I’ve always loved citrusy sodas. The problem is that most are very processed and high in sugar. Whey-fermented “Orangina” Style Soda is a great alternative, very easy to make, and more nutritious than commercial sodas. It is also kid-approved: My teenage kids are obsessed!
WHEY-FERMENTED SODAS- LOW IN SUGAR, HIGH IN NUTRITION!
Whey-fermented sodas contain more vitamins, enzymes, and protein as compared to commercial sodas that contain little to zero nutrition except for high levels of sugar at approximately 26-43 grams per serving!
Fermented sodas are lower in sugar for 2 reasons. First, you control how much sugar to add depending on your preference. In many recipes, there is no need for additional sugar as the naturally occurring sugar in the fruit (fructose) is adequate for a satisfyingly sweet drink. Second, sugar is the food for the microbes involved in the fermentation process, so the remaining sugar at the end of the fermentation is lower than the initial amount.
In this recipe, there is no need to add sugar as oranges are already high in fructose, at approximately 7.2 grams per cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. It is worth noting that freshly squeezed orange juice is remarkably lower in sugar than commercial orange juice, as well as higher in vitamin C, fibre and folate. Also, freshly squeezed orange juice has a more robust flavour than commercial orange juice which has lost much of its flavour during processing. This recipe can be made with commercial juice, however, for an optimal ferment, choose a very high quality, unpasteurized juice.
Weighing in on Whey
Whey is the watery part of milk that is separated from the milk solids (curds) during fermentation (typically cheese and yogurt production). The whey that is separated during yogurt and kefir fermentation is generally very sour and acidic due to the consumption of the lactose (milk sugar) by the beneficial yeast and bacteria during the fermentation process. Its acidity and high enzyme content makes it a great marinade and substitute for buttermilk in cooking and baking. Whey is also very nutritious as it is high in protein, amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
You can make your own whey by using this simple method that I use to make milk kefir cheese. If you don’t have access to homemade kefir, you can also use organic, plain yogurt. For maximum microbial viability, store whey in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I know it might sound weird adding dairy to a fruit drink, but remember that the milk solids have been separated from the liquid. The whey only provides the nutrients and probiotics, imparting no residual dairy flavour to the drink. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of sugar used in this recipe. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts found in the kefir whey will consume most of the sugar, resulting in a tart, effervescent drink.
WHEY-FERMENTED “ORANGINA” STYLE SODA
An absolute fave at my house!
12 oranges (or enough to obtain 1 quart / .47 litres) of juice *
2-3 grapefruit (or enough to make 1 cup) – optional, for extra zing!
1 cup of whey
3 cups filtered or chlorine-free water
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp organic orange extract (optional but adds more flavour!)
- Add juice, whey, water, sea salt and extract (if using) to a jar, making sure to leave 1-2″ of headspace.
- Cover jar with lid, tighten, and leave at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. If you notice the lid beginning to puff up, loosen lid slightly to release built-up gas. At this stage, you can refrigerate the soda.
- For Extra Fizz
- Transfer soda to bottles that are designed to contain carbonated beverages. See here for more info regarding safe fermentation vessels.
- Leave sealed bottles at room temperature for another few days. Transfer bottles to the refrigerator for storage.
- *you can try substituting unpasteurized orange juice but for an optimal ferment, use fresh oranges