There’s just something special about late afternoons...a good day’s work is behind you, dinner is already cooking in the oven, and maybe you were lucky enough to have poked around in the garden a bit, making mental to-do lists for the season ahead. It really is my favorite time of day to sit back in a comfy chair, kick up my feet and sip on a delicious refreshing beverage for a few minutes of quiet...ahhhh!
This peaches and cream probiotic soda is one of my favorite afternoon treats. It gives me the boost I need to get through the rest of my day and finish well. Not to mention, all those probiotics help support my immune system promoting good health! And you won’t find a single drop of high fructose corn syrup or caramel coloring in these sodas. Best yet, making naturally fermented sodas at home is very simple and with the following basics, you’ll soon be enjoying homemade sodas during your afternoon “ahh’s”.
This recipe makes approximately 1 gallon of soda, or eight 16 oz. grolsh bottles.
• 5-6 cups fresh or frozen peaches
• 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
• 14 cups filtered water
• 3-4 Tablespoons organic vanilla extract
• 1 cup whey
1. Combine water, sugar and peaches in a large pot and heat over medium heat until bubbling.
2. Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, mashing the peaches to release their juices (we like to use a potato masher).
3. Turn off heat and allow peaches to cool to room temperature, then strain the juice into a large bowl.
4. Stir in vanilla extract and whey (it’s important your liquid is room temperature before doing this step or you may damage the culture).
5. Pour liquid into a large, 1 gallon jar and cover with a lid (at this point the jar does not have to be airtight).
6. Let sit at room temperature to ferment for 3-7 days.
7. After 3-7 days, transfer soda to airtight flip-top bottles (such as the grolsh bottles in the picture) and continue to ferment at room temperature for for 1-5 days.
Check bottles daily for carbonation build up. You want to hear a “pop” upon opening. After the desired “fizziness” is reached, you’ll want to halt the fermentation process by storing them in the refrigerator (or cold storage if you have it).
Use bottled or filtered water when making soda and not tap water, the chlorine could inhibit fermentation.
Feel free to substitute sucanat, maple sugar or jaggery for the organic sugar, but I wouldn’t recommend using coconut sugar, rapadura or molasses as the flavor can be quite overpowering. (Find out about the differences of sugars and which are the healthiest to use.)
It is not recommended to use honey in this recipe as it contains anti-bacterial properties that can interfere with the fermentation process. We want to make soda, not mead!
To obtain whey, simply strain whole-milk yogurt through a coffee filter for an hour or two. What drips out is whey! (Strain about 2-3 cups yogurt to obtain 1 cup whey, then enjoy your Greek-style yogurt with some berries!)
Fermentation times will vary based on temperature and climate. Ferments prefer temperatures between 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit, so if they’re warmer or cooler than this the above listed fermentation times will vary.
To make soda with a lower sugar content, you’ll want to allow for longer fermentation. Try keeping them at a slightly cooler temperature and allowing them to ferment for the full 7-10 days. For a sweeter soda, stick to a shorter fermentation time, such as 24 hours in the jar, and 2-4 days in the airtight bottles.
If your soda is fermenting too quickly or too slowly, try changing the location in your home. For example, the top of the refrigerator tends to be the warmest spot in my kitchen, and our pantry stays quite cool.
Kelsey Steffen is a wife, mom of four, home-school educator and aspiring farmer living in North Idaho. Join Kelsey and her family over at Full of Days as they attempt to squeeze every ounce of joy into their daily life. Read about the happenings in the Steffen household, and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Find all of Kelsey’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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