Bird-inspired Kombucha Infusions to Quench Your Thirst


Did you know that the same fruits that attract birds such as orioles, bluebirds, and Scarlet Tanagers to your backyard can make homemade kombucha taste fruity and tangy? 

Kombucha, a bubbly drink made from fermented black tea, originated in Northeast China during the Tsin Dynasty. According to Bloomberg, kombucha sales in 2018 were up 43 percent and were set to break $1 billion in sales.

To make different flavors of kombucha, you can infuse fruits, herbs, and other ingredients like ginger during the second fermentation. We chose infusions inspired by specific fruit that you can leave out to feed each bird. We followed this recipe from Sara Bond, @liveeatlearn, for the kombucha base. Swap cocktails for homemade, birdy kombucha at your next office happy hour or kickback with friends with these three fruity flavor infusions, developed by the Audubon Walker Fellows:

Supplies

3 glass bottles with stoppers
Measuring cup
knife

Orange Mulberry Oriole

Ingredients
Kombucha
⅛ cup of oranges
⅛ cup of mulberries

About the Bird: Two of the most common orioles are the Baltimore Oriole in the east and the Bullock’s Oriole in the west. They nest near forest edges, and they are foragers that eat insects, seeds, and fruits. They will also eat sugar water.

How to make the infusion:
Cut the orange into circular slices
Cut the slices in half, then cut small segments 
Take the side of your knife, and lightly mash the mulberries to release the juices 
Add the fruit into the glass bottle with a stopper
Fill with kombucha, leaving 1 ½ inches from the top
Let sit in a dark room for 3-6 days, opening the bottle daily to “burp” the kombucha to avoid an explosion due to the pressure from fermentation.

Blackberry Currant Bluebird

Ingredients
Kombucha
⅛ cup of currants
⅛ cup of blackberries

About the Bird: Bluebirds live in semi-open environments that are mixtures of trees and grassland, such as farms and orchards. These members of the thrush family forage on fruits and berries.

How to make the infusion:
Cut currants in half.
Take the side of your knife and lightly mash the blackberries to release the juices
Add the fruit into the glass bottle with a stopper
Fill with kombucha, leaving 1 ½ inches from the top
Let sit in a dark room for 3-6 days, opening the bottle daily to “burp” the kombucha to avoid an explosion due to the pressure from fermentation.

Cherry Scarlet Tanager

Ingredients
Kombucha
¼ cup of cherries

About the bird: The Scarlet Tanager is a beautiful, bright red bird in the Cardinals, Grosbeaks, and Buntings family. They live in the oak forests of the east and midwest, but they are vulnerable to loss of habitat caused by climate change. Scarlet Tanagers feed on insects and berries.

How to make the infusion:
Remove pits from the cherries 
Quarter the cherries
Add the fruit into the glass bottle with a stopper 
Fill with kombucha, leaving 1 ½ inches from the top
Let sit in a dark room for 3-6 days, opening the bottle daily to “burp” the kombucha to avoid an explosion due to the pressure from fermentation.

Enjoy!

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