fermentation

Follow Up [Fermented Soda]

I told y’all I would write a follow up post if/when I got a batch of fermented soda to go successfully.

fermentedsoda

Well look at that. Fermented soda.

Fermented soda has a lot going for it-you can adjust the fruit flavors, there’s less sugar…and it’s kind of a cool project to watch.

This is a multiple step project-

First you have to make a root bug. This is a simple though time consuming step.

  1. Grate ginger or turmeric root for about a tablespoon’s worth root.
  2. Add about a tablespoon sugar [white is fine. It’s feeding the ferment so it doesn’t matter.]
  3. Add about 3/4-1 cup filtered water [you can let tap water sit for a few hours and it’ll work]. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  4. Add sugar and grated root once a day for about five days [and really do wait the five days, unless it’s really warm]
  5. After five days feed it every other or every three days, adding water as necessary
  6. It’ll be really foamy and yeasty when it’s done

To ferment soda:

  1. Add about half a cup’s worth root bug to a jar. [Make sure you stir it]
  2. Add about a quarter pint’s worth syrup [or you can use several cups juice, but use 100% juice or steam/boil your own with plenty of sugar]
  3. Add water to make up volume in the jar
  4. Cover semi tightly, and let sit. It will eventually get fizzy and the sweetness will start to fall. Stir once a day to check-this batch took about two days in a fairly warm kitchen
  5. Add to a demijohn or a soda bottle, and ferment several days [or less] to increase fizz [soda bottles will be hard when they’re ready]
  6. Refrigerate, keeping in mind it’s going to get less sweet the longer it sits. -Open over a bowl or sink-

Experiments [Fermenting Soda]

photo from pixabay

photo from pixabay

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*

-or-

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.]

 

Honeyed Cranberries

honeyed

Second memory-I’ve been thinking about starting another batch of these berries all day. And a batch of fermented garlic honey. Not the same batch.

Fermented foods are getting their time in the sun.
Again.
This happens every so often.
What I may say may just change your mind on fermented food if your only exposure is half sour pickles and kimchi: fermentation can be sweet.
And insanely, incredibly simple.

I love honey ferments. They’re fast, adjustable, and tasty. I use them in place of jam, in tea…straight off a spoon. ..

*There’s no photo because I used buckwheat honey and well…the jar is effectively black. Not exactly photo quality.

Honeyed Cranberries
1 bag fresh, whole cranberries
1-2 jars honey, raw, larger jars need less jars
1 pint jar with lid, or equivalent glass jar with lid

Fill your clean jar with whole, healthy looking berries
Slowly cover with honey until all berries are covered. Let it sit and check, adding more honey as necessary.
Flip over to recoat the top berries with honey every other day or so. There shouldn’t be any issues with gas building up, but burp your jar every so often anyway to be safe.

*I sometimes put my berries in the fridge. It’s not necessary though, I do it more because I’m paranoid and forget to flip them.

The berries may start macerating and releasing juice, making the honey runny. That’s fine.

 

The Fermentation Project

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I honestly don’t remember if I wrote about my ferments last summer. I know that I meant to, but last summer was a weird, weird time and I don’t know if I actually got around to it.

I’ve had over a gallon of pickles fermenting in my fridge. For reasons that only the gods know, I wasn’t able to get a good head of steam going on my ferments when left out on the counter so I threw them into the fridge. I have giant chunk deli style dill, one with berbere, and some random small slices.

I was laying in bed the other night and realized, oh god, I forgot about the pickles. I did some digging on google. Internet land says that ferments don’t go bad the way that other products do-they shouldn’t be ‘bad’ they may just not be good.

The last time I checked them they still fizzed like there was too much CO2 in the brine. This time they actually taste like pickles. They’re getting on the soft side, I will definitely try to eat them down soon. But they’re actually fairly decent pickles. They’ve been sitting there since July, and I think being in the fridge is what elongated the process so much.

So now I have faith in the fermented hot sauce I want to make this week. I’ll probably pull some of the brine to get the ferment going on the sauce and keep eating down these pickles. We’ll see what I end up fermenting once it gets warmer.

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