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 Rhubarb & Honey Soda
What 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:
- Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 pieces and put in a pot.
- Cover the rhubarb in the pot with water, and bring to a simmer. I used about a liter of water.
- Simmer until the rhubarb is very tender, then cool. I left mine overnight to steep, but you probably don’t need to.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Pour the “juice” into a sterilized demijohn, add your whey or sauerkraut juice and add your airlock.
- 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. 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!
We 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!
For 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!
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