How to Make Lacto-fermented Watermelon Soda

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Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

Want to be the hit of  your next potluck?  Forget the boring old potato and macaroni salad.

Make lacto-fermented soda from fresh summer fruit.  Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

Folks will not only love it but it’s also a great conversation starter.  Trust me, people will have a million questions for you.  In fact, it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.  So before I get to the recipe, I thought I’d help prepare you.  I’ve put together a brief summary of some of the more common questions from some of the more common types of potluck guests.

You’re welcome.

Lacto-fermented Watermelon Soda Potluck Preparation Question List:

THE EXTROVERT:  OMG this fermented watermelon soda is like…the GREATEST thing I’ve ever tasted!  How did you make it?   I want to learn.  Now I’m going to cling to you for the next hour and monopolize the conversation.

THE INTROVERT:  I’m just going to stand over here and quietly worship you and listen to the extroverts ask you questions.  Because this really is the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted and I’m REALLY interested too.

THE LUSH (the answer to both question is an enthusiastic “yes”):  Can you make cocktails out of this?  Say like a watermelon mojito?

THE FELLOW FERMENTER (consider yourself lucky if you encounter one of these):  Cool!  I make fermented veggies.  Let’s go be new BFFs and have an hour-long conversation about the magic and wonders of lacto-fermentation.

THE MOMS:  OMG OMG my kids will LOVE this!   It’s really that easy to make?  And it’s lower in sugar than commercial sodas?  And it contains probiotics and enzymes?  And it doesn’t contain any chemicals?  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me how to make this at home.

THE DADS:  Great, my wife is going to turn our kitchen into a science experiment now.

THE DUDES (in a dry, sarcastic monotone):  Fermented?  Dude, I thought that was like… something to do with beer.

THE NEVER-ENDING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHEY: What is whey?  How do you make whey? Can I get whey in stores?  I have an allergy to whey.  What can I substitute for whey?

THE OVERLY IMPRESSIONISTIC SINGLE GAL/GUY: I think I love you.  Will you marry me?

So there you go.  I hope that helps.

Just prepare yourself for an influx of new friends and mass adoration (except for the dudes).

How to Make Lacto-fermented Watermelon Soda

Ingredients

Makes about 1 quart

  • 4 cups watermelon, cut into chunks.
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar, dehydrated cane juice or rapadura
  • 1/4 cup whey.  If you don’t have whey or have an allergy to whey you can also use water kefir, champagne yeast or a ginger bug.
  • 1 quart water

Directions

1. Boil sugar in water for a few minutes and stir to dissolve.  Cool to room temperature.

2. Cut watermelon into chunks and puree in blender or food processor.

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

3. Strain out in a strainer covered with cheesecloth to get the watermelon juice.

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

There’s the pulp on the left and the juice on the right.

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

I got about 2 cups of watermelon juice.

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

4.  Add the juice and the whey to the sugar water in a  2 quart glass ball jar or demijohn

5.  Let it ferment on your counter for at least 2 days and up to 10 days.  The longer you let it ferment the less sugar there will be as the bacteria will consume and convert the sugar during fermentation.  Swish the soda around once a day to prevent mold from forming on the surface.

6.  Transfer to soda bottles. Soda bottles increase the natural carbonation.

Here’s some soda bottles I picked up from a local kitchen store where I live in western Massachusetts.

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

Those flip cap bottles are fantastic and make bottling and opening the soda very easily.

If you can’t find soda bottles in a store near you, you can find them here on Amazon.

7.  The carbonation will increase rapidly. Be sure to release the pressure that builds every day until you’re ready to transfer them to the fridge. Do this over the sink or outside as the geyser effect is common.

8.  Enjoy!

Now I made this watermelon soda as part of a home fermentation demo for my mom and I forgot to get a separate picture of the final product.

But here it is amidst the other fermented goodies we made in one afternoon:

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

The bottle to the left of the watermelon soda is  blueberry soda.   Want to learn how to make that as well?

You can check out my other post for making lacto-fermented blueberry soda right here.

And if you want a nice resource for how to make traditional lacto-fermented sodas check out this great book, True Brews, by Emma Christensen.

Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

In addition to lacto-fermented soda, you also learn how to make other lacto-fermented beverages such as kefir, kombucha and cider.

Click here to check it out on Amazon.

 

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Want to be the hit of your next potluck? Forget the potato salad. Make lacto-fermented soda. Better yet, make lacto-fermented watermelon soda.

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Comments

  1. I had a bunch of watermelon chopped up in the refrigerator, so I just got a double batch started! Perfect way to use it. I’m really excited to taste it when it’s done!!

  2. One word: Awesome.

    You’re awesome. This recipe is awesome.

  3. So champagne yeast will give the same health benefits? And another question:
    When I make the other lacto fermented sodas, a couple of them started growing a mother like thing at the top. Is that normal? And it sat for 5 days and never got super carbonated. is the answer to that more time? Don’t mean to bombard you with so many questions at once.

    • Hi Jonathan, yes, champagne yeast will give the same benefits.

      I’m not sure what was growing at the top but that doesn’t sound normal. If it’s just mold, it’s harmless and you can skim it off. To prevent that from happening in the future, make sure to swish the jar around once or twice a day. And it won’t get super carbonated until you transfer it to the soda bottles.

    • I’m making this for the first time. 5 days in and mine too is growing a “mother” type growth on top. It resembles the SCOBY in my kambucha. Doesn’t look like mold. Drink does not taste “bad” either.

    • Adriane Suhayda says:

      Was it mostly clear and sort of looking like a jellyfish? It was most likely a SCOBY and similar to the ones used and formed in Kombucha. I’ve had this happen to a lot of fermented drinks I make at home. I assumed it was in the air and cross contaminated (in a good way) from my Kombucha brew but apparently it can just happen spontaneously. Ahhh the wonders of fermentation!

  4. I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  5. How much yeast should I add? I added a whole packet of champagne yeast, since I am new to this, and I assumed that’s what I had to do. My husband laughed at me and told me I’m probably making watermelon wine…any ideas how I fix this? (and yes, I googled first, couldn’t find helpful ideas)

    • Hi Cris, I haven’t used champagne yeast but from what I remember in the soda-making class I took, you don’t have to add too much. I think it was something like a teaspoon per gallon. Most people brew a lot less than that when starting out. So if you were brewing a quart or so you’d add about a 1/4 teaspoon.

  6. How long do I leave it in the bottle and relieve pressure before putting into the fridge?

  7. This is great! I make flavored kefir sodas, never thought of doing it this way, awesome!

  8. AKhoopgirl says:

    Can champagne yeast be found at most local grocery stores? I brew kombucha at home. What would happen if I used a SCOBY in place of the yeast/whey? Either pureed or just setting on top? Thoughts? Are SCOBY’s interchangeable with other ‘fermentat-ables’?
    Thanks, Im new to and REALLY enjoying your blog

  9. I kinda feel like there should be a disclaimer so people know if they leave it fermenting too long it will become alcoholic.

    Anyways, nice recipe, I was actually thinking of doing this as I have a bunch of watermelon about to go bad. Our fridge is almost empty because I’m fermenting all the food in it haha.

  10. Gabrielle says:

    Do you happen to know the macronutrient data for this? I’m following a ketogenic protocol, and would love to know what the carb content is after the fermentation process. Thanks!

  11. This looks delicious but I would caution against fermenting this in a square flip-top bottle. Square bottles are known to have weak areas and can explode much easier than round bottles. Use a bottle that is intended for carbonated liquids – that exploding glass can be dangerous. Can’t wait to try this!

  12. Jacob McDonald says:

    hi, with the fermentation part of this, does it need to ferment in the bowl first or can it go straight into the bottle and so on?

    need to know soon as i am doing this for a school asignment
    thanks

  13. This recipe looks great 🙂 I’m not sure what whey is, is it the leftover liquid from straining yogurt?

  14. A.Beims says:

    I made a watermelon Aqua Fresca (watermelon, lime, honey, coconut water, spring water, and mint) last week, but we forgot about it in the fridge. I found it today and it is fermented, a bit carbonated, and slight vinegar taste. Is this okay to drink? I didn’t put a culture in it. I hate to throw it away if it is good, and even healthful.

    • Even without a starter culture, it will ferment. As long as there’s nothing visibly odd about it (molds or something else growing in it) and it doesn’t smell bad, it should be OK.

  15. Tastes just like I remember a watermelon jolly rancher tasting =)
    I did everything as above, but added water to make mine 1/2 gal.
    Thanks!

  16. Gotta love that intro 😀

    Good entertainment about great ideas. As long as your not Kefir-less. Making my first soda ever tomorrow. Frozen Raspberries from raw milk kefir whey. Also will start a ginger bug. Should be fun.

  17. Hotsie 101 says:

    Where do I get the whey from? I would love to try this,

  18. How long kan I keep the bottles in the fridge once fermented? Thanks

  19. Could I add a 1/2 cup of whey instead of 1/4 cup? Which is hpw much I add for fermented lemonade? I have so much whey always. … Also could I use old glass soda bottles with corks?

    • Hi Kristine, you could try a 1/2 cup of whey. Just be mindful that it could create a more active fermentation in a shorter period of time. I would definitely not recommend corked bottles. Swing top bottles create a more secure cap. But be sure to check them everyday as the increased pressure can build rapidly.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Never made lacto-fermented soda?   Neither had I until recently.  It’s so easy.  All you need is fruit, sugar and a starter culture.  Check out my post for how to make lacto-fermented blueberry soda.  And here’s the post for how to make watermelon soda. […]

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  6. […] enzovoort. Dus ook de watermeloen was heerlijker! Thuisgekomen kwam ik een recept tegen van watermeloensoda, oftewel priklimonade van watermeloen. Het ziet er prachtig uit die roze kleur, het is heel […]

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