Homemade sodas are vitamin-rich, fun to make, and economical! Unlike the sugary drinks you pick up in the store, at home you can make your own delicious and effervescent drinks using natural ingredients. These simple fermentations occur due to the natural yeasts and bacteria present in the air and on the fruit/substrate, which start to feed on the sugars present, and create the bubbliness of a soda. Because the bubbles come from a wild fermentation, you end up culturing good yeast and bacteria that are probiotic, and healthy for the digestive system.
• 3 C. Currants, Plums, or Berries
• ½ C. Raw Honey dissolved in 4 C. Cold Water
Rinse and drain the fruit. Mix all ingredients in a ½ gallon mason jar. Leave jar on the counter and stir vigorously twice a day for 1-3* days. Your punch is done when it is naturally fizzy, and the color of the berries is transferred evenly in the liquid. Strain, if desired. Store in the fridge, and use within a week. Makes approx. 3 quarts.
*Fermentation will occur faster in warmer weather.
Variations on this Recipe
Feel free to use any type of berries for this recipe, but note, the softer the berry; the faster fermentation will be complete. Blackberries, and strawberries could finish fermenting in as a little as a day and a half. Plums are also a favorite to use for this recipe, because you can just pop them in whole - no need to pit them or treat them beyond washing.
Currants are a rather tart berry, so the amount of sweetener may be reduced if you have a sweeter fruit, and the sweetener itself can be varied. I prefer to use raw honey, but white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar are all worth a try. Use what you have!
Tepache is a lightly fermented pineapple drink with origins in Central Mexico. The beauty of making pineapple tepache is that you can save the fruit for eating fresh, and use just the rinds and cores to make this economical drink. A light fermentation will occur in 1-3 days and is safe for children. If you were to ferment for longer the drink would become more alcoholic, and eventually turn into vinegar. Refrigeration halts the fermentation process and keeps your beverage at the stage you desire. Since you are using primarily the outside of the pineapple, organic/unsprayed fruit is recommended.
• 1 Organic Pineapple (Skin & Core)
• ½ C. Sweetener
• Cold Water
Rinse your pineapple. Slice it up and reserve the skin, core, and any leftover bits – this is what you will use to make your tepache! Mix the pineapple skins and cores, sweetener, and water (to cover) in a gallon jar. Stir vigorously and weigh down the pineapple with another jar, or ceramic weights. Remove weights and stir vigorously twice a day for 2-3 days. When the tepache is golden throughout and naturally fizzy, it is done! Strain and refrigerate. Use within 4 days, before it loses its fizz. Makes approx. 3 quarts.
Summer is the perfect time to practice making fermented drinks for gut health and backyard sipping. To extend the harvest, freeze fruit whole or in large pieces, and save your pineapple skins and core and freeze them. This will allow you to experiment with your probiotic drinks throughout the winter and spring. Try using a variety of fruits available, and enjoy your newfound hobby!
Sienna Orlando-Lalaguna is the owner and maker behind Sienna Ceramics. She is a foodie, urban gardener, and plant-lover with a background in professional cooking. Her interest in food preservation stems from a love of local, organic produce, and a desire to extend the harvest from season-to-season. Sienna is interested in reviving the knowledge of fermentation, and bringing this ancient process back into modern communities like yours!