Introduction: Naturally Fermented Rhubarb Soda - in Progress

About: Everywhere I go, there I am.
Did you know that soda pop used to be a Health Food? It used to be loaded with vitamins, anti-oxidants and probiotics. Now it is loaded with high density corn syrup (aka liquid diabetes), sugar, caffeine, preservatives and artificial colours. This instructible will walk you through the process of making soda, the natural and healthy way!

I have never actually made soda, so this is going to be an experiment for me. It will be broken down into several stages over the course of about a week.
  1. The first stage will be growing the "ginger bug" - a culture of lactobacillus and wild yeast.
  2. The second stage will be brewing the syrub from rhubharb and then innoculating it with the starter.
  3. The third and final stage will be the final fermentation and carbonation phase.

Step 1: Make the Ginger Bug - Day 1

We need to make a starter culture, which will be responsible for carbonating the soda. This culture is going to be loaded with probiotics, which will help colonize your measly bacterial flora.

Ingredients and Equipment2 tbs sugar (white or raw, your choice)
  • 2 tbs of grated ginger (Don't you dare peel it)
  • 2 tbs sugar (white or raw)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Juice of half lemon (optional, but useful)
  • 1 qt mason jar
  • 1 elastic band
  • paper towel.
  1. Combine all ingredients in mason jar, mix well.
  2. Secure paper towel over the mason jar with an elastic band.
  3. Stir several times a day if possible.
Each successive day, add 2 tsp of ginger and 2 tsp of sugar until bubbly. Once the culture is bubbly, we will be ready to brew some pop!

Wild yeast and lactobacillus prefer a slightly acidic environment. Adding an acid (lemon juice) helps optimize the environment for yeast and lactobacillus growth while inhibiting the growth of other types of undesireables. This allows our beneficial bacterial to colonize our liquid before the other beasties have a chance to get in there. You still have a good chance of this working if you don't add an acid, but I like to stack things in my favour.

Contrary to popular believe, the lactobacillus bacteria that end up colonizing our jar comes from the ginger and NOT the air. Otherwise we could leave a container of sugar lemon water out...and hope to make pop. It doesn't work that way, sorry. The bacteria comes from the ginger. Adding successive doses helps stack the odds in our favour. 

Stirring the liquid helps oxygenate the water, creating an aerobic environment for the bacteria. This helps them reproduce quickly and efficiently, allowing them to out compete the other bugs we don't want to get in there. The name of the game is stacking all of the odds in favour of our culture. Stirring also disrupts mold spores, as mold cannot grow submerged.

Step 2: Day 2 - More Ginger and Sugar

Added 2 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of ginger to the mix. A heavenly gingery smell is wafting from the bottle.

No bubbles yet! More to come tommorow.

What will happen to our intrepid colonizers? Will bubbles form? Will the beastly bacteria gain a foothold? Stay tuned to find out.

Step 3: Day 3 - BUBBLES!!

Added two more teaspoons of ginger and sugar.


I am going to continue the treatment of daily ginger and sugar additions until I get some nice bubbley action.