Making Fresh Blackberry Soda at Home
Spring and summer are just around the corner, making now a great time to start preparing new batches of fresh, homemade soda for your friends and family!
Today we think of soda as an unhealthy, sugar-loaded drink that we'd like to keep ourselves, and our kids, away from. But did you know that originally soda was a nutritious drink made to improve your health? The purpose of soda was to extract vitamins, minerals, and healthy microorganisms from fruits and berries and serve them in a way that tasted good! This may no longer be the case with commercial sodas, but in your kitchen you can serve healthy sodas any time of the year.
How to Make Soda with Any Kind of Fruit
To get started, decide on the kind of homemade soda you would like to make. We will use blackberry in this recipe, but you can substitute almost any kind of fruit you would like. Berries can be frozen or fresh, so if its still too early to pick them you can stop by the store and pick up a frozen bag.
The first step is to begin by making the soda itself- the part of the drink that will become carbonated and sweet.
You Will Need:
- 3 ounces fresh Ginger Root
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 tsp brewer's yeast
- Quart Mason Jar with Cheesecloth Covering
First, take your mason jar and fill it about 75% of the way with clean, non-chlorinated water. Add in 1 tablespoon of shredded ginger, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and the yeast and stir it up well. Then you will need to cover it with the cheesecloth and let it sit overnight. This is the basis for your homemade soda! Each day for seven days, add one tablespoon of ginger and two teaspoons sugar and re-cover the jar each time. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon of yeast every other day. After a week, you will notice that the concoction appears to be carbonated and is ready to make homemade soda with!
Home Made Soda Blackberry Syrup
The next step is to make the blackberry concoction that will be mixed in with the carbonated soda base later. You will need to have about 7-8 cups of berries, 2 cups of sugar, a gallon of non-chlorinated water, 1 1/2 cups of the soda base, a 1 gallon carboy or jar, and a boiling pot.
Boil a half gallon of your water in the large boiling pot, and then add in your sugar to sweeten the water. Mix in your berries and allow the mixture to heat up again, keeping the pot on the stove for 5-8 minutes after it returns to boiling. At this point, everything is sanitized and you should carefully taste test to determine if you like the way your soda will taste.
Once you have approved the taste and made any slight modifications, pour the blueberry mixture into the 1 gallon seal-able jar, carboy, or pot. Add just enough cold water to fill the jar almost to the top, leaving enough room to add in 1 1/2 cup of soda base.
Quick Note on Home Made Soda
It is very important to let the jar cool down for a few hours before adding your soda base. Because the soda base will ferment by allowing the yeast to consume the sugar in the blackberry syrup, it needs to be tepid enough that it won't stop the fermentation process. Once your jar is at 65 degrees or so, add in 1 1/2 cup of soda base. Try to avoid getting the majority of the ginger in the jar, although if a little spills in it won't alter the texture or flavor.
The next step is to stir your jar well, cover it with the cheesecloth, and let it sit out for 3 to 8 days. The longer it sits, the more carbonated it will become. It will also become less sweet as time goes on, so be sure to check the sweetness at days 3 and 4. If it suits your taste, begin bottling it right away.
Whatever you choose to bottle your homemade soda with needs to be seal-able and sanitized. You can buy glass bottles at brewing shops, re-cap sanitized beer bottles using a wing capper, or just reuse plastic soda bottles! Strain out any chunks you have in the one gallon jar, and then use a funnel to fill up your jars. Then cap them securely and refrigerate. Enjoy!
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