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Fermented Dandelion Soda


It is Spring!  And it is likely that your yard is harboring an abundance of those cheery, little weeds known as dandelions (Taraxacum officinale).  Rather than let this prolific plant go to waste every year, I attempt to utilize them in some way.  I have dried and preserved the roots and leaves for medicinal uses, and eaten the fresh greens as a food source.

This year, however, I thought I would try my hand at making a special treat using the flowers:  Dandelion Soda.  I started with a recipe I had found in a book years ago, called Dandelion Fizz.  Problem was, it wasn't really all that fizzy.  Still a good tasting drink, but it needed some work.  This year, I worked on modifying the recipe, and I came up with a good tasting drink that fizzes just like soda.





Dandelion Soda

2 Cups tightly packed dandelion flowers (gathered from a pesticide/herbicide free area)
4 Cups boiling water

2 Cups sugar
or
1 1/3 Cups honey

2 lemons, juiced (save the rinds!)

1.  Rinse the dandelion flowers well to remove dirt and any little creepy-crawlies (I found several ants on my flowers).


2. Place the dandelion flowers in a heat-proof container made of glass, ceramic, enamel, or stainless steel (I used a large stainless steel bowl, but a crock would also work well); pour the boiling water over the flowers.  Cover the container with a lid or a large dinner plate, and allow the dandelions to steep in the boiling water over night.

3.  The next day, strain out the dandelions using a mesh stainer, a piece of nylon, or cheesecloth.  Pour the liquid into a non-reactive pot (again, enamel or stainless steel work well).  Add the sugar/honey, lemon juice, and lemon rinds to the pot as well.  Heat until the sugar/honey dissolves, but do not bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

4.  Strain out the lemon rinds, and ladle or pour the liquid into a crock, a quart jar, or other non-reactive container.  I have used canning jars, but I also have a glass decanter that I saved from some Captain Morgan and up-cycled into a soda fermenter-er for this project.  I prefer to use glass; since it is transparent, you can easily check the progress of your soda to see if it has started to bubble.

Once you have poured the liquid into your container, you will need to cover the top so no fruit flies try to taste your soda.  I used a scrap of nylon secured with a rubber band to cover the top of my bottle, and cheesecloth would also work well.  Whatever you choose, make sure that it is not air-tight.  Air needs to be able to escape as the soda ferments, or your container could explode.


5.  The soda will ferment best at around 75 degrees F.  However, I just let mine sit on the kitchen counter, and it did just fine.  Allow the brew to sit for approximately a week, but check it daily.  In the first few days, it may develop a film on the top.  Do not be alarmed, this is normal.  Gently stir it to break up the film on top.  Eventually, the mixture will begin to have a pleasant scent, and you will be able to see little bubbles rising to the top.  This is carbon dioxide, and is produced as a by-product of the fermentation.  Once your soda has a nice smell, and is bubbly, it is ready to drink!

6.  You may notice that a layer of sediment has formed on the bottom of your container.  You can either try to filter this sediment out using a damp piece of nylon (I don't ever throw out my stockings if I get a run in them, they work great for filtering), or you can gently pour off the liquid, leaving the sediment in the container.  Once you have taken care of the sediment, you can wash your container and return the soda to it for refrigeration, or you can serve it right away with some ice.

Should you decide to refrigerate your soda, keep in mind that although the fermentation will be slowed, it is still occurring.  This means that carbon dioxide is still being produced, so you should leave the nylon or cheesecloth on as your cover to prevent explosions.

Dandelion soda is an easy project and a great alternative to the corn-syrup filled cans at the grocery store.  My kids are generally the ultimate product testers for me, and they both gave it a big thumbs-up!  So, don't let those dandelions go to waste!  See what you can make of them...you may be pleasantly surprised.






This post was shared on The Nourishing Gourmet.

Comments

  1. Awesome! I might try this if I can find some pesticide free patches! My mom used to make us eat dandelion greens when we were younger and I must say I found them to be absolutely nasty but I do enjoy the taste of flowers :)

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  2. Thank you Blossom! Dandelion greens are definitely an acquired taste. My kids tried them once and won't eat them since. I like to mix them in with other greens to help mask some of the bitterness.

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  3. Very interesting, have to try it. It must have some alcohol content though?

    john

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  4. Hi John, I hope you will try it if you get the chance, it is quite tasty. You are correct, a small amount of alcohol would be present in a fermented drink. From what I understand, it is only something like a 1% alcohol content, since the fermentation time is very short compared to the time wine or beer ferments. But, I have not actually measured the alcohol content, so I could not say what it is for sure. I will have to invest in a hydrometer.

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  5. This is so interesting! I have so many questions... What is the closest taste comparison? Ginger ale, maybe? What are the qualities you need for a naturally fermented beverage? Certain acidity/sugar ratio? It looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I would say ginger ale would be closest in taste. I can't think of any commercial soda that I've tried that really tastes like it, it is very unique in flavor, but very tasty too. This is the only soda I've ever made, so I am not sure about the acidity/sugar ratio.

      Delete
  6. Would it be more explosive than kombucha? I have been fermenting after removing the scoby in an airtight ez cap bottle to get more fizz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Safety information that I have read in regards to making homemade soda have cautioned not to leave fermenting soda with a tight lid on because it could explode, but I can't say that I've ever tried putting a airtight cap on mine, so I don't know for sure what happens. I don't make kombucha yet, but it's on my bucket list of things to try someday!

      Delete
  7. Kristie, this looks really interesting!! Are there any health benefits to eating dandelions or is the purpose just to use what's available to us?
    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say both Michelle. Dandelions are free food, plus the flowers are a good source of vitamin A, antioxidants, and vitamin B12 among other things.

      Delete
  8. I think I'm going to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  9. So what is it that starts the fermentation, since there is no whey or culture? Just wondering. I have this going on the top of my fridge and can't wait to taste the results. My children had a kick at picking the dandelions from the yard and watching me make "tea" out of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Microorganisms found in the air (wild yeasts) convert the sugar into carbon dioxide. I hope you enjoy your soda!

      Delete
  10. I think I've made dandelion beer! It sure smells like it...Is it safe to drink? I'm going to put it in the fridge, I think.

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    Replies
    1. Home brewing can give you a variety of results (as I am learning!). As long as it isn't moldy or off-smelling, I would say it is okay to drink. Try a sip and see how it tastes. If it tastes alcoholic to you, I wouldn't give it to any children, but it is still safe to drink for adults. The only way to be sure if there is an elevated alcohol content is to use a hydrometer.

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    2. So this doesn't go flat when you leave it in the refrigerator without a lid? I would have thought to put it in an airtight bottle like I do my kombucha too

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  11. What is Kombucha? We will be making this soda for sure. Thank You Samantha

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  12. Well, we tried this, and the soda is DELICIOUS! I used air-lock bottles that I have for my water kefir. I was super hesitant to let the kids try it...but I honestly don't think it tastes alcoholic. Just sweet and bubbly. I know I'll be making this again. I let it ferment for a week and then refrigerated it...didn't bother with draining out the tiny bit of sediment on the bottom. I have a lot of other people interested in trying this, too, as I posted about it a few times on FB, and piqued a lot of curiosity! :)

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  13. Have you tried it with less sugar? Seems like a ton of sugar for the amount of tea. Wondering if it needs this much to ferment?
    Thanks for this great idea! We have a wonderful crop of dandelions!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Has anyone tried this with other flowers? I just brewed a batch with mixed wildflowers and seem to have some culture-like chunks floating in my bottles.

    Thoughts? Did this happen with anyone else who tried?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am on day 6 out of 7 and still have yet to see any fizz. Should I be stirring it daily? I saw another similar recipe...actually almost identical...except that called for a "soda starter" (or ginger bug) yet this recipe does not. Should I just leave it longer than 7 days if I don't see any bubbles?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, I have never used any kind of starter to make the soda. What temperature are you fermenting it at? The soda does best around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

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  22. I love the idea of using something like dandelions to make a ferment - what does the end product taste like? I am super curious to see what mine would taste like if I were to try making this at home. Can you compare the taste to anything you've tasted before? Thanks!

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