Soda is a word that is often associated with the sugary processed drinks produced by Pepsi and Coca-Cola, but there is another way of creating fizzy and refreshing drinks that is actually beneficial to your health. At the garden we had a workshop to learn how to make lacto-fermented sodas. We made a ginger ale, blackberry fizz and mango lemonade spritzer.
The main ingredients that promote the fermentation process occurs through whey, a ginger bug, or water kefir grains and sugar. These ingredients are added to juices and teas to make a fizzy, healthy and refreshing drink.
First, here are the steps to make whey and a ginger bug:
How to Make Whey
Place 1 quart whole-milk yogurt with live cultures in a colander or strainer lined with cheesecloth and set above a bowl or pot. Let drip for about 8 hours (can be done on the counter or refrigerator). You will collect about 2 cups whey in the bowl. Pour into a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate.You will also have about 2 cups yogurt cheese, which you can use as you would cream cheese. Whey lasts up to 3 months in the refrigerator; yogurt cheese lasts about 3 weeks.
How to Make a Ginger Bug
In a 1-pint, wide-mouth glass jar, put 1 cup of water. Add 2 tsp. of white sugar and 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger, put on the lid, and shake it up. Set the jar in a warm spot. The next day, add the same amount of ginger and sugar and shake and return to the warm spot. Repeat each day until it starts to bubble and come alive, 3-4 days or up to 1 week depending on temperature.
This ginger ale recipe is one of my favorites. I learned it from a City Market workshop.
1 “hand sized” piece of ginger, sliced thinly
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup ginger bug
Bring 6 cups water, sugar, and sliced ginger to a boil in a medium pot. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool to body temperature in either a pot or a 1/2 gallon mason jar. Add the zest and juice of two lemons. Add the ginger bug. Stir well and allow to sit on the counter for 3-7 days, or until bubbly and becoming tart. Stir on occasion. Strain the ginger ale into a clean 1/2 gallon jar or 2 liter bottles. Refrigerate and enjoy!
Here is a tutorial on how to make blueberry soda: http://www.learningherbs.com/soda_recipe.html
This is the City Market recipe, where I first learned about lacto-fermented sodas: http://www.citymarket.coop/blog/content/lacto-fermented-sodas
Keep an eye out for this class, offered by City Market, it was incredibly informative and there were lots of tasty samples.
These two books are bibles for fermentation enthusiasts:
Wild Fermentation, or his newest The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon