Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wild Fermented Sodas

This has become a passion.

Inspiration: Sandor Katz, Power of Hope, my house, Metta.

Concept: Making sodas in a traditional method using yeast as the source of carbonation. In this case specifically using wild yeast to make probiotic healthy sodas.

I've been making sodas for a while. It's fun, and a great alternative to the 'sodas' in stores. Jen and I also got a chance this past year to partake in a fermented drinks workshop with Sandor which was really fun too.

So a little while ago, I did my largest scale of wild fermented sodas ever! I made 8 different drinks, totaling 150L for a all ages fundraiser for a youth empowerment group called Power of Hope. It was fun, and well received. With increased confidence on my recipes and abilities, I am thinking about doing events, or workshops, or soda shares, more often. Stay in contact with me if you'd like to hear about these in the future.

Fermenting 150L took up all of the containers I could find. I had to put it all in my room to control the temperature for all the drinks to be ready at the same time! 

Here's the finished product. If memory serves me from left to right there is 'give me strength' ginger ale, 'ever grounding' root beer, switchel, 'forest love' ale (spruce and western hemlock tip ale), cranberry ale, raspberry sparkle, orange zinger, kombucha rose.

Here's Jen and I serving the drinks at the event.
Courtesy of an artist at the event who traded their drawing skills for soda.

Close resemblance to the drawing hey?
And pics of the event itself:

What I know:

  • Wild yeasts are good for our digestion, and are probiotics.
  • Wild yeasts are on the surface of all foods, and can be collected and cultured easily from fruits with edible peels, and ginger.
  • The process of this fermentation breaks down sugars (and other nutrient sources) and converts them into carbon dioxide and alcohol. In the production of sodas, this process hasn't gone through full completion, so the drinks are still somewhat sweet, are still living, are still fermenting, and are not very alcoholic (below the non-alcoholic levels of 0.5%).
  • A wild fermented soda will re-carbonate itself after being opened.
  • These sodas are actually good to drink (as long as the sugar levels aren't incredibly high).
  • If left to ferment longer, these drinks would become more alcoholic. Some people may like this, but the soda will lose it's sweet flavours through this process, so there must be others flavours to sustain a tasty alcoholic drink.
  • The process of fermentation also can make the initial product healthier (through the conversion of complex compounds into simpler, more digestible forms, and through the production of vitamins).
Project (Simple Ginger Ale):

Option 1: Making a Ginger Bug. To start all sodas.
  1. In a 500 mL jar, fill half full with water, grate 1 Tbl ginger and add 1 Tbl sugar. 
  2. Put lid on and shake to dissolve the sugar. 
  3. Remove lid. Put cheesecloth on the top of jar, and seal with a rubber band. Let sit. 
  4. Add equal sugar and ginger everyday, shake, and let sit with cheescloth on. 
  5. In a few days, you'll see bubbles. Now your 'bug' is ready.
Option 2: Making a Fruit Bug. To start all sodas.

  1. Follow steps for the ginger bug, except put cut pieces of fruit (like .5-1 of an apple with skin) in the jar. You do not need to add more fruit each day, just more sugar. 
Option 3: Using water kefir. To start all sodas.

Simple Ginger Ale:
  1. Make a strong flavoured ginger tea (grated ginger and water boiling for a while).
  2. Take off the heat source. Add sugar. Add lemon juice.
  3. If you want to be creative add mint, or fruit juice. 
  4. Cool. Once it's body temperature add your 'bug'. Only use about half of your bug so that you can keep it continually going, for the next batch, until infinity.
  5. Mix. Pour into a plastic bottle. 
  6. Let sit with cap screwed on until the bottle is firm when you squeeze it.

 We'll see.

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