Let’s Make Elderflower Soda (It’s a probiotic, too!)

Do you have elderflowers blooming in your neighborhood?  They are everywhere here, and I love their unique scent– a little bit lemony, kind of peach, with just a hint of banana… And so very pretty.  We have tons of elder trees all around us, and so we have gone picking twice already.  The first haul was on the small side, so I decided to try a batch of lacto-fermented soda with those blossoms.  It turned out really wonderfully, so now I will share how to make your own.  This is super easy, and anyone can do it, I promise!

So, the fun part is to take some time gathering elderflowers.  Few things are more enjoyable and relaxing than gathering flowers or other edibles outdoors.  Never leave an area bare– take some gently, and move on to another spot to find more.

We gathered our elderflowers in the same place we went for the berries last year, used to make a very successful Elderberry Wine.  This area is a short walk from home, and such a luxury to me!  As the trees were only just beginning to bloom we came home with a pretty small pile, but it was enough for a solid batch of soda.


What You’ll Need:
A bunch of elderflowers, thickest stems removed.  We probably had 6 fluffy cups worth.
Filtered or fresh water.  I used about 1/2 a gallon.  This is fairly flexible.
Sugar, local raw honey (if you don’t have a good source, you can order it online here,) or evaporated cane juice.  We used part local honey and part evaporated cane juice, about a total of 1/2 cup.
Whey.  You can get this by just draining some off of your yogurt. I used 1/4 cup.

Here is how to make it.
1.  Put your flowers in a large bowl, and give them a very quick rinse.

2.  Heat some water to boiling, and pour it over your flowers, enough to cover them completely.  Cover them with a dishtowel and leave to steep for 24 hours or up to 48 hours.

3.  Strain out the flowers, so you have a nice elderflower tea.
4.  Add the juice of one lemon into your tea, and add sweetener.  I added some local honey and then some raw sugar crystals.  You want it sweet, but nothing crazy.  Keep in mind that the sugars here will be digested to make the fizz you’re after, so you want it a bit sweeter than your end product.  We like our drinks to be barely-sweet, so this is very individual.
5.  Pour all of this liquid into a glass container or demijohn, and add a couple tablespoons of whey.  Cover loosely, and put it in your cupboard.
6.  Wait.  Taste.  Wait.  I made one small batch and one larger, and the small one fermented in one week, while the larger one took two.  When it’s a barely sweeter than you want your final product, pour the soda into swing-top (grolsch-style) bottles and let it sit for another day or two, to develop some good fizz.  You must use this kind of bottle– it could explode otherwise.

Be careful when you open it!  Ours got super fizzy, and required some controlled gas release, basically opening it a tiny bit, letting it bubble up, and closing again…  It’s incredibly gratifying to produce that kind of carbonation naturally, just using sugar and whey! Keep these bottles in the refrigerator, and keep in mind that the fermentation process will continue– so don’t make more than you can drink in a week– it’s easy to start another batch.  If you want to take advantage of the elderflower season, you could steep the blossoms and freeze the tea, thawing it for a new batch of soda when you’re ready.  I haven’t tried drying them and making a tea that way, but that is also worth a shot!

And there you have it!  This method can be adapted for so many different kinds of drinks.  You can also save a little of your soda to use to culture your next batch.  Right now I am making a Rhubarb Soda with Mint.  A lot of the natural soda recipes out there require special cultures, but this one is so easy and accessible.  I hope you’ll try it!

For more fermented beverage projects, you may want to check out: True Brews and Real Food Fermentation.  And to get more probiotics into your life, this is a great book full of projects and ideas.Let's Make Elderflower Soda

This post was shared at: Homestead Barn Hop, Thank Goodness it’s Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Well Fed Wednesday, Sustainable Living Linkup.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

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27 Responses to Let’s Make Elderflower Soda (It’s a probiotic, too!)

  1. grassfood July 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for such inspiration and instruction. xx

  2. Tammy Chrzan July 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I didn’t know it was a ptobiotic! I’m seriously going to have to try this!

  3. greenbasket.me July 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    I have been wanting to try homemade soda and there are elderberries blooming all over the place here. If I can find some away from major roadways I’m giving this a try this weekend!

  4. lauren July 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    This looks more my speed than the syrup i’ve made with them before, which is then mixed with mineral water to drink. Same effect, bubble-wise, but less sweet and good for the guts!

  5. Aimee @ Violet Femme July 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Wow, beautiful! I made some elderflower cordial recently and love the idea of making it into a probiotic soda

  6. Vicki July 8, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    If dairy is a no-can-do (not just the lactose) can you use a probiotic capsule instead of whey?

    • Anonymous July 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      We’re non-dairy too, and with elderberry in our backyard, I’d also love to hear about any substitutes for the whey.

      • Shinusuke Akki February 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

        Have a look into using Water Kefir Cultures ^.^

    • raymondj July 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      You can use a “ginger bug” as your starter – the first time it adds some time to the process (about a week), but once you get one going, you’ll always have it on hand for vegan soda-making.

    • Ariana Mullins July 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      You can also try using some of the juice from a fermented vegetale– just about a teaspoon or so shouldn’t affect the flavor of your drink, but will introduce the cultures you need. Also, the amount of whey is *very* small, so some might be able to get away with it.

    • Shinusuke Akki February 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

      Have a look into using Water Kefir Cultures ^.^

  7. Mommypotamus July 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Love this, Ariana! We just bought a farm – there have to be elderflowers somewhere around here!!!

  8. Nancy July 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    I love making fermented sodas and this one would be fun to try! My neighbor gives me her elderflowers which I end up dehydrating. Will have to try this one…thanks for posting!

  9. Nikki Wall July 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Looks fabulous!

  10. Sharmila July 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Just beautiful! I love the flavour fo elderflower. Wish I knew where to find them near me.

  11. Little Homestead In Boise August 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Nice! I’ve made elderberry syrup. Healthy and nice flavor…

  12. Anonymous August 11, 2013 at 5:29 am #

    Where can i buy “ginger bug”?

  13. Amy Stewart August 20, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Nice blog you have here! Other probiotic drinks would be Yakult a probiotic dairy product made by fermenting a mixture of skimmed milk with a special strain of the bacterium Lactobacillus casei Shirota. .. which is wonderful, It contain probiotics properties, Additionally can treat common digestive problems, such as diarrhea, bloating and an upset stomach.

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  15. Heidi February 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    Ohhh, please post the Rhubarb soda recipe!

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