Fermentation of currant leaves is one of the ways to obtain high-quality raw materials for brewing a healthy drink for the body. The purpose of the procedure is to convert the insoluble tissues of the leaf plates into soluble ones, which will allow the body to easily assimilate them.
Is it possible to ferment currant leaves
When choosing a plant for tea, it is necessary to focus on the presence of tannins (tannins) in it. Their presence is a guarantee of tasty raw materials for the drink. They are contained in strawberries, cherries, currants.
The maximum amount of tannins is found in young leaf plates; in a coarse leaf, the supply of these substances is much lower.
There are no specific varieties of currants recommended for the fermentation procedure, but most often they use black-fruited representatives of the culture.
Benefits of Fermented Currant Leaves
Any plant has a number of substances that can help the human body to function fully. Fermentation of currant leaves for tea allows you to take advantage of the following properties of the culture:
- strengthening the immune system;
- reduction of signs of toxicosis;
- elimination of insomnia;
- support of kidney and urinary tract function in various pathological conditions;
- normalization of digestion.
Often, currant tea is prescribed for pregnant women during colds, when other methods of treatment are impractical.
Important! You should refuse tea from currant leaves after fermentation in case of allergic reactions, thrombophlebitis and gastric ulcer.
Preparing currant leaves for fermentation
Neglect of the rules for the procurement of raw materials and violation of the stages of its processing significantly reduces the taste of the finished product.
Initially, for fermentation, it is required to collect the required amount of currant leaves. To do this, in dry weather, in the morning, leaf plates located in the shade should be cut off. If they are dirty, then you need to wash them under running water. In the absence of obvious signs of contamination, you should not rinse the currant leaves: they contain bacteria that favorably contribute to the fermentation process.
The selected leaf plate should be intact, of an even green shade, without signs of damage: red or yellow spots, and other external defects.
The collection of raw materials for fermentation is possible during the summer season: tea from spring leaves is obtained more delicate, with a pleasant subtle aroma. The maximum amount of nutrients accumulates in the leaf plates when the plant begins to bear fruit. Autumn harvesting is ineffective: the fermentation process is more difficult, the raw material requires longer processing.
How to ferment currant leaves at home
Freshly harvested leaf plates must be wilted. This procedure facilitates further steps in the fermentation of the currant leaf.
Important! Thanks to withering, processes begin in the raw material that contribute to the destruction of chlorophyll and other compounds, which, as a result, gives the leaf plate a taste and herbal smell (there is an accumulation of essential oils).
The collected raw currant for fermentation should be laid out on a linen towel or cotton cloth with a layer of 3-5 cm and left indoors. It is required to periodically stir the sheets so that they wither evenly. Avoid exposure to sunlight.
The duration of the process is up to 12 hours, it varies depending on the humidity and temperature in the room. On warm days, the plant wilts faster, during the rainy season, the fermentation stage lasts several days. Optimal parameters for the procedure are room temperature + 20-24 ° С and air humidity up to 70%.
To determine the end of the fermentation stage, it is enough to fold the currant leaf in half: if there is a "crunch", it is necessary to continue to wither the raw material. The leaf plate ready for fermentation should not straighten out when compressed into a lump.
The next stage of fermentation of the black currant leaf is freezing. It is designed to facilitate post-processing. With a sharp drop in temperature, the structure of cell membranes is disrupted, which leads to the release of juice.
To do this, the leaf plates are placed in a bag for 1-2 days in the freezer. After the lapse of time, they should be removed and spread out in an even layer until they are completely defrosted.
The goal of the next stage of processing is to destroy the structure of the leaf so that it releases the maximum amount of juice with beneficial substances. There are several ways of this stage of the procedure.
Manual twisting of the sheet
Several sheet plates, 7-10 pieces, are carefully rolled between the palms into a "roll" until the mass darkens from the emerging juice. In the future, the raw material rolled into a tube is cut, which makes it possible to obtain small-leaved tea.
Kneading-crushing currant leaf
Outwardly, the procedure is similar to kneading the dough: the leaves are squeezed in a deep bowl for 15-20 minutes with squeezing movements, until the released juice appears, which is necessary for further fermentation.
Important! In the process, it is required to loosen the resulting lumps so that all currant leaf plates are processed.
The use of this method allows in the future to obtain large-leaf currant tea.
Twisting in a meat grinder
For the procedure, you can use both mechanical action and an electrical device. Sheet plates must be passed through a large grate. Granulated tea can be obtained from the crushed mass.
Important! In a mechanical meat grinder, the process of twisting currant leaves requires more physical effort, which must be taken into account when choosing a method for processing a plant.
The taste and quality of the finished product depend on whether the currant leaves are fermented correctly. It is important to provide the required temperature and humidity during the procedure.
To do this, the processed leaves are placed in 7-10 layers in a plastic container, covered with linen cloth on top, a heavy object is placed on it, which will replace the press.
After that, the dishes must be transferred to a warm place, periodically check that the material does not dry out. To do this, it is moistened with water.
The duration of the process is individual: it is recommended to maintain the temperature in the room + 22-26 ° С. At lower rates, fermentation of the currant leaf slows down or stops. Excessively high temperatures speed up the process, but the quality of the finished tea deteriorates significantly.
Important! The duration of the fermentation process, provided the required temperature is provided, lasts 6-8 hours. Readiness is determined by the appearance of a pungent odor.
If the raw material was twisted or kneaded before fermentation of the currant leaf, then it must be cut into pieces up to 0.5 cm in order to obtain a leafy appearance of the tea. The plant, minced with a meat grinder, does not need further processing.
The fermented mass should be spread out on baking sheets pre-lined with baking paper.
Drying is carried out in a slightly open oven for 1-1.5 hours, with uniform heating at 100 ° C, then the temperature must be reduced to 50-60 ° C and continue the procedure until the moisture has completely evaporated. It is important to mix the raw materials regularly. The finished currant leaf will break when pressed rather than crush.
At the end of the process, the tea must be removed from the oven, cooled and poured into fabric bags.
With proper fermentation of currant leaves and their drying, the granules have a faint odor, make a rustling sound if the tissue bag is shaken. Having a strong aroma is a sign of poorly cooked food: there is a high risk that the tea leaves will become moldy.
Fermented Currant Leaf Uses
The brewing procedure has no peculiarities: the kettle must be thoroughly washed, then the fermented currant leaf must be poured into it, given that 1 glass of water needs 1-2 tsp. raw materials.
Brew the tea leaves processed by fermentation with boiling water, leave to infuse for 10-20 minutes, previously covered with a warm cloth. Before serving, it is necessary to pour part of the tea leaves into glasses, top up with hot water.
Terms and conditions of storage
It is recommended to store fermented currant leaves in glass or plastic containers. Birch bark boxes are suitable as containers. Packaged tea must be transferred to a dark, dry place. It is recommended to renew stocks of currant leaves annually.
Fermentation of currant leaves is a fun, patience-requiring process to produce a guaranteed quality product. Brewed tea is used not only as a tasty, but also a healthy drink.