Bluestem Farm Ginger-Beet Soda

This is a recipe for the soda I make for farm concerts. People rave about it and my son thinks it's a special treat—little does he know it's a superfood. Commercially produced sodas pump bubbles into the liquid. The bubbles in this naturally fermented soda are made when (remember van Leeuwenhoek from high school biology?) “cavorting wee beasties” eat the sugar in your soda and exhale carbon dioxide.  

4 or 5 medium beets

2” chunk of whole ginger

2 or 3 apples

½ cup regular sugar, plus more for the starter if you're making a ginger bug

a starter culture (see below)

A.    The Ginger Bug Way

This is the way to go if you don't have another starter culture (such as a kombucha SCOBY or water kefir grains) around the house already. We have starter cultures to share from time to time if you want to give them a try.

Grate 2 tablespoons ginger and add it to a quart mason jar with 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons sugar. This is the ginger bug. Each day for a week, you're going to feed the ginger bug by adding 2 tablespoons water and sugar. When it's bubbly, after a week or so, pour 1 cup strained ginger bug liquid into a new ½ gallon mason jar. 

Mince the beets, ginger, and apples—leave the cores and seeds and skins in there. A food processor is handy for this. Then boil the fruit & vegetables in 1 quart water for 15 minutes, strain off the liquid, and let it cool to room temperature. Press and squeeze the pulp to get as much juice as you can.  Combine this cool, intensely colored liquid with the sugar and culture (either ginger bug or kefir or kombucha) in the ½ gallon mason jar. Top it off with a little cool water to fill the jar.

At this point, you can either drink it as-is, or seal the soda in bottles to make it fizzy. You can buy swing-top bottles and sterilize and cap them, or put new metal caps on old (sterilized) beer bottles with a bottle capper. Did I mention your bottles need to be sterilized? Leave the bottles out overnight and then move them to the fridge. Open carefully! They're very fizzy.

B.    The Kefir or Kombucha Way

If you have already got some sort of starter culture around, it’s way easier to use it rather than to make a ginger bug as described above. 

Leaving the SCOBY or kefir grains behind, take a quart of prepared kefir or kombucha. and add it to a half-gallon jar.  

Mince the beets, ginger, and apples—leave the cores and seeds and skins in there. A food processor is handy for this. Then boil the fruit & vegetables in 1 quart water for 15 minutes, strain off the liquid, and let it cool to room temperature. Press and squeeze the pulp to get as much juice as you can. Combine this cool, intensely colored liquid with the sugar and culture (either ginger bug or kefir or kombucha) in the ½ gallon mason jar. Top it off with a little cool water to fill the jar.

At this point, you can either drink it as-is, or seal the soda in bottles to make it fizzy. You can buy swing-top bottles and sterilize and cap them, or put new metal caps on old (sterilized) beer bottles with a bottle capper. Did I mention your bottles need to be sterilized? Leave the bottles out overnight and then move them to the fridge. Open carefully! They're very fizzy.

MaryComment