a recipe for lactofermented lemonade  

refuse (v)(n)(–)   ✕

by Elena Colman
refuse (v)(n)(–) contains many high-res image + video works and should be experienced on larger screens.

6 Lemons
200g Sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 litre filtered water 1
120ml unflavoured kombucha 2

A big jar that holds at least 1500ml
Muslin or a clean tea towel and a rubber band
A citrus squeezer/presser (or fork)
Medium or large swing-top bottle
(You can also re-use a plastic soda bottle)
A funnel 3
A paper Coffee filter
Sterilising tablets (optional)

Ensure your large jar is very clean, ideally sterilised4. Juice your lemons and add them to the jar, along with sugar, salt, kombucha and water. Shake until the sugar and salt dissolves and then cover with the tea towel or muslin. Ensure it’s tightly seal with the string or rubber band as fruit flies are attracted to the smell of fermentation! Leave the mixture in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, for approximately 5 days. You will see a brown froth develop within the first few days. Don’t worry! This means it’s fermenting.

After about 5 days strain the lemonade into sterilised bottles using a funnel and coffee filter. You might find a weird lemony scoby type mass has formed on the top of the lemonade, this is a good sign, just discard it before bottling. Fill the bottles with about an inch air space at the top, you can top up with more filtered water if you don’t have enough lemonade to fill all your bottles, and add 1 tsp sugar to each. Seal and refrigerate. I keep bottles on my balcony when it’s cool out as there isn’t space to keep them upright in the fridge.

The lemonade will continue to ferment and is best left for at least 2 more days. If you’re using glass swing top bottles it’s a good idea to ‘burp’ them daily by opening them to let out excess CO2 build up. If refrigerated your lemonade will last for at least a week. Be aware that the longer you keep it the more it will ferment, so beware of exploding bottles. It will also become slightly alcoholic if left for more than a week, however due to the yeast used it will never get anywhere near the ABV of beer or wine. Keep experimenting! You can try adding herbs or other fruit. You can also use your lemonade as a starter for subsequent batches!

1 If you live in an area with hard water or a lot of chlorine it’s a good idea to filter it. You could use bottled water if you don’t have a filter but this is kind of OTT and not great for the environment so don’t. Worst case scenario, if you don’t have a filter, let the tap water stand in an open vessel overnight and the chlorine will evaporate. TBH it’s probably fine even if you don’t do this, I’ve made brews with unfiltered London tap water and it’s been fine. I only got a filter cos I have fussy house plants so tend to use the filter when doing any sort of brewing but I’ve forgotten from time to time and it’s worked fine.

2 The yeast in the kombucha acts as a starter for the fermentation. If you don’t make kombucha you can buy some, as long as it hasn’t been pasteurised. You can also use the liquid from a jar of sauerkraut or whey from a live yoghurt, which will act in the same way. If you’re using sauerkraut juice probably use a bit less than 120ml otherwise it will taste very savoury. If you would like to start making kombucha it is very easy, you just need a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast - great acronym!), which is the starter yeast culture. You can buy these but if you can get one from a friend who makes kombucha. You can also grow your own scoby by leaving some kombucha until one grows on the top (they look like weird little jellyfish babies). It might encourage the scoby to grow if you pour the kombucha into a clean jar tightly seal with muslin or a tea towel.

3 You can improvise with kitchen towel if you don’t have coffee filters.

4 You can do this with sterilising tablets which are sold in the babycare section of most grocery shops. These are bleach based so ensure you rinse well afterwards. I have been told you should rinse with cooled boiled water after sterilising but tried this once and it was a total rigmarole so now I just use tap water and have never had anything go bad. I am yet to find a more environmentally sound steriliser so please let me know if you’ve found one! An alternative is to boil the container, however this obviously only works for smaller glass vessels. If you go for this option make sure you put the glass in cool water and the bring it to the boil so it doesn’t shatter.

Yeast Print, digital print, 2017

#makehomebrewfemme  is a practice based research project by Elena Colman exploring kitchen-based, non-industrial, fermentation and infusion processes and the social role of alcohol in art events. She is particularly interested in sustainable brewing, using locally foraged ingredients; and in the connection between traditional brewing practices, witchcraft and herbalism. Elena’s practice explores the creation of temporary social spaces in order to explore concepts such as work/life balance, behavioural ethics in dating and what it means to break the binary of private and public life. She is the founder of Ladette Space, a DIY project space (which ran from 2014-2017) and publishing house (ongoing) based in her flat in South East London. She is currently studying on the MA course at the Slade School of Fine Art.


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