How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda (With Lacto-Fermentation!)

I love making probiotic sodas at home.  It’s fun and easy, and it’s cool to be in control of how sweet, how fizzy or how tart is turns out.  One of the first sodas I made was Elderflower Soda, and after that success, I made a quick batch of Rhubarb Soda, and it was also a hit.  Now that it’s almost spring, it’s Rhubarb Season again, so I whipped up the first batch of the year, this time using local honey as well.  It’s kind of like lemonade, with a rosy flavor– so nice!  Plus… Probiotics!  What a nice way to get some more into your family.     As with most home fermentation projects, this formula is flexible.

How to Make Fermented Rhubarb & Honey Soda

How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda

IMG_8054What You’ll Need:

  • Rhubarb– I used 6 stalks
  • Raw, local honey (or at least raw– you can order it here if you need to) And yes, you can also use sugar instead.
  • Some kind of culture– you can use sauerkraut juice or whey from strained yogurt– you only need a tablespoon or two
  • a demijohn, an airlock, a funnel and swing-top bottles.

What to Do:

  1. Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 pieces and put in a pot.
  2. Cover the rhubarb in the pot with water, and bring to a simmer.  I used about a liter of water.
  3. Simmer until the rhubarb is very tender, then cool.  I left mine overnight to steep, but you probably don’t need to.
  4. Strain out the rhubarb.  (When I stirred mine with a spoon, it disintegrated, making something like applesauce.  I added honey and now we have a nice rhubarb compote.)
  5. Add the honey and stir until dissolved.  I used about 3/4 cup, which made it very, very sweet.  Keep in mind that the sugars will be digested to create the fizz, so you do want to start with it much sweeter than you would like the soda to be.  Dilute the syrup with water if it comes on too strong (super tart, since it will get more sour as it ferments.)
  6. Pour the “juice” into a sterilized demijohn, add your whey or sauerkraut juice and add your airlock.
  7. Let it sit for about three days, and taste it.  Mine fermented pretty quickly, but there are some variables– the temperature of the room, the strength of the culture you used, etc.  Taste it and let it ferment until it’s only a little sweeter than you would like it to be.
  8. Pour it into your swing-top bottles, and store in the fridge.  You could leave them out at room temperature if you’d like to drink them sooner, but I usually pop them into the fridge to slow down the fermentation process.  You will want to drink them within a week, or risk losing most of your Rhubarb Soda to the “geyser effect.”  Your beverage will get drier, more tart and fizzier the longer you wait.  It will eventually develop more of an alcohol content, too, so you might want to taste it before giving it to your kids if you’ve been storing it for a while!

IMG_8140We enjoyed our Rhubarb Soda this weekend– it was nice and sunny, and we did a lot of work outside.  It is rosy, tart and so refreshing– and not to mention the pleasures of drinking something pink. Plus, there is something really exciting about making your own intense carbonation, naturally.  That always gives me a thrill.  I hope you’ll try making some– it’s really very easy, and you can’t buy anything like it!
IMG_8130For more fermented beverage projects, you may want to check out these books: True Brews and Real Food Fermentation. Want to make something a little more grown-up than soda?  We love Rhubarb Wine!

Did you enjoy this post?  Share it and pin for later!

How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda


, , , , , ,

70 Responses to How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda (With Lacto-Fermentation!)

  1. JoWrites March 10, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    Looks interesting. Can’t wait to try it.

    • ariana March 17, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      I’m glad you will! Please let us know how yours come out!

  2. Betty Harlacher March 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    How did you learn to do so many different things; like smoking meat, making soda? I am always afraid I will poison someone with tainted food. I have wanted to make my own yogurt forever but am fearful of bad bacteria going wild.

    • ariana March 17, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Betty! No one actually taught me to make anything beyond yogurt– I just took the view that it’s a fun biology experiment, and started trying things. I think that most of us just haven’t been exposed to people doing these things themselves, and so we begin to think that we *can’t* do it ourselves without expertise, equipment, etc. The truth is that it’s really easy to do, and actually pretty hard to get wrong, once you know the basics. I have never made anyone sick. Usually, it’s pretty clear when something goes wrong in fermentation– and you can tell by looking and smelling.

      Another thing that might be helpful to keep in mind is that good bacteria usually trumps bad bacteria– this is why fermentation is used so much to preserve food and keep it from going bad. I hope you’ll give one of these projects a shot– it’s so much fun, once you get started!

  3. Laura March 17, 2014 at 3:33 am #

    This looks so yummy but all I have right now is previously frozen rhubarb. Do you think that it would still work or shall I wait for fresh?

    • ariana March 17, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Laura, I definitely think frozen will be fine. Since you’re getting the fermentation culture from whey or kraut, the rhubarb is just there to make a flavorful “tea” to ferment. Try it!

  4. goatsandgreens March 17, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Talk about worthwhile inventiveness!

  5. fairytalehausfrau March 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Another recipe of yours that I can’t wait to try! :)

  6. Ksenia March 28, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Question – do you have to use an airlock, or is there another option?

    • ariana March 31, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Ksenia, I have always used an airlock. But I know some people have had success with using a balloon with a pin prick hole in it as an effective airlock. Worth a try, for sure!

  7. Danita April 4, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    Also did you add more water after straining it? I don’t understand how you had enough to fill a demijohn with only adding a liter while cooking down. Sorry I have never made soda before.

    • ariana April 4, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Danita,
      I did not fill a whole demijohn– you’re right that this wouldn’t be enough! It was about a liter. What I would suggest is tasting it, then deciding if you think it should be diluted. You want a drink that’s like lemonade, but on the sweeter side, since the culture will be eating some of the sugar to create carbonation. Don’t start off *too* sour, because it will become more tart as it ferments.

      Have fun!

  8. Wendy April 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    You can make sodas with nothing more than fruit, honey/sugar and water. The wild yeasts on the fruit and in the air will create fermentation, just as they would with a sourdough starter. You may need a couple more days fermentation is all.

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      This is true! But I believe that something that is cooked like this would kill all of the natural yeast on the fruit, so you would need to get it from the air. And it will take much longer– but that can be a really fun experiment!

  9. lightatheart April 11, 2014 at 3:56 am #

    When does the alcohol content start in the process? One of my family members can’t have alcohol and if there is the slightest taste or smell of it would not drink it. I’d like to try this but definitely don’t want it to get to the stage of having an alcohol content if that is possible.
    Thank you.

    • ariana April 11, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      It would depend on a few variables… The temperature of the room you’re fermenting in, how active the culture is, etc. I would say that over a week of fermentation would be begin to produce some alcohol. But I think the best method is to taste it, and keep the fermentation period short. I recently did a blackberry soda that we couldn’t drink right away, so I bottled it and put it in the fridge. We had our last bottle yesterday, probably a month later, and there was no hint of alcohol since we had slowed down the fermentation so much through temperature.

  10. Clare April 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    This might seem like a silly question but can I just use the juice from a jar of sauerkraut that I bought from the supermarket?

    • ariana April 27, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Clare! It really depends on the type of sauerkraut you are buying. Bubbies has live probiotic cultures in it, but most do not. If you don’t have a culture on hand, the simplest whey to get it is to strain a bit of plain yogurt (I use a coffee filter in a strainer) to get just a tablespoon or two of whey. After that, you can use a little leftover soda to culture the next batch!

  11. Brian Wood April 28, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    How much does this make? is this a 1 gallon recipe?

  12. deneen May 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Hi, I’m wondering what the yield is – considering making this for my next food swap. Want to make sure I make enough!

    • ariana May 6, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      The yield will vary a bit, but about a gallon is what this one makes. It’s so easy to adapt, though– just use as much rhubarb as you have, and dilute and sweeten so that it tastes like a sweeter-than-you-want lemonade. (It will get drier as it ferments.) And you can always dilute during the fermentation process if it’s too strong– very flexible! I hope your food swappers love it!

  13. Fatemeh May 4, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    Do you think I could use a bit of kombucha to start this? I do have some lacto fermented pickles I could use, but the brine is ridiculously salty. Also, if I don’t have an airlock (just ordered one, actually!), could I burp the bottle I pour it into?

    • ariana May 6, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Fatemah, I think it will be OK to just use a little of your pickle brine. Sometimes I add a pinch of salt to my sour drinks anyway, as it rounds them out a bit. Maybe use 1 tsp., then just give it a little longer for the culture to develop. Unfortunately, kombucha will not work in this way. And yes– you can just burp your bottles a couple of times a day. I get nervous about forgetting and risking an explosion, but I know people do it this way sometimes.

  14. Pam Bachman May 9, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    Really wish (for the blackberry as well), that you included the yield in your recipe. For those of us new to this, how much water (a 3 gallon, a five gallon demijohn?), would be really helpful. If I’m going to go to the trouble of making a terrific soda, I’d like to make more than just one or two bottles. Surely you could provide a little more guidance in this regard?

  15. Eric May 27, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Rhubarb soda sounds great, I’ll have to try it.
    You might find that you get more consistent results if you use a bit of yeast instead of the whey or sauerkraut juice. When I make root beer I use about 1/8 tsp of bakers yeast.
    I like to make soda in 2 liter bottles so that you can feel how much carbonation there is. It’s done fermenting when it feels as hard as the 2 liters in the store. Put it directly in the fridge for a day or two to let the CO2 stabilize in solution and it’s good to go.

  16. Lindsay Wansitler July 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    I made a similar soda recipe with strawberries and rhubarb. It has been in there for almost a day and no bubbling from my bubbler…. help?

  17. Anu Ann Randmaa April 29, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    It is good to hear from you and your doings in Spain. Missed it while you moved over there. Rhubarb season is in swing here in southern Ontario, Canada, and I have a friend whose yard has them coming up madly. I’ll call her and see if I can’t mooch some of those rhubarbs and make this soda drink. Sounds so like something I’d like to drink on a hot spring day (like today). Thanks for your energy, for your interesting outlook on food, drink and life.!!!

    • ariana May 27, 2015 at 7:41 am #

      Thanks for this sweet note, Anu!

  18. Ryan Meashaw May 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    I was going to ask about a different form of fermenting other than the whey or kraut juice. But I seem someone mentioned baker’s yeast. Would brewer’s yeast work also or not so much? From what you said I couldn’t drop in a Kombucha SCOBY and have it work? What if I brewed in my continuous brew kombucha jar that’s just covered with a cloth on top, no airlock etc. Would that work out alright? Sorry for all the questions. I like to be prepared before I start a project! Thanks!

    • caranorris2014 May 27, 2015 at 12:28 am #

      Ryan, I am just about to try this with champagne yeast. I’ll check in with results! I have never done anything like this before but my husband brews beer so that is the route I am trying!

      • Ryan Meashaw May 27, 2015 at 2:32 am #

        I picked some rhubarb today to try it with. Also wondering if maybe the ginger bug could be used for the fermenting part?

        • ariana May 27, 2015 at 7:14 am #

          Cara, I think champagne yeast could be pretty interesting! In the past when I’ve made wines, I’ve taken the barely-fermented, sweet liquid an bottled it for my daughter as a soda. Just be careful if you’re using glass bottles, that too much carbonation doesn’t build up. If you’re at all worried, use a plastic soda bottle.

    • ariana May 27, 2015 at 7:12 am #

      Ryan, I have never done a soda with brewer’s yeast. For the first time doing it, I would recommend a probiotic starter instead. Kombucha needs tea in order to work, so I really don’t think using kombucha would be a success.

  19. Kaia June 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    I would love to make this! I don’t know what a demijohn is, is there a good substitute? And what are some more options for a probiotic starter?

    • ariana June 25, 2015 at 8:46 am #

      Kaia, a demijohn is a glass jug that you can put a rubber stopper with an airlock in. Here’s an example:
      If you can’t get whey from yogurt, kefir or fermented veggies, you could try a powdered probiotic capsule– just empty it out into your juice.

  20. Helena September 9, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    Please clarify. The juice is the liquid strained???? And what is the quantity of soda made???

    • ariana September 14, 2015 at 11:58 am #

      The juice is the strained liquid, correct. The quantity here is a little loose, as you will add water to taste if it’s too sour or concentrated– but it will be about a liter, giver or take.

  21. Rebecca March 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Does the fermentation make it alcoholic?

    • ariana March 24, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

      Hi Rebecca,
      If you leave it for a long time, it will eventually become alcoholic (like any juice will) but fermenting for just a week or so will not make it alcoholic.

  22. Jennifer mackenzie May 24, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    Could I use some kombucha for this instead of sUerkraut juice or yogurt whey?

  23. Flo June 20, 2016 at 7:36 am #

    Thanks a lot for your recipe ! I love that drink, so delicious :p

  24. marilyn July 10, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Is it necessary to simmer the rhubarb, or could it be put through a juicer and used raw? Could you do similar using other fruits and berries and would these need to be simmered or could they as well be juiced and raw with the addition of water, sugar and a little whey? Thank you.

    • ariana July 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

      Hi Marilyn,
      I haven’t done it that way with Rhubarb before, and I think cooking it will extract the most flavor. But yes, you can make all kinds of sodas with raw fruit and I have done it that way with other fruits. One reason to consider cooking them down is to kill any wild bacteria that is already on the fruit for a cleaner flavor, but adding whey or another probiotic should make sure that good bacteria will overpower the bad. If you decide to go for a raw rhubarb soda, please let us all know how to comes out!


  1. Natural Family Friday 3/27/14 | Natural Family Today - March 28, 2014

    […] Fermented Rhubarb and Honey Soda by And Here We Are […]

  2. How to Make Rhubarb Wine | And Here We AreAnd Here We Are - April 2, 2014

    […] kids who feel left out of the the home brewing action, you should definitely make up a batch of Rhubarb Soda with […]

  3. How To Make Fermented Rhubarb & Honey Soda — Self Sufficiency Magazine - April 10, 2014

    […] How To Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda […]

  4. Let's Make Fermented Blackberry Soda! | And Here We AreAnd Here We Are - April 18, 2014

    […] this method for any fruit, really, and it’s very similar to my method for making fermented rhubarb & honey soda.   This method is very adaptable.  There is a reason I don’t give exact measurements– […]

  5. Link Love (2014-04-24) | Becky's Kaleidoscope - April 24, 2014

    […] How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda (With Lacto-Fermentation!) – And Here We Are […]

  6. Weekly Cultured Gathering: May 10 - May 12, 2014

    […] Lacto-Fermented Rhubarb and Honey Soda […]

  7. Weekend Reading: Cooking with Invasive Species, Finding the Cookbook, Rhubarb, Yellow Roses and More — Nourished Kitchen - June 1, 2014

    […] appeared in our CSA, so I might try Angelica and Rhubarb Jam, though I’m planning to make Rhubarb Soda, too, only adding ginger and angelica to […]

  8. Weekend Reading and Links: Invasive Species, Yellow Roses and Rhubarb » Nourishing News - June 1, 2014

    […] appeared in our CSA, so I might try Angelica and Rhubarb Jam, though I’m planning to make Rhubarb Soda, too, only adding ginger and angelica to […]

  9. Real Food Fourth of July BBQ Ideas - Oh Lardy! - July 1, 2014

    […] Fermented Rhubarb and Honey Soda from And Here We Are […]

  10. Episode 15 - Thanksgiving Ideas & Recipes with Fermentation | The Fermentation Podcast - November 21, 2014

    […] How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda (With Lacto-Fermentation!) – And Here We Are […]

  11. Real Food Fourth of July BBQ Ideas - Oh Lardy - January 6, 2015

    […] Fermented Rhubarb and Honey Soda from And Here We Are […]

  12. A Dozen Edibles Pretty Enough to Fool Your Homeowners Association - January 21, 2015

    […] Honey rhubarb soda […]

  13. Growing & Using Rhubarb - March 25, 2015

    […] Fermented Rhubarb and Honey Soda […]

  14. This Is How Honey Makes These 25 Recipes (And Your Life) Better | LifeTitude - April 1, 2015

    […] 21. Rhubarb and Honey Soda […]

  15. 37 Ferments for Spring — Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS - April 16, 2015

    […] Lacto-Fermented Rhubarb Soda […]

  16. Variations culinaires #2 : La rhubarbe | L: - June 1, 2015

    […] Un soda rhubarbe et miel. Je ne sais pas vous, mais je n’ai jamais testée de réaliser un soda. J’ai d’ailleurs garder une bouteille en verre, ce qui me donnera les moyens de le faire je pense. Ou bien une limonade à la rhubarbe, hmmmm… […]

  17. Rhubarb Soda — Making Up For Lost Time | justlikemomusedtomakeblog - July 21, 2015

    […] original batch was inspired by AndHereWeAre. Ariana Mullins mentions that a soda formula is flexible, and, from what I experienced, I agree.  […]

  18. 70 Refreshing Summer Drinks - Recipes to Nourish - August 22, 2015

    […] Fermented Rhubarb and Honey Soda from And Here We Are  […]

  19. Rhubarb Soda | All Things Natural & DIY - August 27, 2015

    […] the farmers market. Then I thought, Rhubarb soda! I looked up a bunch of recipes but I really liked this fermenting method. It uses lacto fermentation and has probiotics which is awesome for digestion and […]

  20. The River Cottage Booze Handbook - Book Review | Chicken Scratch NY - January 12, 2016

    […] started getting interested in homemade libations last summer when I found a recipe for Lacto-fermented Honey Rhubarb Soda. While not strictly an alcoholic beverage it does get a bit of a kick from the fermentation, […]

  21. 14 Fermented Foods To Help You Cleanse and Detox This Spring - Fermented Food Lab - April 1, 2016

    […] 12. How to Make Rhubarb & Honey Soda (With Lacto-Fermentation!) – And Here We Are […]

  22. Getting Rid of Hametz - Birkat Chaverim Blog - April 10, 2016

    […] Homemade soda with yeast. We made ginger ale. This needs some more experimenting since I forgot to check on it after 48 hours and ours got a bit bitter but it is something we want to try again. This can be done several times before Passover and is a great science experiment. There are many ways to do this, here is one recipe. You can also try as a comparison fermenting soda on Pesach using whey from yogurt in a non-Hametz experiment. You can try this recipe for Rhubard and Honey soda. […]

  23. Fermented Rhubarb Honey Soda Recipe | The Homestead Survival - July 1, 2016

    […] […]

  24. 41 Exciting Ways To Use Spring Produce - July 7, 2016

    […] Rhubarb & Honey Fermented Soda […]

  25. Homemade Rhubarb and Honey Soda - The Budget Diet - July 14, 2016

    […] Image source: […]

  26. 15 of the Best Homemade Fermented Food Recipes - - August 31, 2016

    […] Fermented Rhubarb & Honey Soda → […]

  27. Ready for Summer Picnics: Assembling the Perfect Picnic Kit - And Here We Are - October 25, 2016

    […] forget about drinks!  Homemade sodas are wonderful: Rhubarb & Honey, Blackberry, […]

Share your thoughts with us...