Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade, Naturally Fermented Soda

I have had a lot of small projects going on lately.  I think it's because both our cars are out of commission and I have a lot of spare time on my hands... and because making things is just so darn fun! :) 

The soda recipe that I recently made is from a blog called Learning Herbs.  If you want to view the original post, click here.

The kids and I picked some wonderful Florida blueberries a few weeks ago, and this was a perfect project to use up 6 cups of them.  I assume you can use any kind of berry/fruit with this recipe, or just make ginger soda with your "bug" (which I have done before).

To make the "bug", or soda culture, needed to naturally ferment your homemade soda, fill a quart mason jar 1/2 to 3/4 full of filtered water (non-chlorinated).  Add 1 T freshly-chopped ginger root and 2 t unprocessed sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Let it sit 24 hours, then add 2t ginger and 2t sugar.  Repeat this process until your mixture is good and bubbly.  My "bug" took only 4 days to reach maximum bubbliness!  

While you are building your "bug", make sure to cover it with a secured cloth to prevent any contaminants from finding their way in.

Here's my "bug" after only 4 days.  The natural yeasts on the ginger root are very active and ready to culture some soda!


For the next part of the soda-making process, you will need:

6 cups berries/fruit
1 1/2 c unprocessed sugar
1 gallon filtered water
1 cup soda "bug"
glass gallon-sized jar

Pour your berries into a large cooking pot and add 1/2 gallon filtered water and sugar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Pour into your gallon jar, then top off with more filtered water.  Be sure to leave room in the jar for your "bug" and for a little expansion from the fermentation!  When the mixture has cooled, add the "bug" and stir.  Be sure to stir the mixture a couple of times every day thereafter.

Here's the fermenting vessel I used for the soda.  And, after about 3 days, my vessel looked like this:

When your  soda looks this bubbly, you may choose to go ahead and bottle it!  If you prefer a less- sweet soda, you can let the fermentation continue for another few days- up to a week.

I chose to bottle mine on day 3.  (Before bottling, make sure you filter your soda with a large strainer or colander.)  Since I have had homemade soda bottles explode on me before, I am putting mine in the fridge right away.  The original recipe called for a second fermentation in the bottles, but I'm a little paranoid about exploding glass.  So, I will keep mine in the fridge for another week or so, then I will test the carbonation and go from there!  If you choose to leave your bottles on the counter for another 2-3 days, please check the carbonation every 12 to 24 hours so that an accidental explosion is less likely!  I would rather be cautious than sorry. :) 

Enjoy your homemade, probiotic-rich sodas with family and friends.  Feel good about serving a healthy soda to the people you love!

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