I promise you won’t find another homemade blueberry soda anywhere online like this one. Every other blueberry soda recipe is made using simple syrup, in this case, a blueberry syrup of fresh blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. That syrup is then added to some type of carbonated water.
That’s all fine and dandy but it lacks the health benefits of the traditional method. The homemade blueberry soda recipe you’ll find here is actually made the old-fashioned way, through Lacto-fermentation, which does some remarkable things.
Seriously, did you know that at one time sodas were actually considered a healthful beverage?
I know that’s hard to imagine but it’s true. Today’s commercial sodas are so full of sugar, caffeine, artificial colors, and preservatives that most people have no idea that they evolved from healthful Lacto-fermented beverages. As a result, all soda is almost universally considered unhealthy.
Traditionally, Lacto-fermented beverages were made from the roots, leaves, fruits, and even barks of various herbs, plants, and trees. For example, root beer was commonly made from the roots of the sassafras plant. Ginger ale was made from ginger (a root), of course.
Lacto-fermentation is a natural process by which the starches and sugars in fruits, vegetables, and dairy are chemically broken down by naturally occurring bacteria and converted into lactic acid (thus, the “Lacto” of Lacto-fermentation).
More importantly, these chemical changes have some remarkable health benefits, especially for digestion.
Lacto-fermentation presents our body with valuable enzymes, probiotics, and actual nutrients such as trace minerals in a highly absorbable form. Furthermore, the carbonation in Lacto-fermented soda is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. This is of course what gives soda its notorious fizziness.
Because modern sodas are NOT Lacto-fermented, carbonation is mechanically added. While this doesn’t seem to have a negative health impact (though some believe it does), it certainly doesn’t add anything beneficial.
And unlike the super-sized portions of today’s sodas, traditional sodas were commonly consumed in small amounts and were often used for medicinal purposes.
Sally Fallon, in Nourishing Traditions, writes, “Throughout the world, these lactic-acid-containing drinks have been valued for medicinal qualities including the ability to relieve intestinal problems and constipation, promote lactation, strengthen the sick and promote overall wellbeing and stamina. Above all, these drinks were considered superior to plain water in their ability to relieve thirst during physical labor.”
Another benefit of Lacto-fermented sodas is that they contain considerably less sugar as the bacteria feed on and convert the sugar during fermentation. And of course, there are no genetically modified high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
My Lacto-fermented homemade blueberry soda was actually my first attempt at making real soda so I don’t claim to be any sort of expert. However, my first batch came out beautifully and I’m pretty confident yours will too if you follow my simple recipe.
One thing you will need to increase the carbonation is soda bottles as they provide the perfect vehicle to trap carbon dioxide and increase the fizziness.
As proof, here’s a short video of myself opening my first batch. My apologies for the horrible lighting!
I picked up the soda bottles at a local kitchen supply store.
OK, let’s get to the recipe!
Makes about 2 quarts
1. Simmer blueberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat or medium-high heat on your stovetop for about 20-30 minutes.
2. Cool to room temperature and strain out the blueberries.
4. Add whey and let it ferment for at least 3 days. Look for visible signs of fermentation via a slight fizziness. You can let it go longer if you’d like a less sweet soda as the bacteria will continue to feed on the sugars. I let mine go about 5 days but you can go as long as 10 days. Taste the soda as you go to get the sweetness you desire.
Note: there are several options for using starter cultures. If you use whey, you’ll have to make it yourself at home (don’t worry, it’s ridiculously easy). Other starter cultures include a ginger bug, water kefir, and champagne yeast.
5. Transfer blueberry soda to soda bottles via a funnel or measuring cup. Like so:
My two quarts fit perfectly into these three soda bottles:
6. Keep the soda bottles at room temperature and check them every day. As the video above showed, carbonation can increase rapidly! Make sure to open the bottles every day to let some of the gasses escape. This is very important. If you forget, the pressure inside the bottles can increase to such a degree that they can actually explode the bottles.
After a few days, you can move the bottles to your refrigerator where the fermentation will dramatically slow down.
7. Enjoy! It’s so refreshing and delicious, especially in the hot summer months of July and August.
Want even more traditional soda recipes? Here’s a fantastic resource with not only great soda recipes but many other traditionally brewed beverages as well such as cider, wine, and kombucha.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.