A little sweet and slightly sour naturally carbonated beverages were our ancestor’s answer to soda pop. Old fashioned and lightly fizzy drinks made with fermentation are not only special for their flavour, as well as their health benefits. Old fashioned sodas are detoxifying, hydrating, full of electrolytes, minerals and will increase the bio-availabilty (the ability of be absorbed by the body) of any herbs you put in them.
Bubbly fermented drinks can be made in a variety of ways, ,with some requiring starter cultures but this recipe does not. Many different flavours are possible simply by utilizing wild yeasts that are present on the surface of many fruits, berries, pine cones, roots or in the air.
Ginger or Turmeric roots are great sources of yeast that we like to use as the base of many wild sodas.
How to make the soda starter
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger or tumeric root (including skin)
- 2 tsp sugar (brown cane sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar, it all works)
- 1 cup water
Combine and stir ingredients together well. Leave in a warm spot covered securely with a tightly woven cloth. Stir in the same amount of ginger and sugar every day or two until it begins to bubble vigorously somewhere between 2-7 days. The starter will benefit from being stirred often to incorporate wild yeasts and encourage yeast activity overall.
Basic soda Recipe
- bottles (if this is your first soda, we recommend using plastic to better gauge the carbonation)
- 3 inches (8 cm) fresh ginger or turmeric root (more for a stronger flavour)
- 2 litres of water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup soda starter
Bring the water to a boil. Grate the ginger or turmeric and add with the sugar to the water. Add other herbs or spices if you like. Simmer, covered for 10-15 minutes. Let the liquid cool and strain into a bottle. Add half a cup of active soda starter to the bottle. Seal tightly and allow to ferment for 1 -6 days (depending on the temperature), checking regularly.
IMPORTANT This type of soda can accumulate a great deal of carbonation and should be handled with care. Check your bottles often and open the lid to let the fizz out. Be careful if you use glass bottles! Fizzy liquids can cause glass to explode so wrap it with a cloth or use a plastic bottle. When the drink is fizzy the plastic bottle will feel hard.