Looking for a fun project to tackle over the weekend? Try the Rhubarb-Honey Soda from blogger and author of the book And Here We Are at the Table, Ariana Mullins. This simple soda is a great starting point for imbibers ready to try their hands at DIY fermentation. Combining rhubarb with honey and—stay with us—a spoonful of whey or sauerkraut juice, it’s easy to make, and in just a few days you’ll be drinking the fruits of your first fermentation. And for more fermentation fun, check out Kate Simon’s feature in our May/June 2015 issue.
To start fermentation for this soda, Ariana Mullins uses a tablespoon of the juice from a jar of sauerkraut or the liquid whey that comes from straining a pot of yogurt. Store-bought sauerkraut or plain yogurt works fine, Mullins says, as long as it contains live cultures.
6 stalks rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces
¾ cup raw honey
1 Tbsp. whey or sauerkraut juice
Tools: stock pot, 1 gallon glass jug, air lock, funnel, swing-top bottles
In a pot, cover the rhubarb pieces with about 1 liter of water and simmer until the rhubarb is very tender. Let it cool to room temperature, steeping overnight if desired, then strain out the rhubarb and discard or reserve for another use. Add the honey to the water and stir until dissolved. Using a funnel, pour the sweetened rhubarb liquid into a sterilized glass jug. Add the whey or sauerkraut juice, then top with an air lock. Let the mixture sit for about 3 days at room temperature, then taste it. If it tastes too sweet, let it continue to ferment until it’s only slightly sweeter than you would like the final product to be, up to 3 additional days. Use a funnel to pour the soda into bottles. Cap and store in the refrigerator. Drink the soda within 1 week to avoid the buildup of too much pressure or alcohol (the final product should not contain any detectable alcohol). Makes about 1 liter.