So…it was almost two years ago now that we stumbled upon our greatest discovery. While strolling past an unassuming cafe on the outskirts of Sarajevo, Bosnia, we glanced in to see a large glass jar of something that looked suspiciously like a fermentation project. After a long time of mixed up communications we found out that it was, indeed, a fermented beverage. Smreka was the name, because that’s all it was. Smreka means ‘juniper’ in Bosnian – and this beverage is made of nothing more than juniper berries and water that are left to ferment for one month. The berries are then strained out, and it is served cold, with a heaping spoonful of sugar. We had ours sour and fell in love instantly. It is a simple, sour, pro-biotic tonic with subtle reminders of gin. We were so happy with our discovery. Here was a ferment that we had never before seen nor heard of!
We came home and started making it and spreading the good word about Smreka. Soon, none other than Sandor Katz (the fermentation fetishist who is re-awakening the west to fermentationcaught on and now Smreka is known by thousands throughout the country, and no doubt, the world! (See his latest mass email, below). For instructions on how to make Smreka yourself check out the beverage section of this blog. Have fun!
From Sandor Katz:
> I ve been in semi-seclusion trying to get my new book written. It s
> another book on fermentation, more in-depth, more ferments, more
> variations (many contributed by readers of Wild Fermentation and
> people who have written to me), more exploration of underlying
> processes, and more troubleshooting. The new book is coming along,
> but slowly. I m currently projecting completing the manuscript by
> September. I ve been doing lots of experiments. Lately I ve been
> malting barley, making saké, hammanatto, and one of my new favorites,
> smreka, a tonic beverage from Bosnia. Smreka could not be simpler to
> make: Place about 2 cups (½ liter) of juniper berries in a gallon (4
> liter) jug, and fill it with water. No sugar or anything else
> required. Ferment for about a month, stirring or shaking and
> releasing pressure periodically. Truly delicious. Thanks to Luke
> Regalbuto and Maggie Levinger of Wild West Ferments for sharing that
> one with me, and thanks to all of you who shared feedback, ideas, and
> recipes for the book. I ll keep you posted.
> To stay focused on the book project, I do not have much teaching
> scheduled this coming season. But I do have some, most near home in
> Tennessee, listed below. Please help spread the word. After my book
> is finished I expect to resume periodic travels spreading
> fermentation fervor, but I am not prepared to make more commitments
> until then. However, if you are teaching fermentation classes, or
> know someone who is, please send me the details and I will gladly
> post them on my website. There is such a tremendous hunger for this
> information that the fermentation revival needs more teachers.
> Workshops can be very simple. Consider spreading your fermentation
> fervor wherever you live. As always, if you wish to no longer receive
> my occasional updates, please reply with the magic word “unsubscribe.”
> Best wishes to you.