Making lacto-fermented sodas is addictive. It's fun to make things bubbly! Basically, you can turn any sweet tea or juice into a naturally carbonated, healthful soda. We ferment everything we drink these days. It's fun and tasty, as well as healthy! When a friend of mine started making sodas, I was initially like, why would you want to do that? Why replicate something so unhealthy? Little did I know, lacto-fermented sodas are good for you! For more info and inspiration, check out Wild Fermentation! by Sandor Katz.
I am not a fan of store bought sodas, but I do have fond memories of drinking grape soda and rootbeer as a kid. I love that I can make the healthy versions of these kid-friendly drinks! Lacto-fermentation converts sugars to carbon gas (bubbles) and lactic acid, which aids digestion and has other health properties. When old-timers suggest drinking a soda to settle an upset stomach, this is the soda they mean. Plus, yum!
First, make a Ginger Bug (click here for instructions on making your own Ginger Bug, which will assist nearly any fermentation). This is easy, but requires 3 days advance planning. The soda itself will take another 4 days... but don't worry, you don't have to do more than stir it twice a day for 3 days, and then twiddle your thumbs for the final 24 hours while it produces some nice bubbles for you. If you already have a ginger bug in the fridge, wake it up by removing it from the fridge and feeding it some sugar, plus a bit more minced ginger.
When your starter is bubbly, commence soda making:
Boil 1/3 c sliced ginger for 20 minutes in 2 quarts of water.
Then add 1 1/2 c sucanat or rapidura (aka: sugar)
Stir to dissolve, then let cool to just warm.
When cool, strain into a one-gallon glass jar.
Add 1 c soda starter/ginger bug and enough dechlorinated water (click here to see how I easily dechlorinate water) to bring the level to about 1" below the shoulder of the jar. If you don't have dechlorinated water, don't fret. The chlorine will naturally evaporate each time you stir your soda, but I still prefer to start with chlorine free water if possible.
|Honey Wine, Kombucha, and Soda fermenting on my washing machine|
If you leave them at room temperature for longer than 24 hours, pressure can build to excessive levels. One batch of soda I made fountained soda out every time we opened a bottle. It was a mess unless we opened them with excruciating care. This isn't something you have to worry about unless you forget and leave your bottles carbonating for too long. Remember- when it's hot out, fermentation speeds up, and your soda may need less overall time before it's ready to refrigerate.
Have fun with it. This is exciting stuff!
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Lacto-Fermented Ginger Ale
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