Fermented fruit sodas are so fun to make, simple, and delicious. I am working through my freezer right now– it needs to be defrosted, so I am using up the remaining bounty from last summer’s foraging walks. The blackberries we gathered have a lot of flavor, but are really not very sweet– so turning them into fermented blackberry soda is a great option. You can use 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– you don’t need them! But I will offer some guiding principles.
How to Make Fermented Blackberry Soda
What You’ll Need:
- Blackberries– either fresh or frozen (I used about 5 cups)
- Raw, local honey (or at least raw– you can order it here if you need to) or sugar– brown or sucanat would be nice
- 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:
- Put the blackberries into a pot, and cover with water. I used about a liter of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes over low heat, then cool. I have left mine overnight before, but you don’t need to.
- Strain out the blackberries. To extract more flavor, you can blend them up first– it will just take longer to strain.
- Add the honey or sugar 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. You can also just save this as blackberry syrup! This is a nice way to make another batch later– you can freeze, then dilute when you want to make another batch, quickly. Dilute the syrup with water to get a good juice flavor and consistency.
- Pour the “juice” into a sterilized or very clean demijohn, pour in your whey or sauerkraut juice and add your airlock. (I have a small swing-top container that I used for making a smaller batch than usual. An airlock fits in the top. Some people have had success with putting a balloon over the top of the demijohn with a pin hole in the top to mimic an airlock. Worth a try in a pinch!
- 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.
- Pour it into your swing-top bottles, and store in the fridge. (The type of bottle is important, as they allow the ferment to give off some small amounts of Co2 and won’t explode.) 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 few weeks, or risk losing most of your Blackberry Soda to the “geyser effect.” With this batch, I popped into the fridge as soon as I bottled it. If you’re storing it for a while, I’d just check in now and then to see what kind of pressure is building up. 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!
We stored ours in the fridge right after bottling, and when I opened our last one four weeks later, it was not too fizzy or over-fermented. In the warmer months, I like to keep fermented sodas on hand. It’s a nice treat in the afternoon, and something to offer Amelia when we’re enjoying our home-brewed beers and wines. They are so refreshing, and I can’t get over the fun of creating really fizzy drinks through some simple kitchen chemistry. To take things one step further, you could also try making wild blackberry cider.
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