Saturday, May 19, 2012

How To Turn Any Juice Into Lacto-Fermented Soda

lacto-fermented grape soda

At Nik's suggestion, we lacto-fermented this standard, store bought grape juice that we had in our pantry from our grocery-shopping days (read about how we quit the grocery store here.) The grape soda that resulted was exceptionally delicious, perfectly sweet and bubbly without being cloying like a canned soda. Plus, fermentation greatly reduces the sugar content in juices and increases the beneficial enzymes and lactic acid. 

I like that we took pasteurized juice off the shelf, a basically dead, sugar loaded food (it has no added sugar, but still) and brought it to life through natural fermentation. You really can ferment anything, any sweet liquid can be vitalized this way. Why drink plain old juice when you can make it bubbly, and much better for you?

As a kid, I always chose grape or orange flavors when we were given soda, so I am very excited to be able to make this healthy version. (We haven't tried making orange soda yet, but it's definitely on the list!) One of the things I've noticed with homemade sodas is that they can end up with a little bit of alcohol, some batches more than others. It's never enough that I would worry about my kids having a glass. The health benefits far outweigh any risk associated with this mild alcohol consumption. Most our sodas turn out quite "soft", but alcohol can be a byproduct of this fermentation. If you want to make some actual wine, here's my recipe for honey wine.

lacto-fermented grape soda

How to make lacto-fermented soda from juice:

Start with any juice.

Place it in a glass container. I generally use a gallon jar, but for the batch pictured above I fermented them in German beer bottles, because all my gallon jars were in use. This meant that when it was time to give them a stir, I would cap them and give a couple gentle shakes, since I couldn't fit a spoon in the bottle to properly stir them. Basically, anything goes with fermentation, although I always stick with glass or ceramic containers, since I don't want my fermentations leaching junk out of plastic or metal containers.

Pour in some ginger bug, which is a natural soda starter, and helps safely ferment just about anything. All it takes is fresh ginger, sugar, and three days to make your own by following these instructions. Use about 1/4 c starter for every quart of liquid that you're fermenting.

ginger bug
Everlasting Ginger Bug: feed it occasionally and it will last for ages
Cover your fermenting jar with a cloth, so it stays clean but can still breathe. Stir this mixture twice a day, for three days. I always mark my calender so I don't forget which day to bottle it. The longer it ferments, the less sugar it will have in the final product. Also, a warmer room will cause the rate of fermentation to speed up. It's nothing to worry about, but having so many variables does make every batch of homemade soda mildly different: some sweeter, some more dry, and some way bubblier.

After 3 days of fermenting, bottle it tightly and let it carbonate for 24 hours. I use spring-loaded German beer bottles because they seal so easily, but mason jars work as well. After 24 hours, refrigerate your soda. Leaving it out at room temperature for too long will risk explosion at this point, because this is when carbonation is building up in the bottle. While I've never had a bottle explode, I have had soda that fountained out like champagne when we opened it. It's better to avoid over-carbonating the soda!

You might also like to try my delicious lacto-fermented ginger ale recipe, made from only ginger, sugar, and time.

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114 comments

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Anonymous
May 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I just ran across your blog....AWESOME & super inspiring!

A reader in Oregon

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May 20, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Thank you! I love hearing that.

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May 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Other than outbreaks of giggling, how can you tell if you have a hard or a soft soda? I'm only truly bothered from a driving safety point of view.

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May 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM

It's just by taste. Some batches of our rhubarb soda have definitely had a kick, and you could taste it. We haven't experienced the accidental alcohol production with our other soda varieties. One rhubarb soda batch tasted strong enough that we didn't give it to the kids; they probably would have been turned off by the flavor anyway. Basically, don't worry about getting a surprise buzz- if you've made alcohol, you will taste it.

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May 23, 2012 at 9:47 AM

This is so neat. I have to show this to my husband so we can experiment together and hopefully curb his soda habit. Thanks!

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Anonymous
May 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Love your blog! Have you fermented carrot juice?
I am going to try dandelion soda. I have a bumper crop of roses and would like to try making soda with them...have made great syrups, teas and jellies!

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May 24, 2012 at 5:41 PM

I haven't tried fermenting carrot juice; the only fresh juice I've fermented is pressed apple cider. I'm going to try making a lime soda today! That's a great idea about the roses, I'll have to make something with mine this year.

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May 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM

This is the coolest thing ever! I've been wanting to try this type of thing, but the "scoby" always kind of freaked me out lol. Your ginger bug idea sounds easy and much more doable. Thanks for sharing with Healthy 2Day Wednesday; come back tomorrow to see if you were featured!

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May 29, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Thank you Anne! I love this process too, it's really fun to carbonate things, while making them healthier!

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May 31, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Very interesting. I would love to give up the grocery store. It would definitely be quite a transition.

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May 31, 2012 at 9:38 AM

We used to shop weekly, rotating between Trader Joe's & Fred Meyers. I actually enjoyed going to TJ's but hated being at FM. I used to think I would dislike picking out my food, especially produce, from a website, but it's actually going quite well. We have more free time now, with not having to go to the store, and I think I make better purchasing decisions from the calm of my desk than the relative chaos of the store.

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June 5, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Wow! I never realized I could do this! We grow our own grapes and steam juice and can the juice. I usually use it in kombucha, though I try to make it into jelly. I just found your site through Fat Tuesday, and I'm very excited to read more!

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June 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM

hmmm what is a spring loaded beer bottle?

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June 8, 2012 at 12:56 PM

oh wait i see your picture now. i found some online woo hoo!

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June 8, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Excellent! They're also called German beer bottles, I believe. Glad you found some.

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June 8, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Cool beans err soda! lol

Thanks for linking up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

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Anonymous
June 25, 2012 at 7:32 AM

This is so neat but alas not for my family. My husband is a recovered alcoholic and as such we abstain completely from all alcohol ( even in mouthwash and extracts). Even slight exposure can cause a neurological response in some fomer abusers that can start the relapse phase spiral . But if this doesn't apply to you enjoy somenatural soda!!!

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July 7, 2012 at 4:49 AM

You already know I love all your lacto posts :) Thanks for linking this one up at Tiny Tip Tuesday! Have a great weekend :)

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Glo
July 17, 2012 at 9:25 AM

How wonderful! Would love for you to share this on my very first blog hop! http://offthegridat-30.blogspot.ca/2012/07/frugal-i-made-it-tuesday-1.html

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August 15, 2012 at 3:38 PM

What a great idea! I avoid soda, but I do like bubbles and miss them occasionally.

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August 15, 2012 at 4:57 PM

It's very refreshing, and I think it makes the juice better for you by reducing sugar. Hope you enjoy!

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August 20, 2012 at 4:50 PM

This is awesome! I'm curious about the smell. I was wondering if since there was ginger in it, if it would smell very bad. I know kombucha has a nice little aroma, and my husband and I don't like that so much, but I do really want to try this soda and honey wine! :) Thanks for the recipes!

http://munchtalk.blogspot.com

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August 20, 2012 at 6:42 PM

The ginger is just used for the starter, unless you're making ginger ale. The starter itself probably tastes very strong, but it doesn't flavor the soda. The final product will taste like whatever juice or sweet tea you use as your base. You can really make it any flavor, the ginger won't come through. Hope you like it!

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Anonymous
August 21, 2012 at 11:58 PM

This is definitely usable information. Thanks for sharing. Just one question. How long can you keep the fermented juice in the fridge?

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August 22, 2012 at 8:37 AM

That's a good question, but I don't know if there's a simple answer. I would say, "as long as you want to," except that they do gradually get less sweet over time in the fridge. You probably want to use them within a month for best flavor.

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September 11, 2012 at 1:56 AM

Hi there! Am enjoying your blog so much.... I do have a question about the lacto-fermented soda, though. I'm on my second batch and I'm wondering if I should start to see carbonation before I bottle it? I didn't in either batch... and in the first batch even after I left it bottled for 24hrs there was no carbonation. I figured it hadn't taken and took a drink from one of the bottles, re-capped it, and set it back on the counter to deal with later. Next day - carbonation. I then did this with all the bottles... and they carbonated even though they hadn't shown any signs of doing so previously. Same story now with my second batch - only they don't seem to be carbonating even with the sip and re-cap technique. Any thoughts? My ginger bug starter was nice and foamy and I carefully measured sugar-to-water... so I'm not sure what it could be. The stuff I did manage to get was so tasty!!!! I really want this to work... any advice appreciated.

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September 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Interesting! I'm not sure... You can certainly leave it bottled for longer than 24 hours to build up more carbonation. I would just be sure to at least check them after 24 hours, so they don't build up too much pressure. The original recipe I learned from said to let them sit, capped, for 48 hours after the 3 day fermentation- but I found that made for some explosive soda! I never had a bottle break, but it would spray out when we opened them.
Usually, by the third day of fermentation, I do see and hear carbonation when I stir it, but each batch is a little different. What kind of juices are you using? I've used several types successfully, but maybe some work better than others. If you want it more bubbly, try fermenting an extra half day, bottling it for longer at room temp, or even adding a bit more starter. Good luck!

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September 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! Its awesome bloggers like you that make our party wonderful! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) See you next Friday! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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September 19, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Ok so this is just about AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am goin gto do this this weekend. AND I'm going to feature this on this week's gluten free fridays favorites. I can't wait to read more about ho wyou do kombucha (we've been thinking about starting some, but are a bit scared with all of the horror stories we've heard). Thanks for linking up again this week!

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September 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Thanks! That's funny, I've never heard any horror stories about kombucha- my only mildly bad experience with it was that when I was first making it, it didn't taste as good as the kind we'd been buying at the store. However, I've figured out how to make it delicious. Don't be scared! ;)

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October 5, 2012 at 5:25 AM

Fermentation contains medications, development authorities, Microbial/biological sprays, and RDNA necessary proteins. Fermentation products such as erythromycin and specialized ingredients. Fermentation capabilities include: Antibiotics, growth regulators, pesticides and chemical. http://globalpharmaindustry.com/products-services/contract-manufacturing/abbott-laboratories/

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Anonymous
October 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Cant wait to try this, I just have one question. Is the ratio 1/4 cup juice to the bottle and fill it the rest of the way with the ginger bug juice?

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October 8, 2012 at 11:56 AM

If you're using a quart jar, add 1/4 cup ginger bug to whatever juice you're using. For larger batches, use 1 cup starter for a gallon of juice.
Good luck!

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October 10, 2012 at 7:10 AM

Hey there! Thanks so much for making these recipes available! I'm creating the ginger bug at the moment and also ordered some spring loaded bottles. I'll mostly be putting these up in the fridge, but I was actually wondering about canning. I would drink these for the health benefits since they are alive, but if I wanted to have some that were shelf-stable, could you water bath can these to deactivate the fermentation process? I guess I'm wondering if canning in boiling water would cause the pressurized bottles to explode? Anyways, I can't wait to try more recipes.

Thanks!

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October 10, 2012 at 7:43 AM

Wow, I don't know if they'd explode if you pressurized them further by heat. I guess it depends how carbonated they are to begin with! I get some batches that just have a little "fizz" sound when you open them, and bubbles rising contentedly; other batches pop and gush a bit because they've got so much carbonation. I would say the bottles can take a lot of pressure, but of course I wouldn't want to risk an explosion- especially since canning would basically kill these sodas. They would lose their digestive health benefits. I don't know if they'd still be effervescent after canning, since the bubbles come from active, living yeasts.
For long term storage, if you run out of fridge space, a cold cellar can also work. By long term, I mean a few months. You can make this soda so easily all year long, from a multitude of bases, that it makes more sense, to me, to just do smaller batches and use them as you go. That way they stay fresh, and you don't have as much to store. I keep a few bags of chopped rhubarb in the freezer, so we can make rhubarb soda in the winter. I think it makes more sense to can the JUICE you're going to use, and then when you want soda, ferment it. Then it will be alive and bubble and safe! Good luck :)

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October 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Hey! Great idea on canning the juice first. I actually juice every morning so there's usually plenty of that around. It's too bad we can't really have cool root cellars in Florida or I would have made one of those a while ago! Yeah true, I think the best idea is to just make smaller batches more frequently to get the benefits of the live soda. Thanks so much and great looking website. I just stumbled across it this morning searching for lacto fermented sodas. I'll have to browse around. :) See ya.

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October 11, 2012 at 4:47 PM

So glad I found this! I'm not so hesitant to try it now. I have a pomegranate tree bursting with ruby red poms.

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October 11, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Wow, I would love to try this with fresh pomegranate juice! Do you have any special method for juicing the pomegranates? We love making fresh grape & blackberry sodas, but I haven't figured out the most efficient way to juice them.

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Anonymous
October 12, 2012 at 6:29 AM

I am trying the grape soda, am I supposed to see bubbles around the top? Because I don't, how do I know it's fermenting?

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October 12, 2012 at 7:49 AM

After a few days of stirring twice a day while it ferments, you won't necessarily see bubbles at the top, but you should hear it bubbling, and you might see carbonation rising through the sides of the jar. If it's in a cool spot, it might take an extra half a day. But if it's been around 65-70 degrees, three day should be all it needs before you bottle it. Be sure to taste it each time you stir it. It should always taste good!

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John
October 12, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Ok, thank you. I started it after doing my ginger bug which took 2 days to start hear it fizz. I used a quart jar for the grape juice, and added a little more ginger bug this morning in case it needed it- I originally did 1/4 cup to the quart, and added about a couple tablespoons more. Right now it's day 2 and tastes still like grape juice off the shelf. the room is 69 degrees- I keep it in a kitchen cupboard.
The ginger ale I started is foamy on top with bubbles so I know it's going well!

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October 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Just keep going. After another day, bottle it tightly for 24 hours, refrigerate it, and then pop it open. I bet it will be lovely. Certain batches and juices don't seem as reactive, but they still turn out great!

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John
October 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Great! Looking forward to it! This is our first time, we found your site after searching how to lacto ferment when we read of a new line of drink from Jordan rubin- he's come out with new wine matching what he feels is what the Bible speaks of- he says he uses an age old ginger ferment base.... after searching I found your site!
Thank you for sharing all the info you do.

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John
October 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Well, 24 hours later no fizz-- I poured a little off and added more ginger bug- the ginger bug is crackling and making a fizz sound so I know it's active- could I just let the grape and ginger ale sit another 3 days and then cap again and try for fizz? Or go with a flat soda for the first try?

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john
October 13, 2012 at 5:49 PM

forgot to add- I can taste that the sugar content is lower in the juice and ginger ale- and it tastes good, just no fizz

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October 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM

I have found that the most efficient way is to add about a cup of seeds to a blender and pulse a few seconds. I don't leave them in there too long as to not break up the inner seed and make the juice bitter. And then we just strain the pulp through a tight weave strainer and use the back of a spoon to help the juice out.

I just started a batch of soda today! I'm so excited to see little bubbles forming all over the bottle.

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October 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Glad you are tasting it. My instinct would be to not let it go too much longer than the three days, since it sounds like it's at an ideal temperature. My advice would be to just go ahead and do the bottling now.
You could always try an experiment: bottle half, and let the other half have a chance to mature more. I'm thinking once it's tightly bottled for 24 hours, carbonation will form even if you're not seeing much now. As it continues to ferment, it will start forming alcohol... which might be perfectly alright too!

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October 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM

I do pretty much the same thing (minus the blender step) with berries & grapes. It's a lot of work to hand squeeze much juice though!

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October 14, 2012 at 12:32 AM

I'm noticing a weird cloudy separation at the bottom of my bottle. It looks as if the ginger bug is staying at the bottom? I say it's the ginger because it measures about the same amount as I put of ginger? Does this explain the "mixing" twice a day?

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October 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

This is such a great idea. I had no idea how to do this. It also sounds like it makes the juice much more nutritious. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/10/almond-sugar-body-scrub-and-wednesdays.html
from Wednesday until Sunday.
Hope to see you there.
Debi Bolocofsky
Adorned From Above
www.adornedfromabove.com

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October 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

Yes, we no longer drink juice without turning it into soda first! I think it's way better for you, with the reduced sugar & increased probiotics.

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October 14, 2012 at 7:18 AM

C.J., The frequent mixing is because this fermentation process requires air to work right. I bet the cloudiness at the bottom is just particles from the juice that separate out. I get that with certain juices, and it's not a problem. You could leave it at the bottom when you bottle your soda, if you want a more clear, uniform product, but I always bottle that cloudy section along with the rest, because it tastes fine!

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john
October 15, 2012 at 11:06 AM

well there was no carbonation :/ But it tastes ok so we have a flat soda- now for the starter ginger bug- I had used it to about 1/2c left and added water back up to 2 cups and a teaspoon of sugar and ginger- it's cloudy and smells ok- is it supposed to be cloudy? And it lost it's bubbling and fizzing sound

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October 15, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Sorry John! That sounds discouraging. Are you using white sugar? Try adding some molasses to your ginger bug. The ginger bug needs more nutrients than white sugar provides, particularly iron. I use Sucanat, a natural darker sugar, but white sugar + molasses is great. I'll make sure my ginger bug post is more clear about this.
Also, make sure your ginger is organic, and that the peel is intact. Most people are used to peeling their ginger, but the enzymes needed for the starter are mostly in the peel. If it's not organic, then it's probably been irradiated, which kills the enzymes.
My ginger bug is not cloudy- it looks like an amber ale- and it always gets bubbly when I let it come to room temperature (normally it's in the fridge). I have a feeling you might want to start yours from scratch. By the way, when you add back the water/sugar to replenish your starter, you can add a good tablespoon of sugar (and a dollop of molasses if you're using it).

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John
October 15, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Yes I am using White Sugar- I did do a drop of molasses to begin with- the ginger I am using is organic by "melissa's" and I kept the peel on..... An amber ale yep! by cloudy I meant I cannot see through it- but I re-looked at your picture above and mine looks the same, an amber not see through liquid.
When I stirred it today I thought I'd try something I put in about 1/2t of molasses and a few tablespoons of sugar----it's bubbling up the sides now, so when it's all fizzy I'll try that soda again! :)

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October 15, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Excellent, it sounds like it just was not getting enough sugar. Make sure it's bubbling madly when you add it to your next batch of juice or sweet tea.

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October 16, 2012 at 1:09 AM

I think my juice is in the first stages of wine! When i tried it earlier today it was a lot stronger than it was last night. And the color has become more cloudy and less clear. I'm gonna bottle it still. It smells a bit yeasty but I'm bottling it and hopefully by morning I don't find a mess in the kitchen. I'm hopeful.. I really wanted my first attempt to be successful. Is cloudiness a bad sign? It doesn't taste awful, just winy.

I know that pomegranate juice is very sensitive to warm sealed containers. Usually we juice our poms and put the juice in big jugs and straight into the fridge but if the jug is left out for more than 5 minutes the sides expand and it has to be "burped" before putting it back in the fridge.

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john
October 16, 2012 at 6:56 AM

I think that was it! I plan on waiting until it's very bubbly (like the fizzy lifting drink in the old willy wonka movie- well maybe not that fizzy LOL) before I add it to juice this time-

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October 16, 2012 at 6:58 AM

Woah, be careful of exploding glass! Seriously, that can be dangerous and it sounds like the pom juice is especially volatile! Good luck, please let me know how it turns out. I've never done fresh pom juice, but this process has worked great with other fresh juices!
If you're worried about leaving the bottles that long, just leave them for a couple of hours. The whole point of leaving them out is to build up a little pressure, and if pom juice does it in 5 minutes, that might be all you need!
You can also wrap the bottles in a towel, so if something bad does happen, it's contained. I've never had a bottle explode, but I certainly would want to avoid the horrible mess afterward!

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john
October 17, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Good news! This time around- day 2 and the grape juice already has foam bubbles all on top, I guess it was just that the ginger bug needed more sugar and molasses. We are excited for our first real batch of fizzy soda!

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October 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM

So great John! Good for you for trying it again. It's wonderful stuff; this is just the beginning!

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October 17, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Thank you so much for this post! There used to be a lady at our local farmers' market who sold lacto-fermented juices, and they were BEYOND wonderful. She's no longer at the market, and I'd much rather be doing my own, anyway.
Here's a tip for potential exploding bottles, along the lines of wrapping them in a towel: some cruisers store wine bottles in the bilge in tube socks! This contains the glass if the bottle is broken, and it comes pre-fitted!

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October 18, 2012 at 4:33 AM

Tube socks are a great idea!

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john
October 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Yes! it ended up a nice bubbly grape soda! It is just the beginning, plan on doing this to different juices too!
Thanks again :)

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Anonymous
November 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

We forgot about a container of ocean spray cranberry, blackberry, blueberry no sugar added juice that was still 3/4 full. We opened it maybe a month later and it had turned into this amazing bubbly juice. I had know that would happen. It is so good! It sounded like it was about to blast off into space when we opened it, haha

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November 6, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Yes! This kind of thing definitely occurs spontaneously, but with this method you can make sure it happens right, without going off or getting moldy. That sounds like a tasty one!

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January 18, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Are fermented drinks ok during pregnancy? I get really terrible nausea and am looking for natural options to help, I'm just concerned about it being slightly alcohalic...

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January 19, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Yes, definitely. The alcohol content is so minute it will not possibly damage a fetus. Don't forget that in Europe, pregnant women are still drinking beer during their pregnancies, and certainly wine! But these beverages are definintely much lower alcohol content than beer and wine, and we give kombucha and homemade sodas to our kids all the time. I really think some homemade ginger ale (see link below) would be great for helping to settle your stomach. They are really good for you too! I wish I knew how to make these back when I was pregnant :) http://alifeunprocessed.blogspot.com/2012/02/lacto-fermented-ginger-ale.html

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Anonymous
January 27, 2013 at 1:47 AM

When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
Thank you!
My website: diana

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January 27, 2013 at 7:17 AM

Thanks for letting me know about this! I'll look into it and see if there's anything I can do. That sounds annoying!

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February 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

This is also a GREAT soda substitute! Water Kefir is so Yummy!
http://primalkitchenproducts.blogspot.com/2013/01/basic-water-kefir-how-to.html

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February 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Water kefir is great, and you're right, very similar to this lacto-fermented soda.

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Kelly415
February 27, 2013 at 9:14 PM

I came across this blog after I decided to move past fermenting just veggies. I decided to make lactofermented cider with sandor katz's recipe and conducted a google search to see what other beverage ideas I might find. Your ideas are creative and wonderful, and I appreciate your photos--they make everything more approachable. Please keep it up!

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March 30, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Interesting. Does it taste good? Thank you for the great tutoral. Great information that I wasn't aware of.

We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.
http://simpleesue.com/try-one-new-recipe-a-week-strawberry-cream-omelet/

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April 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


Cheers,
Kathy Shea Mormino

The Chicken Chick

http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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April 2, 2013 at 12:28 PM

You can calculate abv by using a hydrometer and thermometer to test the liquid before and after fermentation. Its kinda a pain though. You should be able to find more into online.

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April 7, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Visiting from www.artistic31mama.com and Mix it up Monday party. I LOVE this post!! Oh my goodness I can't wait to try this. I'm pinning it too. I've been on a journey toward a more natural and healthier lifestyle. Thanks so much for sharing this! I love learning new things such as this. I'm a new follower and looking forward to reading more.

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April 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM

That's a great way to live, unprocessed. Wish I had the will to do this. I don't like the taste of alcohol. I had homemade root beer once and didn't like it. But I don't drink much soda anyways. Thank you for all your good information.
Consider yourself hugged,
http://www.theconfidentmom.com/mom-resources/the-confident-moms-calendar-for-surviving-summer-with-kids/?ap_id=simpleesue

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Anonymous
April 30, 2013 at 12:11 PM

hi there! question for you, do you think it would be possible to make the bug using just ginger, water and molasses? The only sweeteners we have in our house are molasses and honey and I read above that honey may not work because of it's anti bacterial properties. What about just molasses? What do you think?

thanks!

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May 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I'm working to break soda's addictive hold over me this month- great article!

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May 7, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Sounds great! Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Hope to see you again tomorrow!
http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/05/wildcrafting-wednesday-19.html

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May 8, 2013 at 2:53 AM

Good Morning Mellow! This great post has been featured in this week's Seasonal Celebration! Thanks so much for sharing x

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May 15, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Thank you so much for the feature!

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May 15, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Sorry for the delayed response! I would definitely try using just molasses, I don't see why it wouldn't work. I would just have a really strong molasses flavor... Let me know if you try it and it works!

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May 16, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I have to share this. I was having a discussion with my husband about how juice gets carbonated when left to ferment and I had to Google it to prove it to him:) He is the engineer I am the scientist. When I came across your blog. First off, you are awesome. Your blog is an answer to so many of our prayers, between health issues and finances, because of you I know there is hope. Thank you for being an angel when one was so sorely needed.

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May 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

OOOh! I want to know if that works too! Henry's makes a ginger-ale sweetened with honey...it has to work to some extent, They claim all natural fermentation process.

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May 16, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Thank you so much! Good luck with everything.

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May 16, 2013 at 9:58 PM

I really think any natural sweetener (except stevia) would work.

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May 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

In addition to Monday Kid Corner Weekly Linky Party, this week's theme is MUD. Brush off those archives and link them up at thejennyevolution.com. See you there! Jennifer

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June 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM

I love it when I run across something that I've never heard of doing before. Thank you for coming by and sharing this on Fluster Buster's Creative Muster Party.

Robin
Fluster Buster

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June 28, 2013 at 12:20 AM

Place it in a glass container. I generally use a gallon jar, but for the batch pictured above I fermented them in German beer bottles, because all my gallon jars were in us
any other containers are safe for this fermentation ?

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August 7, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Have you ever tried, or do you think it would work, to make vanilla soda using this method and vanilla bean or vanilla extract?

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August 8, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Wow, I LOVE the idea of a homemade vanilla cream soda. I'll work on that! It seems like throwing a vanilla bean in with some sugar & water, and the soda starter, would do it. Definitely worth a try!

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August 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Thanks for sharing such a great treat on Tuesday Greens!

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August 19, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Kudos for posting this. It is refreshing to see more and more people making high quality soda. It is so much more complex and can be appreciated on a higher level. Well done and keep up the good work!

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September 8, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Mellow,

I think I accidentally made grape soda!

I have been picking grapes the last week and boiling them for 10 minutes to break down the fruit and then straining through a linen cloth into a bucket. This is how I learned to do it from my mom. A bunch of juice comes through right away and I pour that off into jars and stick it in the fridge.

Then I let the rest of the pulp sit in the cloth strainer overnight to finish draining. I put it in the spare bedroom which was pretty warm since several dehydrators were also running in there.

The next day I took the couple cups of grape juice that had collected and put it is a quart jar and it was super fizzy like champagne. Luckily I was pouring in the sink or I would have had sticky fizzy grape juice all over the place.

I'm guessing this is environmental yeast that caused the fermenting. ***Do you think this is safe to drink?*** I tried a small sip and it was tasty. I have it saved in the fridge and it's still fizzy and a friend and my husband have all tried it and we all think a sip was pretty good.

Wondering what to do,

Foy

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September 9, 2013 at 6:07 AM

Oh my gosh, I would totally drink that. Sorry if I got back to you too late. From all I've read about fermentation, there would be no risk. Grapes ferment fast!!

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Anonymous
September 13, 2013 at 5:56 PM

The key is in the shaking. Shake the bottles several times daily and you'll notice more carbonation. Also put the bottles somewhere it is dark and warm.
Happy Carbonating! lol

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September 14, 2013 at 6:22 AM

I've never shaken my sodas, and I don't know if I'd recommend it- but I suppose if she's not seeing any carbonation it could help! With my sodas, shaking would probably bring on dangerous or at least messy explosions.

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October 27, 2013 at 5:17 PM

You may have capped it too soon - the yeasts from the air also need to get in and do their thing. When enough yeast is captured, then you cap and carbonation begins. I live in the tropics and have the opposite problem :)

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October 27, 2013 at 5:17 PM

You may have capped it too soon - the yeasts from the air also need to get in and do their thing. When enough yeast is captured, then you cap and carbonation begins. I live in the tropics and have the opposite problem :)

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Anonymous
December 14, 2013 at 5:40 PM

how would you lacto-ferment without the ginger-bug? I don't currently want to put quite that much work into it because of school, but want to try making my own soda, could you tell me how to do that if you know? Thanks!

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December 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

A ginger bug is just as quick to make as the sodas! You can certainly lacto-ferment lots of things without a ginger bug. For example I have a sauerkraut article which is lactofermented, with no starter. However, these sodas do require a ginger bug for a starter.

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February 5, 2014 at 7:05 AM

is it possible to add a probiotic supplement to encourage even more good bacterial growth?

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February 27, 2014 at 6:56 AM

I can't get my juice to ferment. My ginger bug is perfect, nice and bubbly, sleeps and wakes up great. However, after 3 failed attempts at soda I'm getting frustrated. I've followed direction exactly, it never gets bubbly. I've tried 3 days covered with cloth, then capping nothing happened. And I've tried waiting more than 3 days for bubbles but it just got moldy. Its currently winter here and we keep our house pretty cold (62F), could that be my problem? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, I really want this to work.

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March 8, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Sure! I haven't tried this, but I don't see why not.

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March 8, 2014 at 2:11 PM

What kind of juice are you using? It could be that not ALL juices will work, despite the title. Definitely a cold house can impact fermentation. I think optimal temp is about 70, though my kitchen is almost never that warm. Are you stirring twice a day as well? That helps discourage mold. Sorry it's not going well!

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Erik
June 7, 2014 at 6:16 AM

I tried doing fermented soda last week and had an strange result compared to how it usually is. Rather than do the ginger bug separately I put the ginger and sugar water into the plastic pressure vessel (sterilised first) I would be fermenting in. Once it had bubbles on the surface I threw in 2 litres of sugary fruit tea. Several days later I noticed it had fermented very actively and it smelled good but when I poured it out it had a partial jelly consistency, like egg white. This would seem to indicate very high protein content, so I can only guess that bacteria/yeast have secreted a huge amount of enzymes and other proteins. I've not heard of anyone else getting this. Do you think it's safe to drink?

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June 22, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Erik, I actually stopped making ginger bug based sodas a while ago, because every batch was turning thick and mucilaginous. This happened after years of making it successfully, and I never could figure out why. While I don't think it's dangerous, and the flavor is fine, the texture was unpleasant. My solution was to switch to making water kefir instead. Water kefir can be used similarly to make sodas from any juice or sweet tea. I wrote about how I do it if you're interested: http://alifeunprocessed.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-to-make-delicious-water-kefir.html

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September 11, 2015 at 9:35 AM

Mellow,
I had a batch of water keifer turn mucilaginous after the second fermentation with orange and vanilla. I added sea mineral drops, do you think that did it? If so, what is the process that happened and what did it create?

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