I’ve been driving my list on Facebook up a wall. I’ve been trying to ferment soda all week.
It’s become something of an ego challenge at this point-I can ferment stuff like pickles, hot sauces I can do in my sleep, and I have a fairly active turmeric bug that I started last week that’s foaming away.
But soda is just outside of my grasp.
Fermenting soda in theory isn’t hard-it’s water (maybe), juice or other fruit/sugar material, and a starter. You put the starter, the juice (what the starter is feeding off of and is flavoring the soda), and water to make up volume in a container, let it sit for a few days, and then bottle it which forces the CO2 into the fluid and makes it fizz.
Except my soda just sat there. I’ve come to realize that it’s the syrup that I used for the first few batches. I ended up dumping out of my first batch outright. It sort of fermented, but tasted foul and never fizzed.
The second batch just got another boost of turmeric bug, thinking my bug was too young to have a full bacterial load yet.
But then came the second phase of the experiment…
You can make mead with yeast. Normally wine yeast but you can do with bread yeast in a pinch-and bread yeast I have. So I added some runny grapefruit jam to a jar, added water, and added a teaspoon of yeast. It sat overnight and is actually bottled and in the freezer already. [The longer it sits the fizzier and drier it’ll get, so definitely use bottles designed for soda/carbonation with yeast. I’m actually using old soda bottles since they’re built for the pressure, and I have them.]
The jam batch was foamy before I went to sleep last night, about an hour after I set it up.
The syrup batch is barely foaming hours later. I think that the syrup just doesn’t have enough sugar to do much of anything.
So this is my basic structure for quasi-fermented [yeasted] soda:
about 1/4 to 1/2 pint jam, heavily sweet fruit syrup, or other canned product*
Several cups 100% fruit juice*
Roughly 1 tsp yeast
dried or fresh herbs, if desired, to taste**
mason jar with a ring and a coffee filter
Some sort of flip top jar or well cleaned soda/gatorade bottle with lid
*This is a project where you actually want a lot of sugar. The fermentation runs off of it, so the process actually eats the sugar and you don’t drink as much as it feels like you’re putting in the jar. Make your syrup sweeter than what you would if you were eating it straight. While this will never be a ‘true’ health drink like kombucha or jun may be, you can still make a soda with much, much less sugar than what’s on the market-and you can use raw or low processed sugar.
Because of the need for sugar this is actually a good project for jams that didn’t set/ended up as syrups. That’s what I’m using right now to reclaim jars without dumping out my work.
**Place into the 2f/second step jar, not in the first round of fermentation
Add syrup/juice and yeast to the jar. Add filtered water to make up about a quart of volume if necessary. Stir. Secure coffee filter to jar with lid. Let sit overnight or 2-3 days. The longer it sits the more sugar the yeast will eat, so taste to see if you like the sweetness. Try to pull it sweeter than you normally drink it.
Add herbs if using to the 2f bottle, add the soda to the bottle and cap it.
REMEMBER TO BURP YOUR BOTTLES REGULARLY.
The longer it sits the more carbonated it will get and the pressure will build up. Open the bottles regularly to release pressure.
After a day or so (or less time if it’s really active), put your bottles into the fridge. The cold will help hold the carbonation and slow down fermentation.
Open over a sink or bowl in case it explodes.
***You can upsize this accordingly, I make about 20 oz at a time.
You can play around with flavors as you like.
If I can get a ‘true’ fermented soda to work, I’ll post that process as well.
[This is basically the first steps in wine making. If you let this sit long enough and added an airlock you would end up with a raw wine. What I’m getting at is that if this sits long enough you will develop an alcohol content. If you’re storing for an extended period of time, test before giving to children.]