a squirt of honey. (See flavoring recipes below.)
  • Fill bottles completely – Less oxygen means more room for carbon dioxide to build up.
  • Cap tightly – Don’t let those bubbles escape. If you are reusing bottles, make sure the lids are tight. Flip-top bottles are a great choice because they seal completely.
  • Leave out on counter – Warm air leads to more fizz. (Note: Exploding kombucha bottles are rare but you should check bottles after 2 to 3 days at room temperature and consider moving to the refrigerator if the carbonation level is high. This is especially true in summertime temps!)

That said, once you start brewing kombucha, you’ll find that the amount of carbonation can be hit or miss. Some bottles bring on a huge amount of fizz (best to open bottles over the sink, just in case!) and some just fizzle out.

When you do get a flat bottle of kombucha, just mix it with a little carbonated water to get your desired fizz!

5 Fruit Flavored Kombucha Recipes

5 FRUIT FLAVORED KOMBUCHA RECIPES

Over many years of brewing kombucha, we’ve tried many different recipes and flavor combinations. Home brewed kombucha is tasty on its own – but we tend to prefer it after a secondary fermentation with fruit.

Secondary fermentation can be done with fresh fruit, frozen fruit, dried fruit or fruit juice – there are so many options!

One thing I’ve realized is that flavored kombucha is not an exact science. The ingredient amounts I suggest here are just that – suggestions! Feel free to customize these recipes as you see fit and don’t worry too much about precise measurements.

There is no set rule for how long to let your kombucha sit in secondary fermentation. Typically I start tasting it after a couple days but it can last for about a month. In warm weather, I often move the bottles into the refrigerator after 2 or 3 days to make sure they don’t build up so much carbonation that they explode.

Also, most of these flavors involve leaving fruit in the bottle during secondary fermentation. You will need to use a small mesh strainer to strain out the fruit before serving.

Here are our top 5 fruit-based kombucha recipes:

1. BLUEBERRY GINGERALE

This recipe involves a tiny bit of cooking – but it’s worth it! We use frozen blueberries and fresh ginger to make a blueberry ginger syrup to add to bottles during secondary fermentation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup water

Method: Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until blueberries are soft and mushy and a light syrup is created. Let cool completely before using. Strain out the pulp so you have the liquid only. Makes 1/2 cup of syrup which is perfect for a 1 liter bottle of kombucha.

2. STRAWBERRY LEMONADE

I’m amazed at how the delicate flavor of strawberries comes through the acidic kombucha – but it does! Lemonade is a perfect complement to the strawberries to make a nice light flavor for summer!

Ingredients:

  • Fresh organic strawberries
  • Lemonade (I like Simply Lemonade)

Method: Cut up 2 to 3 strawberries into chunks. Add strawberries and 1/2 cup lemonade to a 16 oz bottle.

3. CHERRY CANDIED GINGER

Cherry is another classic kombucha flavor and it’s especially great combined with spicy candied ginger.

Ingredients:

  • Dried cherries (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • Crystalized candied ginger

Method: Add a layer of cherries to bottle (1/2 to 1 inch), plus a few chunks of candied ginger.

4. MANGO PUREE

If you are a mango fan, you will love this simple mango kombucha made with pureed mango.

Ingredients: 

  • Frozen organic mangos
  • Honey (optional)

Method: Defrost mangos and puree in a blender until smooth. Add 1/4 cup mango puree to a 16 oz bottle. Add a squirt of honey if desired.

5. CRANBERRY FIZZ

Last but not least, this is our favorite kombucha flavor, hand’s down! And it’s the easiest one of all! We tend to use sweetened cranberries because the sugar helps to make the kombucha fizzier. You can add honey if you want but it’s not necessary. We just love the mellow but rich flavor that comes from the craisins!

Ingredients:

  • Dried cranberries (craisins), sweetened and preferably organic
  • Honey (optional)

Method: Use enough dried cranberries to cover the bottom of the bottle – 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Add a squirt of honey directly to the bottle.

Flavored Kombucha

Flavored Kombucha is a fermented drink that is a delicious treat and easy to make! This flavored Kombucha recipe uses fruit for a variety of flavors. Even kids love it!

Flavored Kombucha shown in jars with fruit and scoby around.

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweet tea, that is slightly carbonated and full of probiotics.

I am sure you have seen the bottles of fruit-flavored Kombucha in stores such as Sprouts or Whole Foods.

You may have even bought them.

I confess I have from time to time. Even though I do not like spending so much on them, they taste so good and it is so refreshing!

I have bought them at Sprouts and once even had a flavor with Chia seeds in it – it was delicious! I love chewing my juice!

Flavored Kombucha shown in jars with fruit on a cutting board.

But, as I was drinking them, I kept thinking that I should be able to make this or at least something close to it!

Thanks to a friend whom I was talking with, now you can make fruit-flavored kombucha easily and for a fraction of the cost of the store-bought version.Jump to:

Instructions

All you need is kombucha and fruit – you can use frozen fruit straight from the freezer or fresh fruit.

I used to make Kombucha (see How to Make Kombucha) a gallon at a time but I have fallen in love with the Kombucha Continuous Brew Method because it is so easy!

Either way, once the kombucha is fermented and ready, you will do a second fermentation.

I did a few batches to try it – strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry.

Adding the fruit:

  • For the strawberry, I used a half-gallon jar of kombucha and added 1 cup of whole frozen strawberries.
  • With the blueberry kombucha, I used ⅓ cup of frozen blueberries to a quart of kombucha.
  • For raspberry, I used ½ cup of fresh raspberries to a quart of Kombucha.

Once you add the fruit to the Kombucha, the berries begin changing the color of the kombucha almost immediately.

I let them sit on the kitchen counter for a couple of days before refrigerating the jars.

After 2 days, the finished product has a beautiful color – and the taste, well, I wish I could share it with you!

Experiment to see how strong a flavor you like the best. The longer you leave it out, the stronger the flavor becomes.

Variations

You can use almost any fruit you’d like and don’t be afraid to get creative with different variations and combinations!

  • Fruit. We’ve had success using strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, and grapes. Try substituting half of the fruit for a different fruit to create a delicious combination like strawberry-blackberry kombucha!
  • Herbs and spices. Basil, lavender, thyme, ginger, and cinnamon are all great additions to spice up the flavor of your kombucha. A lemon thyme kombucha would be perfect for spring and summer!
  • Fruit juice. For a stronger fruit flavor, try using fruit juice! Add ¼ cup juice to 16 – 20 oz of Kombucha.

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