A simple beginning… Apple Soda (or Sparkling Apple Juice)

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Now that I have this site made, I must begin. I tend to get bogged down and overwhelmed by all of the minute details swirling around in my head, and this keeps me from beginning… So I have vowed to start simple. With something delicious from my own refrigerator.

I call this “Apple Soda” or Sparkling Apple Juice. It could just as easily be called Probiotic Apple Soda, or Naturally Fermented Apple Juice. Whatever you end up calling it, it makes me feel better about giving my kids “juice” when it is allowed to naturally culture with strains of probiotics from our probiotic supplement(s). And it’s so easy to make! You don’t need water kefir grains–although if you have them, great! You don’t even need to have probiotics on hand if you’ve already cultured a batch of juice–just use a splash of the old stuff to act as the new ‘starter.’ This is how I’ve been doing it, and it’s been working like a dream! Now I can buy that organic unfiltered apple juice at Trader Joe’s and not cringe from all of the sugar I’m imagining going into my children’s bodies. And it tastes good, effervescent and sparkly. For my kids, I will add in a few drops of liquid stevia (I buy mine on Amazon), which is a staple in my kitchen and cooking, to make it a bit sweeter. And although there are still natural sugars from the apples in this beverage, I do understand that having it ferment into a healthful carbonated drink cuts down on some of the sugar, as sugars are what feed the good bacteria, the probiotics present and proliferating in your bottle. This is a living, dynamic liquid! Just make sure you don’t ferment it too long if you’re giving this to children, as the longer it cultures the more alcoholic it becomes. If you’re looking to make a grown-up, alcoholic beverage–that still has all the good ‘bugs’ in it!–feel free to let it sit out as long as you like and you will soon have Hard Apple Cider. Throw in some spices and any other natural flavors you desire, and the possibilities are endless…

Sparkling Apple Soda

  • Bottle or jar of preferably organic apple juice (or freshly pressed) *Note: in a pinch, I used the plastic container that the apple juice came in, but I highly recommend only using glass for all fermenting projects.
  • Optional additions: cinnamon stick, fresh sliced ginger root, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, lemon or other citrus rind, licorice slices, astragalus root slices, even an herbal teabag or two, or any other spices or herbs you would like.

This is not an exact “recipe.” If you follow me, you will soon discover that I am not much of one for following a recipe exactly. I like throwing things together and seeing what happens; being a part of a creative ‘conversation’ between elements and sometimes myself. I cook like a jazz musician I’ve decided: never the same way twice. So that is partly why I am creating this blog, so that I can keep up a bit with all of the overflow of endless variation that happens between my kitchen walls and inside my own mind… So I will tell you what I do, and share some of the exciting, and sometimes dismal, outcomes of my creative kitchen endeavors. I will also tell you stories along the way hopefully, because I am full of them and I have lots to share!

So anyway, you add the probiotics to the juice, shake it all up as well as you can (you can even take out some juice and add it and the probiotics to a blender and blend it up that way, then add it all back in to the rest of the juice waiting patiently for you), and then let it sit out on your counter for up to 24 hours loosely capped or covered with a clean cloth and a rubber band, until it begins to bubble a bit. Or tastes the way you like it. If you leave it out for longer, it will get more and more bubbly; make sure it is not capped tightly at this point, or you might meet up with an explosion! The culturing time depends on the temperature of your space: it will take longer in a colder room, and will go much faster if in a warmer space. So watch it, taking into account the context of its environment. Then enjoy!

One more note: I never give my children straight juice. That would be way too much of a sugar-hit, even with this. I always add a little to a glass and then fill up the rest with water. So if the taste is not to their, or your, liking, you can add in a few drops of liquid stevia to make it sweeter. You can also add a little bit of this to other drinks, smoothies, etc. Experiment! Find what works for you and your family. And smile.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alegra22
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 00:22:03

    I am going to try this for the children (and me)!

    Reply

  2. Maegan
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 04:52:07

    Great Heather!!! You are so meant to blog. Look forward to seeing more.

    Reply

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