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Friday, December 20, 2013

How To Make Soda Pop

I was originally going to title this "pop" since we are in Michigan... but for the sake of any readers from soda-drinking lands I put that in there too.

Making pop is really no harder than making tea. It does require some bottling equipment- at the least, it requires those re-usable sealing bottles. Ingredients are negligible. Here is my basic recipe, with a few tweaks.

Wild Grape Soda

Cost per recipe: $0.57

1.5 cups wild grapes (free from foraging!)
'Tea' ingredients
1/4 - 1/3 cup raspberry cordial "jam" (purely optional, but the raspberries add a nice flavor)
2 cups sugar
3-4 cups water
Splash or two of lemon juice
1/8 tsp. yeast

1. Boil the water, sugar, and flavorings (in this case grapes and raspberry stuff) for 20 minutes. These can include, but are not limited to barks, berries and spices. Any juice will be added later, so set that aside.

Frothy and boiling!

2. Let the tea cool for 20 minutes.

3. Strain out the flavoring agents.

4. Put tea in jug and add cool water to level out the temperature so it's lukewarm (warm enough to activate the yeast, but not hot enough to kill it). Add lemon juice at this time.

5. Add yeast and agitate (shake) the jug. Top off with more lukewarm water.

6. Bottle and cap.

7. Let the bottles sit 4-14 days. My Wild Grape Pop sits for a week. Longer for for root beer, much shorter for teas with juice. Also keep the temperature in mind when fermenting; a batch of grape soda sitting in hot July temperatures is going to carbonize MUCH faster than root beer in the dead of January. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do your fermenting in a cooler or other enclosed container to prevent injury and keep the mess contained if the pressure builds faster than anticipated and a bottle or two explodes. My most notorious explosion happened in the fridge about 2 minutes after I had put them in. It took out 2 of the glass shelves and ruined a lot of food. If one bottle has already exploded (as had been the case with the aforementioned batch) take heed and be extremely careful in your storage/disposal of the rest of the batch.

8. When you think a batch has carbonated sufficiently, open a test bottle. My bottles have always produced one of three results: 1) flat- keep the rest in the cooler, 2) no overflow but a satisfactory tongue-tickling sensation- put in the fridge or let sit one more day. 3) Volcano! Move the entire batch to the fridge right away!

I have found this a fun and exciting hobby. The varieties of pop you could do are virtually endless. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

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