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Jul 29 2014

Watermelon Soda Recipe

How to make watermelon soda

Summer in Florida for me means it’s time for watermelons, and recently that’s started to turn into making watermelon soda!  I had never tasted homemade watermelon soda before but the pictures of it always enticed me.  That beautiful slightly red glow to it with that little bit of carbonation just seemed too much for me to resist so I finally broke down and made some.

Not only is this drink refreshing, it’s amazingly good for you! Here are just a few benefits of watermelon juice:

  • Watermelons are high in lycopene right up there with tomatoes
  • The bright color of the fruit means that it’s high in those good compounds like beta-carotene
  • Watermelon is rich in antioxidants
  • Watermelon has a high amount of citrulline which relaxes muscles and improves circulation
  • High in vitamin C
  • Very refreshing with it’s high water content that’s mineral rich

The most obvious reason to drink some watermelon soda is the amazing flavor and taste that only gets magnified when you ferment it into a nutrient rich drink full of life!

Watermelon Soda Recipe

Makes 1 quart (for 1 gallon, multiply ingredients by approx. 4)

This beautifully tasting soda is slightly fizzy, slightly sweet, and slightly sour. It’s amazing in the summertime and great cold.

Equipment:

1 quart mason jar

Ingredients:

4 cups watermelon, chopped

4 T sugar

Pinch sea salt

1/4 cup ginger bug (starter culture that’s made in less than a week and stores for quite a while, in Episode 4)

Non-chlorinated water, enough to fill jar (~ 3/4 cup)

Optional:

Juice of 1 lemon or lime (~ 2 T.)

Mint leaves

 Watermelon chunks

You can do this one of two ways: ferment with pulp or strain and ferment with only the watermelon juice. I think from now on I’ll try the second way without the pulp. You can either blend up the watermelon somewhat coarsely and then put it unstrained into the mason jar to be fermented or you can strain it through a sieve first to get the pulp out and only have the juice left. If you’re straining, let the watermelon juice drain naturally and not force it through or more particles will be in the soda, otherwise you’ll be doing the same step later after it’s done fermenting.

Blended watermelon

Sliced lime

Transfer to jar and add remaining ingredients (through sieve if necessary), topping off with water to fill to about an inch or so from the top.
Ferment for 2 days or so stirring a couple or few times a day to oxygenate the yeast in the ginger bug.

Pouring watermelon

Ginger bug starter

Watermelon soda brewing

Fermenting watermelon

Don’t forget to cover the top so bugs and dust doesn’t get into your beautiful brewing liquid. I just used a towel and a rubber band but even a paper towel or layers of cheesecloth would work.

Cover watermelon soda

Between stirring a few times a day, if you haven’t filtered out the watermelon pulp, it will begin to separate into a fairly clear liquid and the bright red pulp which is normal.

Watermelon soda separating

Watermelon pulp separated

Taste every day once you start to see bubbles to brew it to your desired sweetness and sourness. The fewer amount of days you brew it for the more this ends up being more like a watermelon drink recipe.  The longer you ferment it, the more it ends up being more of a tangy drink that’s great with ice on the beach!

Once you get the taste that you’re looking for, strain through a sieve if you haven’t already.  Otherwise you already have a clear liquid that you can bottle in flip top bottles for a day or so to carbonate if you like it fizzy. If you don’t want any carbonation, just refrigerate. Don’t forget to have one plastic bottle to check the pressure!

 Straining watermelon

Notes for Next Time:

  • Maybe 3 T sugar instead or ferment out longer to use up more of the sugar
  • Mint would be really amazing in this recipe
  • I’ll try straining the pulp out first
  • You could add a drop of ice cream to make a a watermelon cream soda or a watermelon ice cream float
  • Also to make a watermelon cream soda, I might try adding some cream of tartar
  • Adding fruits like kiwi could make a nice watermelon kiwi soda

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think in the comments below or if you have any great ideas, let me know!  I’ll try anything that sounds good.

6 comments

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  1. Joni

    This looks delicious! I just found your podcast and have been enjoying the episodes: you’re inspiring me to try some new ferments and get back into some of the ones I used to make. Life got busy and I got away from it, but there really is nothing that can compare with your own homemade fermented foods and beverages! I’m looking forward to more recipes and tips on the show. 🙂

    1. Paul Bates

      Thanks Joni! I appreciate it! Yeah, there’s something great about making your own ferments and it’s crazy to think about how many different things there are out there. You could make so many different types of sodas from so many different ingredients and that’s just one thing. Anyways, good luck and glad you’re enjoying it.

  2. Olga

    I have been culturing veggies for a couple of years now, starting with Kambucha. I love all the different favors I come up with, but I want to learn so much more! You got me excited now and was wondering about culturing peppers. I have lots and don’t want to can them or dry them ALL.
    Thanks for your knowledge and efforts!
    Olga

    1. Paul Bates

      Thanks for the comment Olga! There’s so many things you can do with peppers, but what I usually do is I’ll slice them into rounds and pickle them like I do with pickles (about 3 days for me). Then I’ll put them on sandwiches or rice and beans. Another thing I like to do is do the same thing but ferment for a week or so to get them soft and then blend them up really well and you have a good hot sauce. Good luck!

  3. Jill

    Could I replace the ginger bug with whey for this recipe??

    1. Paul Bates

      Hey Jill, you could definitely try that. The flavor would be different since it’s a different mix of organisms but you could try and see if you like it! It could be worse or better, never know till you try!

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