4-Ingredient Naturally Carbonated Strawberry Soda

This starter-free strawberry soda is like the one-night stand of fermented drinks—no long-term commitment necessary. You don’t need to search for your dream kombucha SCOBY to make it. You don’t take on the responsibility of regular feedings to keep a living culture alive. You make it, you drink it and you enjoy it while it lasts.

Party in a jar

The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast present on the fruit eat the sugar in the fruit and the sugar you add. The microbes reciprocate by producing tangy acids and the carbon dioxide that creates that desired fizz.

naturally fermented strawberry soda brewing in a jar
Strawberry soda just before bottling
strawberry soda fermenting in a jar
Up close and personal, just before bottling

Choose quality soda ingredients

Use very sweet strawberries for maximum fizzy action and flavor. For example, if you buy your berries at the farmers’ market, start this when you get home. If you wait to use your berries, they will taste less sweet. The mixture will still ferment but fresher berries will render a more delicious result.

Frozen strawberries will also work. The microbes won’t die in the freezer. They will simply take a nap.

For this batch of soda, I used granulated sugar. Sucanat, rapadura or coconut sugar would all work well and taste delicious.

I use filtered tap water in my ferments. Our tap water is fine but since I do have naked charcoal filters, I keep those in a couple of glass jugs that I keep filled with water.

Burp your bottles!
The bottle on the right made from a second infusion of the microbe-covered berries

Naturally Carbonated Strawberry Soda

Until you want to settle down with a ginger bug, this drink is for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweet strawberries, cut into small 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar (granulated, sucanat, rapadura or coconut sugar)
  • 4 cups water
  • Juice of one lemon, about 2 tablespoons

Directions

These may look like a lot of directions but essentially, you fill a jar with the strawberries, sugar and water and then wait. Add lemon juice for flavor. Bottle the drink. Drink the drink.

1. Stir water and sugar together in a jar with a capacity of at least six cups. The sugar will dissolve fairly quickly.

2. Add the strawberries to the jar. Stir. Close the lid on the jar.

3. Stir the contents daily.

4. After about five days, depending on your kitchen environment, the drink will start to bubble. Continue to allow it to ferment and taste it daily. I let the drink in this post ferment in the jar for eight or nine days during hot summer weather. Warm weather speeds up the fermentation. Cold weather slows it down.

5. When you like the flavor, strain your drink through a sieve placed over a large measuring cup or a bowl. Set these berries aside. Stir the lemon juice into the drink. Use a funnel to fill clean, flip-top bottles with the drink, leaving at least a couple of inches of headspace in the bottles. Set the bottles aside for between a couple of days to a week. The longer the drink ferments, the more sugar the microbes will eat and the less sweet the soda will taste.

7. PLEASE BURP YOUR BOTTLES! In other words, open the bottles just enough to release some of the carbon dioxide building up inside. You want your drink carbonated but not explosive. Burp the bottles at least every couple of days or every day if you live in a hot, humid area.

If, when attempting to burp your bottle, the drink begins to gush out, burp it more frequently as it continues to ferment or move it to the refrigerator where it will calm down. If you’re new to fermentation, you may want to burp your bottles outside in case they start to gush out and make a big mess.

If, after burping your bottle, you get only a small release of carbon dioxide, burp your bottles less frequently. You don’t want so much carbon dioxide to escape that the drink becomes flat. Because strawberries tend to create lots of carbonation, you likely won’t have this problem.

8. When you’re ready to drink your soda, move the bottles to the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.

9. Your drink will continue to ferment in the refrigerator but more slowly. Over time, it will become less sweet. If you won’t drink it for a couple of weeks, burp the refrigerated bottles.

Optional, highly recommended step: make a second infusion

After you strain the strawberries, you can make a smaller batch of this. The still-sweet strawberries, now teeming with those fast-reproducing bacteria and yeast, will ferment this next batch quickly and it will likely begin to bubble within a day or so. However, because the strawberries have gone through one infusion, they will render a weaker tasting drink. Make this batch more concentrated. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups of water with the reserved strawberries. Proceed as with the first infusion. My second batch has less fizz but it still tastes very good.

31 Replies to “4-Ingredient Naturally Carbonated Strawberry Soda”

  1. […] Esta matéria foi traduzida e republicada. Clique aqui para acessar o site original. […]

  2. Awesome. Here in the southwest I’m making a prickly pear soda with a ginger bug this weekend! Thanks for you inspiration and teaching.

  3. Will this recipe get alcoholic over time like the ginger bug drinks do when you let it ferment for longer?

  4. Ah! I added lemon juice to my sugar water . Will it still ferment or should I start again?

    1. Hi Jenni,
      That should be fine. It won’t affect the bacteria and will add more.
      ~ Anne Marie

  5. Hi! I tried this method to the T but by day 2 my strawberries were growing fuzzy mold.. any suggestions to avoid this? I did not use a jar- I used an “airtight” Tupperware.. maybe that’s the culprit?

    1. Hi Katharin,
      I don’t think it’s the container. It should still ferment in plastic. If you want to try again, I’d stir it frequently. Sometimes kahm yeast can form on ferments. It’s annoying but not harmful. But that’s a white film, not fuzz. Yours sounds like mold.
      ~ Anne Marie

      1. I’ve got mold growing on mine as well. It’s in a glass container. Should I throw it away and start again or can it be salvaged.

      2. Hi Jenny,
        You shouldn’t consume it if it’s moldy. I’d start over. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
        ~ Anne Marie

      3. Danielle Reed says:

        Hmmm maybe this is what I have….

  6. I have a mixture of frozen melons, strawberries, kiwis, and blue
    berries. Would this work for that mixture as well?

    1. Hi Casey,
      The blueberries and strawberries will definitely work. I would mash the blueberries up a bit first. I have never tried this with melons of kiwis (they aren’t as sweet) but they should work. I would experiment a little bit, maybe make one batch all berries and one batch a combo.
      ~ Anne Marie

  7. Summer Apodaca says: Reply

    Is this ok for kids or will it develop alcohol?

    1. Hi Summer,
      It can turn alcoholic quickly if you don’t keep an eye on it. So, I would taste it daily and while it’s still bubbly and sweet (but not super sweet like when you first made it), bottle it or move the entire jar to the refrigerator. All fermented foods do contain trace amounts of alcohol, even sauerkraut. Fermented fruit can easily develop more though. Fermentation is sort of a science and an art. I hope that helps.
      ~ Anne Marie

      1. Summer Apodaca says:

        Anne Marie,
        Thanks for this recipe. I just tried my first batch and it is yummy! Also so easy to make with frozen strawberries! Thank you for your reply I will move it to the fridge now, and prehaps I will let the second batch ferment longer and add it to some sangria!

  8. Mine is developing white spots floating on top of the strawberries. Is that normal/safe to consume? Its day 4

    1. Hi Annie,
      It sounds like kahm yeast, which is annoying but harmless. I can’t say for sure without seeing it. I’d skim that off and keep stirring several times a day.

  9. Thanks so much for your reply! Today it is now a thick white layer on top so I think I will try again from new

  10. Thanks for the easy recipe. Will it be ok to just strain it into jars or wine bottles, I don’t have any flip top bottles.

  11. I have a layer growing on mine too. Do you have a way to message? So I can show you a picture?

    1. Hi Linda,
      Are you on social media? You could send me a pic on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (@zerowastechef for all of them). You may have kahm yeast, an annoying but harmless substance. If it’s kahm yeast, you skim it off as well as you can and when it reappears, skim again. But I don’t know without seeing it (and even then, it can be hard to tell from a pic but I’ll try to make a diagnosis).
      ~ Anne Marie

  12. Can this be made with less sugar? I just mixed mine up and only had 1/2 cup of sugar. No car and it’s raining today so I don’t want to tow my toddler to the market for more if I can do it without..

    1. Hi Kimberly,
      It should still bubble up. I would stay put with your toddler 🙂
      Anne Marie

  13. Ok, this is amazing. The flavor is fabulous. I’m going to try with pineapple and see what happens. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

  14. Can’t wait to make this over the weekend!

    I have a fresh mint plant…you think I can throw some mint in there in the first step?

    Also wondering how it might work with frozen mango!

    1. Danielle Reed says: Reply

      So I started one with mango and mint over the weekend. The mint leaves are turning brown – which I expected. This morning there was a white cloudy looking thing in the bottom of the jar. Is this normal, or has it molded?

  15. This is the best recipe ever. I have made many batches of strawberry. Delicious every single time. I just made a batch with really juicy pineapple. Amazing! I tried melons but didn’t get the same result as I did with juicer fruits. Love this stuff.

  16. We have an abundance of berries that came from a good neighbor. This is a good way of not letting them go to waste.

  17. […] Soda and Starter all in One – Zero Waste Chef […]

  18. What a lovely idea. Thanks for the information!

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