Delicious, bubbly soda is one of the greatest delights of modern life. But did you know you won’t have to give it up when SHTF? That’s right!
You can make your own refreshing soda drinks right at home, before or after a crisis! There are several different options for making your own soda, and all involve at-home culturing. Just like sourdough or sauerkraut, you can ferment sugars and fruits in water for an extended period of time and then carbonate in an airtight container to produce a delicious, bubbly drink.
Here are some of the most popular:
Water kefir is made from water kefir grains which can be purchased commercially and fermented in water to create the water kefir drink. Note that these “grains” are different from milk kefir grains, which are a slightly different strain of bacteria. This is by far the easiest way to make soda at home, all it takes is a jar, water kefir grains, some sugar, and maybe fruit or fruit juice of choice to flavor!
It only takes a day or two to ferment, and then another day to carbonate, and you can keep it going on your counter continuously or store the grains for future use. Read on for some instructions!
Kombucha is all the rage lately, and for good reason! It is delicious, very cheap and easy to make at home, full of incredible health benefits and–best of all–can be carbonated to a delightful fizz!
It is made using black tea, sugar, and a SCOBY, which is essentially a mushroom that grows in the concoction you brew with the other ingredients. No, really!
You can buy a SCOBY commercially, grab one from a friend (if they’re brewing their own kombucha, they’re no doubt up to their ears in it already!), or grow one by pouring ⅓ of a bottle of store bought kombucha into a jar, covering with cloth and a rubber band, and leaving for a week. When a filmy substance has formed at the top of the jar, there’s your SCOBY!
A ginger bug is a culture that you grow yourself, using ginger and sugar. It is how old-fashioned ginger ale and root beer were made, so it’s ideal for survivalists to know about! Using grated ginger, sugar, and water, you let ferment until they get bubbly, and then use as the culture for many types of sodas.
Whey is very easy to use to ferment juice and quickly and easily make your own at-home sodas. Whey is the white, liquid byproduct of making cheese or yogurt or separating curds from, well, whey.
Most people don’t realize this, but you can actually use it to make soda! First, some whey is added to fruit juice and water, and then that is let to sit for a few days. Next, you can carbonate to make it bubbly!
These types of homemade sodas are all really handy to know about but it’s not just for their refreshing taste. They all happen to be rich in probiotics, which can help support a healthy gut. This is particularly important in a survival situation, as the elements and the distress of a disaster will be wreaking havoc on your immune system, and you might even have sick or injured people with you.
A healthy gut means a healthy immune system–so these delicious sodas are great medicine too!
Water Kefir Directions
OK, so that’s a rundown of some basic ways of making soda. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty now and make some ourselves!
Here’s how to make water kefir, the first type of homemade soda we mentioned.
First, you will need to find yourself some kefir grains. You can easily purchase these online, or find a local fermenting group online and see if anyone has some to spare. This is what they look like:
Once you have your kefir grains, you might need to activate them, by leaving them in a little bit of water with sugar for a few days.
When they are ready to use, proceed with brewing:
1) First, fill a ½ gallon jar until nearly full with filtered water. Additives like chlorine might inhibit the fermentation process, so filtered is the best.
2) Next, add ¼ cup white sugar and stir to dissolve.
3) Then, add your kefir grains.
4) Cover the jar with a paper towel, piece of cloth, or coffee filter, and a rubber band. Let sit for at least 24 hours.
5) After 24 hours, check to see if the solution is bubbly at the top. It won’t be carbonated, but you’ll see “activity”, meaning some light foaming at the top, bubbles on the inside, or any sign of life:
6) Once the solution is “active”, you can strain out the grains and drink as it is–or move on to carbonation!
1) Take your active water kefir, add some molasses, fresh fruit, or fruit juice. This will provide the sugar for fermentation.
2) Put in another ½ gallon jar with an intact lid and rim, or a flip-top bottle.
3) Pour the water kefir into your container:
4) Seal tightly:
5) Now, let sit for 12-24 hours. WARNING: There is a chance if left too long this could blow up. Check regularly for bubbles (if you remove the top it will “hiss” when it is properly carbonated) and keep somewhere will no one will be harmed if the container explodes!
Once carbonated, refrigerate and enjoy!
A quick note: fermenting is an inexact science. You might find that you need to tweak the fermentation time, amount of ingredients, containers, etc. to get the desired results.
Perfect your process while you still have the internet, which is full of handy resources for making water kefir and other delicious fermented sodas!